Wash. D.C. Denverpost.com
In addition to serving as the country’s first bearded president, Abraham Lincoln is remembered for leading the Civil War, freeing the nation’s slaves, founding land grant colleges and becoming the first commander in chief assassinated in office. Given all that, perhaps there just isn’t room in the country’s collective memory to recall his seminal role in creating the country’s most despised and vilified government agency: the Internal Revenue Service.
It was 1861. Lincoln was in a financial bind. Also he was in a war. To raise money to fight the Confederacy, Lincoln pushed for and won passage of an income tax and, a year or so later, established the Internal Revenue Service to collect what was owed. Though Lincoln’s tax was truck down by the Supreme Court in 1895–the 16th Amendment, passed in 1913, created the income tax we endure today-historians and legal scholars credit the 16th president, a moderate Republican, with laying the foundation for progressive taxation enforced by the tax man.
These days, the people who know that wield it as political artillery. It often causes the need for tax resolution services, due to tax burdens placed on individuals who cannot pay due to unfortunate circumstances.
What almost nobody remembers is how the New York Times editorial page, derided by President Donald Trump and other modern day Republicans, supported Lincoln and the income tax, particularly because the rich owed more. People with incomes of less than $600 paid nothing. People who made more than $600 but less than $10,000 paid a a 3 percent tax. Those with incomes above $10,000 paid a 5 percent tax. Luxury taxes also were imposed on tobacco, whiskey, cattle stock and other material consumption desires of the wealthy. Editorial writers of the times seemed pleased.
“The income taxes are so framed as to place the heaviest burden upon that portion of the people who have the largest material stake in the country and the nearest interest in the integrity, public faith and lasting stability of the Government: the men of money and of productive stocks and other income paying securities,” the Times wrote on March 4, 1962.
Today the masses seem to be left to fend for themselves, and many are finding a tax burden that causes them to seek tax resolution services for tax relief. The numbers of individuals needing tax resolution services is higher now than in the last 20 years.