Why do critics want to ""pull up the income tax by its roots""? Why do we have an income tax altogether - especially if its principles are no longer workable and the tax no longer serves its intended purpose? Or are the roots, in fact, still viable? This compelling book seeks answers to those questions in long-forgotten archives of tax history. Drawing on rare records from Congress, Richard J. Joseph demonstrates how the idea of relating taxes to individuals and businesses evolved during 1893-1895, leading in 1894 to the first American income tax legislation. That initial law, he notes, was intended to create a permanent and a fair ""ability-to-pay"" system. With an eye for detail Joseph explores ways in which it would serve as a model for future revenue. He explains how global and domestic changes have rendered it passe. And he shows how much of that early law informs our current federal taxation system. A lively written text makes this volume accessible to both lay person and tax scholar. Its stories of corporate taxation, rarely if ever divulged before, are highly relevant today.
Richard J. Joseph is a senior lecturer in federal income taxation at the University of Texas at Austin. He is coauthor of Prentice Hall's Federal Taxation series and has published numerous articles on tax equity, the consumption and flat taxes, the theory of contract formation, and U.S. foreign policy.