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The Revenue Act of 1861


Posted 2:30 pm, 08/05/2012



Posted 7:17 am, 08/05/2012

The Revenue Act of 1861, included the first U.S. Federal income tax statute. The Act, motivated by the need to fund the Civil War, imposed an income tax to be "levied, collected, and paid, upon the annual income of every person residing in the United States, whether such income is derived from any kind of property, or from any profession, trade, employment, or vocation carried on in the United States or elsewhere, or from any other source whatever..."

Rates under the Act were 3% on income above $800 (adjusted for inflation: $18,875 in as of 2009[update] dollars) and 5% on income of individuals living outside the country.

The income tax provision was repealed by the Revenue Act of 1862. which replaced the flat rate with a progressive scale of 3% on annual incomes beyond $600 ($12,742 in 2009 dollars) and 5% on incomes above $10,000 ($212,369 in 2009 dollars) or those living outside the U.S., and perhaps more significantly it was explicitly temporary, specifying termination of income tax in "the year eighteen hundred and sixty-six").

The Revenue Act of 1861 was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln, on August 5, 1861. This Act introduced Federal income tax as a flat rate tax.

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