The United States of America
1040 INCOME TAX FORM!
It’s rather remarkable how little information there is – in libraries, bookstores, on television or the World Wide Web – concerning the origin of the U.S. Government’s most unpopular public document. At the moment, this webpage is one of only three on the entire internet where you can see that first 1040 Tax Form. And the only one where you can read who dunnit.
Most folks seem to believe that U.S. citizens have been paying a mandatory tithe ever since the Income Tax was written into the Constitution of the United States by its Founding Fathers in 1776. Oh to the contraire. Wrong century. Wrong document. Wrong gender.
That distinction belongs to Nina Wilcox Putnam – a writer whose craft ran the gamut from comic books to the silver screen, from romance, musical comedies and westerns to classics of gothic horror. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, on November 28, 1888, Nina Wilcox became a writer for Sunny Funny Bunny, a popular series of children’s comics, and co-wrote the beautifully illustrated Winkle, Twinkle and Lollypop. She married Robert Faulkner Putnam – of G.P. Putnam’s Sons Publishers – and wrote steadily for The Saturday Evening Post.
As a novelist, she penned In Search of Arcady, then the screenplay for “Democracy: The Vision Restored”, followed by at least a dozen stories which became motion pictures – among them “Two Weeks With Pay”, “Graft”, “The Fourth Horseman”, “Slaves of Beauty”, and “Sitting Pretty”. With John L. Balderston she co-authored the 1924 stage version of “Dracula”; and in 1932 co-wrote the story for “The Mummy”, Universal’s supernatural revenge chiller starring Boris Karloff.
As of this writing, there’s not much more data about her, even on the Web. I only learned of Mrs. Putnam’s IR$ connection through a chain of events during production of my feature film, “The Wizard of Speed and Time”. My movie’s poster was being painted by the legendary Frank Kelly Freas, 10-time Hugo-award-winning science-fantasy illustrator and MAD Magazine cover artist. With the possibility that this movie venture might produce a tangible income, I asked Kelly’s advice on investing. The subject of taxes came up, and Kelly mentioned that he actually knew the person who had created this nation’s first tax form.
“She was a heavy woman, about 300 pounds”, recalled Kelly, who met Nina Wilcox Putnam through her son John Francis Putnam – a photographer, collector of classical French literature, and the first art director at MAD. Prior to her book and screen-writing career, Nina worked as an accountant. During 1912-1913 she drafted the simple, relatively benign 1040 Tax Form, and set up the whole system. Its first tier was just a 1% tax, and only on those earning over $20,000 per year – a huge sum at a time when a loaf of bread was 5 cents and apartment rent was $12 a month. It’s reported that she and/or a congressman wanted to fix a ceiling of 10% on taxation, but that the measure was voted down because “if such a high limit were set, it might someday be met”.
Kelly’s remarkable story was corroborated by two more world-class legends – the super-prolific satirical cartoonist and linguist, Sergio Aragonés, who also worked at Mad Magazine – and author- agent- publisher- historian- mega-collector Forrest J Ackerman, creator of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.
DEEP IN THE HEART OF TAXES
I stored that in my Sure-Sure-Right Urban Legend File – until 1986, when I was shooting my feature film’s special effects in a Hollywood post-production house. There, I was treated to the occasional rants of an increasingly irate commercial animator and cameraman. Working in awful conditions for miserable earnings, they were the unknown engineers of movie creativity, the code-fixers of the most attractive elements of glitzy TV ads, movie trailers and ever-demanding special effects box-office epics. And getting paid less than a hundredth the earnings of the ad agency “Suits”, who occasionally waltzed in to show clients the progress and demand why a job was taking longer than the high-tower agency had under-estimated.
As a show of authority and attempt at acumen, the Suits would search and point at the tiniest error in a week’s worth of 52 multiply-exposed five-level camera passes. Which was most often entirely the agency’s fault, but you couldn’t say that to the agency client-grouping if you wanted more work. Instead, you crunched your teeth, canceled your date, and got all the elements lined up again for a Labor Day Weekend reshoot. Many of these super-creative perfectionists got very upset over any waste of their time and slim resources, and not a few of them were open anarchists, survivalists, and sharp-shooters. (The Disney Studios paint-ball gun team was a greatly feared and respected force – lots of pent-up frustrations.) I soon realized why there are so few old and non-curmudgeon animators.
