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Important Dates in U.S. Tax History

1862 Abraham Lincoln enacts emergency measure to pay for Civil War: Minimum 3% tax rate.
1872 Lincoln's income tax law lapses.
1894 2% federal income tax enacted.
1895 Income tax ruled unconstitutional by U.S. Supreme Court in Pollack v. Farmer's Loan and Trust.
1909 16th amendment that authorizes Congress to collect taxes on income is proposed.
1913 Wyoming casts 37th vote, ratifying the 16th amendment.  One in 271 people pays 1% rate.
1926 Revenue Act of 1926 reduces taxes: Too much money being collected.
1939 Revenue statutes codified.  One out of 32 citizens pays 4% rate.
1943 One out of three people pays taxes.   Withholding on salaries and wages introduced.
1954 875-page Internal Revenue Code of 1954 passes. Considered the most monumental overhaul of federal income tax system to date. 3,000 changes to tax rules.
1969 Tax Reform Act: Major amendments to 1954 overhaul.
1984 Reagan Tax Reform Act: Most complex bill ever, requires over 180 technical corrections.
1986 Tax Reform Act reduces tax brackets from five to two.
1993 Clinton's Revenue Reconciliation Act passes by one Vice Presidential vote.
1996 Four bills make over 700 changes, including Medical Savings Accounts and SIMPLE plans.
1997 Taxpayer Relief Act brings more than 800 changes.  Child tax credit, Roth IRAs, capital gains reduction, breaks for higher education enacted.
2001 The Economic Growth & Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 creates 441 changes. Lowers tax rates, repeals estate tax, increases contribution limits on 401(k)s and IRAs.
2003 The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 accelerates 2001 Act's rate cuts; temporarily increases child credit; temporarily lowers rates on capital gains and dividends; increases write-offs for equipment.

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