The Revenue Act of 1861 proposed that "there shall be levied, collected, and paid, upon annual income of every person residing in the U.S. whether derived from any kind of property, or from any professional trade, employment, or vocation carried on in the United States or elsewhere, or from any source whatever." This was the first federal income tax.
The 1861 Tax Act was passed but never put in force. Rates under the Act were 3% on income above $800 (equivalent to $115,000 in 2002 dollars), and 5% on income of individuals living outside the U.S.
That act was made possible by the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution adopted on February 3, 1913.
The first income taxrevenues thus were collected under the graduated rates of the 1862 act (other provisions of this act suspended for two years the direct tax on land and provided for a new Commissioner of Internal Revenue).
The 1862 tax was revised in 1864 to meet the revenue needs of the government and to make its provisions more definite, was amended in 1865 and 1866, and was rewritten in 1867 and 1870 when the country's revenue needs were not as pressing.
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