Tom apparently knew The Compleat History of Taxation, everything I’d never read in our government-approved school books. In ancient Israel, anything over 10% was considered usury. Medieval serfs paid 25% of earnings to their landlords, but they still got “free” food and land. A conquering empire customarily taxed the loser, to subjugate/corral and control its new income and labor resource. When the natives and new residents of the Americas declined to play the taxing game with England, the latter sent armed forces to remind its disobedient subjects of the rules. The American Revolution wasn’t exactly fought over a tea tax, but over the British Monarchy’s “divine right” to impose a 3-5% income tax on the Colonists. Eight years of killing, maiming, property destruction, expensive battling and decades of bitter relations…just over a 3-5% tax! That’s less than the 8.25% State Sales Tax that Californians are now unresistantly paying on most everything but tea!
The new union still had to support itself, so the Constitution allowed for tariffs on imports and exports, excise taxes on liquor, and support from issuing government bonds. Which seemed to work well – for the next 124 years, there was no individual income tax. Except for two brief periods – during 1862-1872 (an “income duty” to pay for the Civil War) and 1874-1875 (until the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional) – this nation thrived without a national income tax imposed on its citizens. Americans were free to earn, save, use, build, invest, donate and bequeath their wealth without limit. With that freedom, the colonies of farming communities and hunter-gatherers developed into the greatest industrial nation on Earth.
WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?
Rich people got very rich, and eventually resentment grew among those who weren’t rich. Politicians saw a lush income base that lay ripe for harvesting, and the modern taxation system was born in 1913 – essentially a tax on the rich, and a very modest one at that. Only 1 in 271 Americans paid taxes. Animator Tom got into the 16th Amendment, Ratification, Articles, Sections, Clauses, and confusion about what the amendment actually covers. Enough that, after the Government had a lot more tax money to operate with, we coincidently had World War I, Prohibition, Organized Crime, the Great Depression, and World War II.
In 1943, Congress passed a temporary Victory Tax to support the battle effort, and 1 out of 3 Americans now paid taxes. The government even commissioned Walt Disney to produce an expensive Donald Duck cartoon showing kids of all ages how easy, fun, and patriotic it was to surrender our income to make our enemies surrender. (Amusingly, “The IRS Is My Friend” is an anagram for “Their Firm’s Disney”.) To ensure Voluntary Compliance, the Government made itself a partner to every U.S. bank and employer, in essence deputizing them as unpaid agents to withhold money from every citizen’s paycheck.
After the war was over, Congress decided more money was needed for stronger National Defense and social programs. The “temporary” tax became selective taxation which guided population and voter behavior (encouraging home ownership over renting, influencing marriage and family size, drug and alcohol use, etc). Citizens were being transformed into dependent children, as the Government “of, by, and for the People” voted itself into a controlling-parent position.
We had some arguments, since I am for taxation. I don’t comprehend how everything runs, but logic says a community/country needs money to facilitate communication, education, transportation, protection of our lives and human rights. I didn’t know how much was really necessary – though an individual’s 5-10% tithe from that year’s net seemed reasonable.
Tom began quietly boiling at my naivete, saying that gas taxes paid for the roads, postage paid for the U.S. postal system, and usage taxes were the most equitable. He said Wallace (the ex-governor of Alabama) once stated that a 2% tax would be more than enough, if everyone paid his and her share of support. But the tax forms had become so arcane and confusing, that you now had to pay more money to have them deciphered by trained experts. And so much was taken from you in so many ways, with your money so often wasted by a non-responsive electorate, that many people simply gave up fighting when it was easier to surrender for that year. There were giant corporations, making billions of dollars in profits, which paid fewer taxes than a single middle-income citizen. Individuals were feeling so helpless to effect change – losing faith, hope and respect in their own elected official helpers – that now 20 million people were just not sending in anything, with a million more joining those ranks every year.
I really didn’t want to hear all this – I had a movie to rescue, and tons of work to do. Ever have one of those co-workers in the next cubicle? Plus, being a Good American, and the son of a Russian immigrant who dearly loved this country (and who was nearly victimized by its McCarthy goon squads), Tom’s rants did run against my patriotic grain. But every obsession is sparked by some fire of truth, and I was getting curious.
