04/17/2017

104 Year Of The Income Tax: Then And Now

Americans for Tax Reform

As Americans finish yet another tax filing season, let’s take a look at the 104-year history of the income tax:

  • In 1913 the top marginal income tax bracket was 7% -- today it is 39.6%.
     
  • In 1913 the marginal income tax bracket range was 1% - 7%. Today the range is 10% - 39.6%.
     
  • In 1913 there were 400 pages in the tax code. Today there are 74,608 pages in the code.
     
  • In 1913 the family standard deduction was $98,425.45 in today’s dollars. The family standard deduction now is just $12,600.
     
  • When the income tax started in 1913, only 358,000 Americans had to file a 1040. Today 148,606,578 Americans file 1040s.

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In Search Of History

The Reagan Tax Cuts Worked

Thanks to "bracket creep," the inflation of the 1970s pushed millions of taxpayers into higher tax brackets even though their inflation-adjusted incomes were not rising. To help offset this tax increase and also to improve incentives to work, save, and invest, President Reagan proposed sweeping tax rate reductions during the 1980s. What happened? Total tax revenues climbed by 99.4 percent during the 1980s, and the results are even more impressive when looking at what happened to personal income tax revenues. Once the economy received an unambiguous tax cut in January 1983, income tax revenues climbed dramatically, increasing by more than 54 percent by 1989 (28 percent after adjusting for inflation).

 

-- Daniel J. Mitchell,

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