Just ran across this tax tidbit as part of research I'm doing for a larger tax project and just had to share it on this first day of the 2013 tax filing season.
According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, collecting income taxes has always been a struggle:
"Taxing income (as opposed to real estate, personal property or other tangible assets) was begun by the Puritans in Massachusetts in 1643. It didn't work. In fact, all 16 states that tried to tax incomes from 1643 to 1911 failed to raise significant amounts of revenue.
The principal reasons that income taxes didn't work were that most citizens deliberately lied about their incomes, elected officials were reluctant to antagonize voters by enforcing the law, and income was hard to verify compared to tangible property. Experts even said that taxing income was impossible."
Lying taxpayers. Pandering politicians. Undocumented income.
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