With my workload nearing a breaking point, I visited Hollywood’s Social Security office to make certain that my SS payments were accounted for, and would go to my mother when I died. – (SS Man:) “No, they’re paid to your next of kin.” – “I’m not married, no kids, so I want to make sure/” – (SS Man:) “No, then they go into the System.” – “Wait a minute, why/” – (SS:) “You’re not paying into a retirement program. It is an additional tax.” – “I don’t want to pay this tax, if it’s not going where I’m led to believe.” – (SS Man:) “No, it’s not your choice, everybody pays it.” – “That’s not true, Congressmen and Senators don’t pay it, and neither do the Amish, or Christian Scientist Practitioners, or/” – (SS Man:) “Are you a Christian Scientist Practitioner?” – “…I think their Hollywood office is my next stop, thanks.”
‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE FLEECIN’
I was not a little grumbly – my taxes were paying a government to say “no” to me in every way possible. And if I even survived to get some of my own money back via Social Security (originally less than a 1% tax), I’d have to pay more taxes on the SS checks. Essentially, my tax refund would be taxed. My mother also had to fight the IR$ for several years, over its stupid combining of her two small savings accounts into a phantom third account and then demanding a percentage of that. My mood kept boiling – and that April, I finally added up everything: Federal Tax + State Tax + Property Tax + Social Security/Self-Employment Tax + Sales Tax + Gas Tax (etc) – and figured it out for an average California taxpayer. It totaled over 52%. (BTW – is there a webpage or FAQ file on this?)
That didn’t even include the “Invisible Taxes”, like the ones in everything we buy. Since manufacturing corporations have business taxes, they pay for those by upping the price of what they sell. A bread loaf could have 151 separate taxes, over a third of its shelf-price. In 1953, there were 475 taxes on the materials and construction costs for building a house; and taxes comprised 45% of the cost of a car (according to Benjamin F. Fairless, Chairman of the Board, U.S. Steel). Everyone complained about high costs, pointing at the greedy manufacturers, and missing what was pulling their purse-strings.
I visited LA’s Government Printing Office for more current info, then searched the Central library, then the bookstores, thinking there really had to be a clearer accounting somewhere. It seemed like the tax code had purposely grown complex and intimidating so that only an obsessive idealist would waste precious life-time looking for a set of usable, logical solutions. Each lead branched into more bureaucaratic tangles. It was like opening a Pandora’s Box full of canned worms.
Tom wasn’t laughing. He just pulled open a drawer at his workbench and brought out a treasured copy of something I’d heard rumors about, but had never before seen. I made my own copy of his 5th generation xerox, saved it in the WizWorld Archives for 14 years, then dredged it out and just scanned it into a printable 1040 GIF for your edification. Hard to believe it used to be this simple. And sufficient.
[Original 1040 Form]
Original 1040 Tax Form of 1913
(Click & Save the readable GIF!)
Due to my copy’s poor quality, I’ve included below a quick-loading text-only version, laboriously decyphered from the xerox, then typed and formatted as accurately as possible for this webpage. If you print that out in a more compressed and distressed typeface, you’ll have a fair approximation of what spawned the present accounting nightmare that we’re all supporting with our now-quarterly and apparently mandatory donations.
