Electronic filing of tax returns has been around since 1986. If you like history, here are a few highlights of our tax timeline.
1862 – 1st income tax signed into law by President Lincoln to help pay for Civil War expenses.
1868-1913 – 90% of all tax revenue came from taxes on liquor, beer, wine and tobacco.
1894 – The Wilson Tariff Act revived the Income Tax and the Bureau of Internal Revenue was formed.
1909 – Congress levied a 1% tax on corporate incomes greater than $5,000.
1913 – The first Form 1040 was introduced.
1918 – During WWI, the Revenue Act of 1918 imposed a progressive income-tax rate structure of up to 77% to help finance the war effort.
1929 – The income tax rate dropped sharply in post-war years, down to 24% in 1929.
1932 – During the Great Depression, income tax rates reached 94% on all income over $200,000 in 1945.
1935 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. This law provided retirement benefits to the primary worker.
1942 – The Revenue Act of 1942, hailed by President Roosevelt as “the greatest tax bill in American history,” was passed by Congress. It increased taxes and the number of Americans subject to the income tax. It also created deductions for medical and investment expenses.
1944 – Congress passed the Individual Income Tax Act, which created standard deductions on Form 1040.
1939-1945 – During WWII, Congress introduced payroll withholding and quarterly tax payments.
1954 – The filing deadline for individual tax returns changed from March 15 to April 15.
1961 – The Computer Age began at the IRS with the dedication of the National Computer Center at Martinsburg, West Virginia.
1965 – The IRS instituted its first toll-free telephone site.
1974 – Congress passed the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act, which gave regulatory responsibilities for employee benefit plans to the IRS.
1986 – Limited electronic filing began. President Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act, the most significant piece of tax legislation in 30 years. The Act codified the federal tax laws for the third time since the Revenue Act of 1918.
1992 – Taxpayers who owed money were allowed to file their returns electronically.
2003 – Electronic filing reached a high of 52.9 million tax returns, more than 40% of all individual returns.
Source: IRS website
Rhonda Machalk, CPA