History of Tax Day

Published On: Mar 05 2014 10:18:57 AM EST   Updated On: Mar 04 2015 10:23:30 AM EST

As you’re in the process of filing your taxes you might start to wonder -- how did Tax Day originate?

Find out how Tax Day began  – and why it’s typically on April 15 – here:

History of Tax Day:

  • The start of income tax in the U.S. can be traced back to the Civil War, when Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861. According to the Library of Congress, this included a tax on personal income to help pay for expenses associated with the war.
  • In 1894, Congress enacted a flat rate Federal income tax, but this was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • On July 2, 1909, Congress passed the 16th Amendment, which was ratified Feb. 3, 1913. This is generally considered the origin of the income tax, according to the Library of Congress.
  • In 1998 the Reform Act resulted in a reorganization and modernization of the IRS. The Taxpayer Advocate Service was established to give tax payers a voice inside the IRS.


Why April 15?

  • According to the Library of Congress, in 1913, after the passing of the 16th amendment, March 1 was the specified Tax Day.
  • In 1918 the date was moved to March 15. It remained that day until 1954.
  • In 1954, Tax Day was moved to April 15.


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