TO BE FILLED IN BY COLLECTOR Form 1040 TO BE FILLED IN BY ——— INTERNAL REVENUE BUREAU INCOME TAX List No.______________ ——— File No.___________________________ THE PENALTY ________ District of ________________ FOR FAILURE TO HAVE THIS RETURN Assessment List ___________________ IN THE HANDS OF THE COLLECTOR OF Date received _______________________ INTERNAL REVENUE ON OR BEFORE Page ______________ Line __________ MARCH 1 IS $20 TO $1000. (See Instructions on Page 4) UNITED STATES INTERNAL REVENUE _____________ RETURN OF ANNUAL NET INCOME OF INDIVIDUALS (As provided by Act of Congress, approved October 3, 1913) _____________ RETURN OF NET INCOME RECEIVED OR ACCRUED DURING THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 191__ (FOR THE YEAR 1913, FROM MARCH 1, TO DECEMBER 31.) Filed by (or for) _________________________________________________________________ of ____________________________ (Full name of individual) (Street and No.) In the City, Town or Post Office of ____________________________________________________ State of _________________ (Fill in pages 2 and 3 before making entries below.) =================================================================================================================== | | | | 1. GROSS INCOME (see page 2, line 12)…………………………………………….| $…..|…..|…..|….. | | | | 2. GENERAL DEDUCTIONS (see page 3, line 7)………………………………………..| $…..|…..|…..|….. | | | | 3. NET INCOME………………………………………………………………….| $…..|…..|…..|….. =================================================================================================================== | Deductions and exemptions allowed in computing Income subject to the normal tax of 1%. | _________________________________________________________________________________________| | | | | | 4. Dividends and net earnings received or accrued, of corp- | | | | | orations, etc. subject to like tax. (See page 2, line 11)…| $…..|…..|…..|…..| | | | | | 5. Amount of income on which the normal tax has been deducted | | | | | and withheld at the source. (See pg. 2, line 9, column A)…|…….|…..|…..|…..| | | | | | 6. Specific exemption of $3,000 or $4,000, as the case may be. | | | | | (See Instructions 3 and 19)……………………………|…….|…..|…..|…..|_________________________ | | | | Total Deductions and exemptions (Items 4, 5, and 6)……| $…..|…..|…..|….. | | | | 7. TAXABLE INCOME on which the normal tax of 1% is to be calculated. (See Instruction 8).| $…..|…..|…..|….. =================================================================================================================== 8. When the net income shown above on line 3 exceeds $20,000, the additional tax thereon must be calculated as per schedule below. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ | | | INCOME | TAX |__________________________|_________________________ | | | | | | | | 1 per cent on amount over $20,000 and not exceeding $50,000…| $……|…..|…..|…..| $…..|…..|…..|….. | | | | | | | | 2 ” ” 50,000 ” ” 75,000…|……..|…..|…..|…..|…….|…..|…..|….. | | | | | | | | 3 ” ” 75,000 ” ” 100,000…|……..|…..|…..|…..|…….|…..|…..|….. | | | | | | | | 4 ” ” 100,000 ” ” 250,000…|……..|…..|…..|…..|…….|…..|…..|….. | | | | | | | | 5 ” ” 250,000 ” ” 500,000…|……..|…..|…..|…..|…….|…..|…..|….. | | | | | | | | 6 ” ” 500,000………………………..|……..|…..|…..|…..|…….|…..|…..|….. |_________________________ | | | | Total additional or super tax……………………..|.$…..|…..|…..|….. | | | | Total normal tax (1% of amount entered on line 7)……| $…..|…..|…..|….. |_________________________ | | | | Total tax liability………………………………|.$…..|…..|…..|….. ==========================
Just for good measure, there’s still a poster-sized 1040 GIF at Bill Standley’s website, and a slightly different page-sized GIF at Dr. John Yeutter’s homepage – both of which print out clearer. I’ve included my copy because it’s yet a third variation – I don’t know which is the original article, and suspect that dedicated printers have tried to duplicate the form for tax resistance rallies.
Indeed, internet legend Kibo has pointed out: “The line of large caps sure seems to be in one of those clones of Futura (1927) such as ATF/Linotype Spartan, Intertype Vogue, or Monotype 20th Century (all after 1927, natch.) The only face from before Futura that looked reasonably close would be Erbar (which was begun in 1922, if memory serves.) Spartan originated in 1936 or 1939 depending on which catalog I’m checking. I would guess Spartan because it was very common (especially in the 40s and 50s) and some versions of it had blunt angles in letters like ‘A’ (unlike regular Futura) as seen in this document. There were no geometric monoline sans-serifs like that in circulation before the 1920s. At all. (With a few exceptions which never seem to have gotten into actual use.) How did the people who designed your ‘original 1040 tax form of 1913’ get all those typefaces that wouldn’t be designed until much later?”
There are two schools of thought. The first, is that the original typeface designers were years ahead of their time, and their creations were strictly controlled by the Government lest the obviously effective fonts fall into foreign hands. The second, is that these are indeed bogus forms – but based upon the real first 1040 Form which is extremely (and intentionally?) unavailable for public viewing. Seriously…why is that historical milestone document so hard to find and see? Why isn’t it easily available in Washington D.C. giftshops, along with those parchment copies of the much older U.S. Constitution and The Bill of Rights? (Perhaps some brave soul can wade through the Library of Congress, make a copy of an original 1040, and send it to me for inclusion herein.)
