This is it, folks - the final countdown is underway. Five more days for US citizens to file, and the Canucks, who must file by the 30th, are certainly feeling the pressure, too. Well, don’t feel bad, we’re all a big part of ongoing history. Taxes have been with us for a looong time. Here are some excerpts from taxworld.org:
During the various reins (sic) of the Egyptian Pharaohs tax collectors were known as scribes. During one period the scribes imposed a tax on cooking oil. To insure that citizens were not avoiding the cooking oil tax scribes would audit households to insure that appropriate amounts of cooking oil were consumed and that citizens were not using leavings generated by other cooking processes as a substitute for the taxed oil.
In times of war the Athenians imposed a tax referred to as eisphora. No one was exempt from the tax, which was used to pay for special wartime expenditures. The Greeks are one of the few societies that were able to rescind the tax once the emergency was over. When additional resources were gained by the war effort the resources were used to refund the tax.
In 60 A.D. Boadicea, queen of East Anglia led a revolt that can be attributed to corrupt tax collectors in the British Isles. Her revolt allegedly killed all Roman soldiers within 100 miles; seized London; and it is said that over 80,000 people were killed during the revolt. The Queen was able to raise an army of 230,000. The revolt was crushed by Emperor Nero and resulted in the appointment of new administrators for the British Isles.1
Lady Godiva was an Anglo-Saxon woman who lived in England during the 11th century. According to legend, Lady Godiva's husband Leofric, Earl of Mercia, promised to reduce the high taxes he levied on the residents of Coventry when she agreed to ride naked through the streets of the town.
The Tax Act of 1862 was passed and signed by President Lincoln July 1 1862. The rates were 3% on income above $600 and 5% on income above $10,000. The rent or rental value of your home could be deducted from income in determining the tax liability. The Commissioner of Revenue stated "The people of this country have accepted it with cheerfulness, to meet a temporary exigency, and it has excited no serious complaint in its administration." This acceptance was primarily due to the need for revenue to finance the Civil War.
Although the people cheerfully accepted the tax, compliance was not high. Figures released after the Civil War indicated that 276,661 people actually filed tax returns in 1870 (the year of the highest returns filed) when the country's population was approximately 38 million.
Well, after carefully studying all this info, I’m sure you’ll come to the same conclusion I did – you might cheat death, but there’s just no getting away from taxes. Unless maybe you're an ancient Athenian.