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U.S. News
16 Income Tax

Wednesday, November 27, 2002


America passed legislation instituting an income tax in 1894 amid a fanfare that rivaled a football victory. One Congressman was carried off the floor of the House in triumph after delivering the introductory speech. Another, Rep. Uriel Hall, D-Mo., declared that, "Had I the naming of this bill, I would denominate it a measure to kill anarchy and keep down socialists." The Supreme Court disagreed one year later. In Pollock v. Farmers Loan and Trust, the court ruled that the income tax violated Article I, Section 2, of the Constitution.

It remained for Republican President William Howard Taft to slip past his own party leadership to insert a constitutional amendment to guarantee that an income tax could not be overturned.

Today, the federal income tax deadline of April 15, gives millions such as Jeanne R. Candee, right, of Monroeville, if not a constitutional crisis, certainly a few personal moments of stress. "I'm a widow. My husband never complained about paying taxes because we're living in the best country in the world," said Candee. "His theory was you never fool around with the IRS." He also didn't believe in paying one minute earlier than necessary. "He said, 'You don't pay the government a day early for your taxes.' That's what I do." Millions do likewise. Looking over Candee's tax return is Shirley Kohn at H&R Block in Monroeville.

Amendment XVI: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

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