Though all versions could have used a better choice of fonts and the typesetting prowess of Kibo, the first 1040 was still attractive in its simplicity. No accountants or computers were needed for its easy calculations and substantial exemptions. One’s personal loss was minimal (and minimized), especially since this modest tax applied only to the very wealthy. A ONE PERCENT TAX was no huge loss – a mere tenth of what tycoons tithed churches for a cooler space in the afterlife. And the grand open ranks of the fabulously rich enticed a hardworker’s hope of someday attaining that 6% goal line. Myghod, $20,000, in 1913! What would that be, at today’s exchange rates..?
.————-.———————.—————————-. | Tax Rate | 1913 Income Level | Adjusted for Y2K Dollars | |————-|———————|—————————-| | zero | Up to $20,000 | Up to $341,819 | | 1% | $20,000-50,000 | $341,819 to $854,546 | | 2% | $50,000-75,000 | $854,546 to $1,281,819 | | 3% | $75,000-100,000 | $1,281,819 to $1,709,091 | | 4% | $100,000-250,000 | $1,709,091 to $4,272,728 | | 5% | $250,000-500,000 | $4,272,728 to $8,545,455 | | 6% | Over $500,000 | Over $8,545,455 | | Exempt: | | | | Single | $3,000 | $51,273 | | Married | $4,000 | $68,364 | ‘————-‘———————‘—————————-‘
Source: American Institute for Economic Research Cost of Living Calculator c/o Steven M. Adelson
RAPPING IT UP
Nina Wilcox Putnam later left the United States and moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico, where she bought a hotel – originally the Bishop’s Palace, built over an Aztec pyramid (whoa, another Mummy reference) – and retired in one of its apartments. It’s said that she “regretted creating the monster” for the rest of her life (the 1040 Form – not the other lumbering, relentless, overly-bandaged behemoth). Nina died there, on March 11, 1962. Her books have become hard-to-find collectibles, her original “Mummy” is a bit-player in the Universal Studios franchise pantheon… But her few pages of IR$ creation have multiplied like Homer’s Hydra, and in some opinions have led to more real-world emotional destruction and moral damage than all fictional monsters combined.
Last year there were over 480 different tax forms, each with a trail of instructions – 33 pages just for the “we’ll make it simple for you” EZ-1040 short form. Tax Law mutated from 11,400 words in 1913, to 7,000,000 words in 1999. (For comparison, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is 269 words, the U.S. Declaration of Independence is 1,337 words, and the King James Bible is about 773,000 words.) Almost 300,000 trees were chopped to render the 8,000,000,000 pages of forms and instructions that the IRS sent out. We paid for all the government postage, of course. We also paid for the accountants and computer calculation programs – since U.S. tax forms are written to be ridiculously complicated, and taxpayers are penalized for not figuring them out. Of those who called the IRS info hotline, less than helf the callers got through, and of the advice they received, half of it was wrong. America’s taxpayers spent 5,400,000,000 man-hours just to complete last year’s Federal Tax forms. (Jeeze – what would that be, at minimum wage? What does it cost America in lost production?) Average families paid taxes which consumed over 38% of their income – more than a family’s total food, clothing and shelter. A stupifying, mind-boggling waste of time, energy, and life. (source)
Complain, complain. What can anyone do about it? I guess that depends on one’s good sense, courage, creativity and accessibility. Since the U.S. Department of Defense paid a contractor $9,476 for a single Allen wrench, that seems a suitable and official precedent for the rate of exchange. Many folks around Southern California are each sending the IR$ a whole set of L-hexes. And when the it gets the little shafts, it’s hoped the gesture will settle accounts for years to come.
Amusing, but not realistic. Especially when television and print news seem to come out with tax-scare articles just before every Ides of April. So, another thought is to balance media with media. Working alongside Animator Tom inspired me to add many tax-related illuminations into the 1000-plus G-rated subliminal words, phrases and images placed throughout my family feature film. Even if you don’t think such messages influence a viewer, increasing numbers of collectors and curious kids are searching for the fun, and thinking, and growing, and some of them will someday be running the show. The following was circulated as the 1040 Form of 1998 (or 3 times 666, for you X-Files fans). Wry humor is often a vent for brewing outrage. Wonder what young taxpayers are thinking this year. And the next.
