Income Tax At Its Birth In 1913

History of IRS Form 1040

A reader of my emails, Jonathan Hubbell, was generous enough to send me a most interesting form. He is a Broker Associate at First Team Real Estate in Mission Viejo. The form was the very first IRS Form 1040.

He properly corrected a statement that I had made that Income Tax at the beginning was 1% for everybody. That is not so. It was 1% up to $20,000 and 2% up to $50,000, etc. up to a maximum 7% for income over $500,000. Tax started at $2,500 when the average income was $800 per year. Big changes from today.

Couple other items that I noticed. The tax returns had to be notarized. All personal interest paid was deductible (this reminds me of when you could even prepay interest for following years, one of my favorite deductions). All wear and tear and exhaustion up to a reasonable amount could be deducted. The return was one page.

Maybe these were the “good old days”. To see a copy of this return, go to 1913 Income Tax form.

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