This year, April 18th is the deadline for filing federal income tax forms. To many, it is the most dreaded day of the year. Like most Americans, I complain about paying my taxes, but feel the system is still fair. The Tax Foundation’s Fiscal Facts report shows that the top 10 percent of taxpayers pay more than 70 percent of all U.S. income taxes, while the bottom 50 percent account for only about 3 percent.
Americans historically hate paying taxes. In 1773, unhappy taxpayers dumped tea into Boston Harbor to protest taxation without representation, thus setting in motion our independence from Britain. However, once the U.S. government formed, its main source of revenue was to tax the very same items the British taxed for years. The graduated income tax we have today first appeared in 1862 to fund the Civil War. But it wasn’t until 1913 that the income tax became a permanent fixture, with the passage of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution giving Congress legal authority to tax income.