June 21, 1866: The income tax

Income Tax ruled unconstitutional

The Cape Girardeau Argus ran a short item explaining the still new income tax law. As the cartoon above from 1895 indicates, a later version of such a tax would be declared unconstitutional. The issue was finally resolved by the 16th Amendment.


The Income Tax.

The duties on incomes are payable within sixty days after the return of the schedule to the assessors – that is, on or before the 30th day of June. The income must be reckoned for the year ending December 31st, 1865, and the tax is 5 percent on all sums between $600 and $5000, and 10 percent on the excess over $5000. The deductions permitted are:

First. The sum of $600 from all incomes.

Second. All national, State, county, and municipal taxes paid within the year (including the income tax paid last summer.)

Third. The amount actually paid for rent, of any homestead occupied by the tax-payers or his family.

Fourth. The amount paid for usual or ordinary repairs, taking the average of the preceding five years.

These are all the deductions that can be made.

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