Taxing Definitions

Definitions — Chronically taxing

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Image of the 16th Amendment of the US Constitution from the National Archives
Image source: US National Archives
On February 25, 1913, the 16th Amendment officially became part of the Constitution, granting Congress constitutional authority to levy taxes on corporate and individual income.

Time to take a brief break from tax prep! Try your hand at this quiz on the history of the IRS, as published on here (pdf here).


In its first year, 1863, how much did the Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue collect?



The March 1, 1867 Revenue Act authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to adopt, procure and prescribe hydrometers, an instrument used to measure the specific gravity (or relative density) of liquids.






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This information should not be considered legal, investment, or tax advice. Taxing Lessons and Top Drawer Ink Corp. do not provide legal, investment, or tax advice. Always consult your legal, investment, and/or tax advisor regarding your personal situation.


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In February 1867, the Secretary of the Treasury adopted a hydrometer to establish a uniform system to inspect and gauge alcoholic spirits subject to tax.

The March 1, 1867 Revenue Act authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to adopt, procure and prescribe these and other weighing and gauging instruments to prevent and detect fraud by spirit distillers.

On May 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy attended the Joint Conference of Regional Commissioners and District Directors of the IRS.

The only U.S. president to visit IRS headquarters, President Kennedy praised the Service for pursuing fair taxation in the promotion of national interest.

A Tingle Table (invented in 1962) is a desk with bins used to sort individual paper-filed tax returns.

Tingle Tables reduce the time it takes IRS employees to sort through individual paper-filed returns. In 1962, James Tingle invented the table while working in an IRS Service Center. Mr. Tingle built the prototype in his backyard. Still in use today, over 15 million tax returns flowed through the tables during the 2019 tax filing season.

Editor note: The 2019 tax filing season is still in progress; the numbers come from the IRS timeline publication.

Taxpayer rights.

In 1988, the IRS published Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, which required the IRS to fully inform taxpayers of their rights as a taxpayer and the processes for examination, appeal, collection, and refunds.

IRS Criminal Investigation Division.

In 1919, the Treasury Secretary asked the IRS Commissioner to form a criminal investigation unit to go after tax cheats and other criminals. One hundred years later, Criminal Investigation remains the only law enforcement agency with the authority to investigate tax crimes.