Top Five “Fun” Facts About the IRS

When I pitched the idea for this blog to my co-workers, my research colleague Mattea quipped, “surrrrre, because when I think about the IRS, I think of fun.”

That’s pretty much the sentiment of most Americans when it comes to paying taxes, which is a subject of a lot of jokes. One that I came across while researching this piece was “people who complain about paying taxes fall into two categories – men and women.”

Anyhow, here are the Top Five things you need to know about the IRS:



Number 5: The origins of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) date back to 1862 during the Civil War, when President Lincoln and Congress created the position of commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted an income tax to cover war costs.

Number 4: The income tax was repealed 10 years later, and the government did without this revenue source until Congress revived it in 1894. That lasted until the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional just one year later.

Number 3: The constitutionality question was resolved in 1913. The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states "Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived...."

Number 2: Of the 144 million or so individual income tax returns filed last year, 77 percent were filed electronically. That’s up from only 31 percent a decade ago.

And the Number One IRS “Fun” Fact...The IRS has its own Tax Quotes website. It does not include Ben Franklin's famous quotation "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

For more information about how your taxes are spent, check out NPP's "Tax Day" materials.