April 15, 2011 •
“Oliver Wendell Holmes, former Justice of the United States Supreme Court, once said, ‘Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.'”
Well, it is April 15th, and I couldn’t resist the temptation. This week’s Highlighted Site of the Week is the Library of Congress’ History of the US Income Tax website, as well as a few other great pages.
The site opens with the line: “If, in the midst of sorting receipts and studying the latest changes in the US income tax laws, you suddenly wonder ‘What is the origin of this annual ritual in the weeks leading up to April 15th?’ here are some places you can go for answers.”
What you get on the Library of Congress site is a brief history of the laws that have regulated the taxation of personal income (on and off) since the time of the Civil War. They offer a bibliography of printed material for further reading, but where they really shine is in their links to other sites.
Among the links, you will find the U.S. Department of the Treasury, its history of the Treasury and its history of taxes. The Library of Congress also points us in the direction of the IRS’ Brief History of the IRS page.
By far the most fun will be found at the Tax History Project, where you can wander around the Tax History Museum with its interactive time line. The museum covers topics from our origins of colonial commerce circa 1650, up until today. You can visit an image gallery of Cartoons and Posters from the History of U.S. Taxation, or study the tax returns of President Barack Obama, former presidents like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and former presidential candidates at the Presidential Tax Returns page. You can also find many papers and speeches on taxation, like Ronald Reagan’s 1986 speech on Tax Reform.
Best wishes to you for your tax filing and if you need a lift of spirit, here is an article about all the freebies companies are offering on Tax Day!
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