Happy Tax Day: The Original Income Tax Form 1040 Was Just Four Pages Long

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Mark Perry posts this image of an original IRS 1040 form circa 1913:

Perry explains that there were only four pages to the original 1040 form, including a page of instructions. Today? The instructions alone for the 1040 form today number 189 pages. And that’s without the form.

More from Perry:

Individual income tax rates started at 1% in 1913, and the maximum marginal income tax rate was only 7% on incomes above $500,000 ($11.6 million in today’s dollars). The personal exemption was $3,000 for individuals ($69,500 in today’s dollars) and $4,000 for married couples ($92,700 in today’s dollars), meaning that very few Americans had to pay federal income tax since the average income in 1913 was only about $750.

We’ve come a long way on the income tax, and not in a good direction.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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