Form 1040 E-Z:p Department of the Treasury _ _ _ _ Internal Revenue $ervice |(_)(_)(_) SIMPLIFIED INDIVIDUAL TAX RETURN | / / (_) ========================================================================= Your first name Last name | Your Social Security Number | _ _ _________________________________________|_______________________________ | | 1. Gross Income for Year ending Dec 31, 1998………|$ | |__________|_______ | | 2. Send in amount on Line 1 now………………….|$ | |__________|_______ ========================================================================= | | 3. Check here if you have any money left………….| Yes | No (If “Yes”, detail why on Schedule W.) |__________|_______ | 4. Do you wish to donate $10 to the Presidential Election?……| Yes |_______ | 4. How about $50 to reduce your chances of being audited?…….| Yes |_______ ========================================================================= Under penalty of punishment, I declare with my signature below that I am now legally obligated to send the full amount on Line 2 to the IR$, ASAP. _________________________________________________________________________ | SIGN HERE ___________________________________| Date_____________________
Los Angeles Times – March 2, 1997
‘Mummy’ Poster Sets Auction Record
A private collector paid a record $453,000 for a poster of the 1932 Boris Karloff classic film “The Mummy,” spending more than twice the previous high mark for a movie poster, Sotheby’s said. The buyer, who identified himself only as a New York collector, outbid a second man, as the cost of the rare poster – only 2 are known to exist – spiraled to more than 4 times its pre-sale estimate of up to $100,000. Several other bidders dropped out at $150,000 for the 41″ x 27″ poster done 65 years ago by acclaimed Universal Studios advertising art director Kroly Grosz.
NB: A Kelly Freas “Wizard of Speed and Time” classic movie poster is much more colorful and ingenious, far more substantial, tremendously more affordable, and still surprisingly available for the discriminating private collector. You won’t even need armed guards, security lasers and a nitrogen chamber to protect your investment (yet). And you might even get it autographed by the artist! (info)
There’s a lot of stuff on this page, so I might have made some misteaks. Your corrections and positive illuminations are encouraged, but you’ll have to hunt for my email address. Please keep the flames to a minimum – I’m an artist, not an expert. For those in the Rush Brigade and asking “Is he one of those Right-Wing, Left-Leaning, Internet Commie Anarchists?!?…”
Nope. Just a visitor to this reality, same as you. We’re all made of the same star-stuff. Now treading through these petty cliques created by insecure fellow lifeforms to temporarily control a little patch of reality before they die. I mean, all of this is man-made. Governments, religions, nations – all artificial. Their power is mostly illusory, certainly fleeting, surviving off the energy of the individuals they seduce. Some day the old Sun’s going to flare, and the Earth will explode, and for all the great dreams and deeds done and undone by mankind, the only things that will remain will be crabgrass and AOL disks. So… Enjoy Life! You can’t take it with you, and you’re not leaving it alive. If there’s anything next…well, it couldn’t hurt to be a little kinder and more understanding, in the here-and-now.
[pirate flag] [dollar sign] [USA flag]
MIRTH and TAXES
A Plethora of Apropos Quotes
“The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing.” – Jean Baptiste Colbert (Minister of Finance under Louis XIV, 1668)
“I’m proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money.” – Arthur Godfrey
“What’s the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? Well, for one thing, a taxidermist only takes your skin.” – Mark Twain
“There are two distinct classes of men…those who pay taxes and those who receive and live upon taxes.” – Thomas Paine
“People who complain about taxes can be divided into two classes: men and women.” – Anon
“Rich bachelors should be heavily taxed. It is not fair that some men should be happier than others.” – Oscar Wilde
“Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars, and a substantial tax cut save you thirty cents?” – Peg Bracken
“Taxes and golf are alike. You drive your heart out for the green, and then end up in the hole.” – Anon
“The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has. Even when you make a tax form out on the level, you don’t know when it’s through if you are a crook or a martyr.” – Will Rogers
“The United States is the only country where it takes more brains to figure your tax than to earn the money to pay it.” – Edward J. Gurney
“This (preparing my tax return) is too difficult for a mathematician. It takes a philosopher.” – Albert Einstein
“A heavy or progressive or graduated income tax is necessary for the proper development of Communism.” – Karl Marx
“The Taxpayer.. That’s someone who works for the federal government, but doesn’t have to take a civil service examination.” – Ronald Reagan, U.S. President
“If Patrick Henry thought that taxation without representation was bad, he should see how bad it is with representation.” – Farmer’s Almanac
“Our forefathers made one mistake. What they should have fought for was representation without taxation.” – Fletcher Knebel
“Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” – George Washington, U.S. President
“When more of the people’s sustenance is exacted through the form of taxation than is necessary to meet the just obligations of Government and expenses of its economical adminstration, such exaction becomes ruthless extortion and a violation of the fundamental principles of a free Government.” – Grover Cleveland, U.S. President
“The federal income tax system is a disgrace to the human race.” – Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
“Read my lips. No new taxes.” — George Bush, U.S. President
“I have no intention of raising taxes.” – Bill Clinton, U.S. President
“When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.” – Richard M. Nixon, U.S. President and attorney
“The only limit on a government’s repression is the tolerance of the people it governs.” – a 19th century attorney
“Remember, the government doesn’t give us rights, our creator does. Government can only deny them to us.” – Curt Rich
“Governments don’t give rights. Governments take rights away.” – Anon
“If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.” – Sam Stoddard
“There are two methods, or means, and only two, whereby man’s needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means.” – Albert Jay Nock
“The politician’s promises of yesterday are the taxes of today.” – Mackenzie King
“The reward of energy, enterprise and thrift…is taxes.” – W. Feather
“It is not from top to bottom that societies die; it is from bottom to top.” – Henry George
“The trouble with an income-tax reduction is that it will stimulate business just enough to put everybody in a higher tax bracket.” – Harold Coffin
“Nothing is so well calculated to produce a death-like torpor in the country as an extended system of taxation and a great national debt.” – William Cobbett
“A society which turns so many of its best and brightest into tax lawyers may be doing something wrong.” – Hoffman F. Fuller
“In the matter of taxation, every privilege is an injustice.” – Voltaire
“Only little people pay taxes.” – Leona Helmsley
“The income tax created more criminals than any other single act of government.” – Barry Goldwater, almost U.S. President
“Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed.” – Robert Heinlein
“A fool and his money are soon parted.” – Aesop
“A fool and your money are soon partners.” – Kathleen James
“A fool and your money are soon partying.” – Anon
“The Government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.” – George Bernard Shaw
“I wouldn’t mind paying taxes, if I knew they were going to a friendly country.” – Dick Gregory
“The Lottery: a tax on people who are bad at math.” – Anon
“The Dime: a dollar with all the taxes taken out.” – Anon
“A penny saved is a Congressional oversight.” – Lazarus Long
“Tax Relief? Myghod, now they’re taxing everything!!” – Mike Jittlov
“Isn’t it appropriate that the month of the tax begins with April Fool’s Day and ends with cries of ‘May Day!’?” – Rob Knauerhase
“A government that is large enough to supply everything you need is large enough to take everything you have.” – Thomas Jefferson
“There’s nothing wrong with the younger generation that becoming taxpayers won’t cure.” – Dan Bennett
“Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.” – Herbert Hoover, U.S. President
“The meek shall inherit the work.” – Anon
“A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.” – Anon
“I made it, I spent it.” – Ernie Kovacs, to an IR$ auditor
“Seizure Fever – Catch It!” – posters in the IR$ Headquarters
“It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them.” – Tiberius Caesar
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin
“We have long had death and taxes as the two standards of inevitability. But there are those who believe that death is the preferable of the two. ‘At least,’ as one man said, ‘there’s one advantage about death; it doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets’.” – Erwin N. Griswold
“It used to be that death and taxes alone were inevitable. Now there’s shipping and handling.” – Bert Murray
“Death and taxes may be certain, but we don’t have to die every year.” – Anon
“To lay with one hand the power of the government on the property of the citizen, and with the other to bestow it upon favored individuals to aid private enterprises and build up private fortunes, is none the less a robbery because it is done under the forms of law and is called taxation. This is not legislation. It is a decree under legislative forms.” – Citizens’ Savings and Loan Association v. City of Topeka, 87 U.S. 655, 664, 20 Wall. 655 (1874)
“It is safest to shut up and pay, which is what I shall eventually do, though I shall hate having to sell the children.” – Russell Baker
“If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible.” – Henry David Thoreau
“The politicians don’t just want your money. They want your soul. They want you to be worn down by taxes until you are dependent and helpless. When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both.” – James Dale Davidson
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – the Net’s favorite Edmund Burke quote
“If nothing changes.. Nothing changes.” – a bumper sticker I just saw
“Choice is a powerful thing. If you still have it.” – an L.A. street-person