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.