income tax

History of The Income Tax In The U.S. Part 3: 2000-2008

Ronald Reagan ran for president on a platform of tax reform. In the fall of 1986, President Reagan signed into law the Tax Reform Act of 1986, one of the most far-reaching reforms of the U.S. tax system. More than ten years later in 1997, President Clinton signed the Taxpayer Relief Act which reduced taxes by $152 and implemented more than 800 changes to the Tax Code rules and regulations, including a $500 per child tax credit, capital gains tax reduction, Roth IRAs and tax incentives for education. Following the passage of these major tax bills, significant tax legislation was also enacted during the presidency of George W. Bush. This blog examining the tax history of the U.S. will examine the legislation enacted during his time in office.

History of The Income Tax In The U.S. Part 2: 1980-1999

As perhaps would be expected, taxes were not much a part of our nation’s early history. Then the high cost of the War of 1812 brought about a need for revenue at the federal level and the nation’s first sales taxes were implemented. Fifty years later, Abraham Lincoln enacted emergency measures to pay for Civil War. In 1954, the 875-page Internal Revenue Code of 1954 was formulated. It was perhaps the most monumental overhaul of the federal income tax system to date. In 1969, the Tax Reform Act contained major amendments to the 1954 Tax Code.

Reagan-Bush Era

History of The Income Tax In The U.S., Part 1: The First Two Hundred Years

Our nation has existed since 1776. Some wonder whether the income tax has been around for as long. As perhaps would be expected, taxes were not much a part of our nation’s early history. After all, the Boston Tea Party involved a protest over a tariff, the Tea Act of 1773, imposed by the English crown. In the period directly preceding the 19th century, the United States imposed internal taxes on distilled spirits, tobacco, refined sugar, slaves, carriages, corporate bonds, snuff, and property sold at auction.

The 19th Century

Who Qualifies As A Responsible Person To Pay A Trust Fund Penalty?

The IRS utilizes a very broad definition of “responsible person” in the context of trust fund recovery penalties. The term, which may extend to more than one party within a corporation, partnership or LLC, applies to any person who willfully fails to perform a duty to pay trust fund taxes. It may be a corporate officer, director, employee, or shareholder, as well as a manager, employee, or member of a limited liability company. If a person is in any of the aforementioned positions where he or she controls a business’s financial affairs, liability as a responsible person for trust fund recovery penalties is a genuine possibility.

The Trust Fund Penalty – No One Is Safe

Employers are required to withhold federal income and payroll taxes from their employees’ wages for payment of payroll taxes such as federal income taxes and FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes. Such taxes are held in trust by an employer until it makes a federal deposit of the due amounts.

The IRS applies a term, “Trust Fund Recovery Penalty” (TFRP), for the fine related to an employer’s willful failure to pay over necessary federal income and FICA taxes. “Responsible persons” making such payments may be subject to criminal charges for any willful failure to remit these taxes. Most TFRP cases involve corporate officers and companies that are no longer in business, in which case the IRS may only collect TFRP from “responsible persons.”

Fitzpatrick V. Commissioner & The Trust Fund Penalty – The Aggressive IRS Loses A Big Case

How aggressive is the IRS in enforcing and collecting Trust Fund Recovery Penalties? A case from the U.S. Tax Court case illustrates the aggressive nature of the IRS when using the trust fund recovery penalty (TFRP) to collect trust fund taxes. Business enterprises must be careful to ensure that they do not incur Trust Fund Recovery Penalties for any failure to remit federal payroll and trust fund taxes when due.

Most Confusing Parts Of The Income Tax Code, Part 2: Alternative Minimum Tax

Many provisions of the Internal Revenue Code are complicated. Proper interpretation of the rules and regulations contained in these provisions requires the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable tax professional. The second part of our series about the most confusing provisions of the Internal Revenue Code addresses everyone’s favorite, the alternative minimum tax.

Why Is It Confusing?

  • The AMT doesn’t seem to achieve its purpose
  • Taxpayers have to compute two taxes
  • The computation of the AMT itself is enormously long and complicated

IRS To Use Private Debts Collectors

In the spring of 2017, the IRS will begin outsourcing the collection of not all, but some, overdue federal tax debts to private contractors. In early December of 2015, President Obama signed into law the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or “FAST Act.” The FAST Act provides funding for transportation project over the next ten years. Of course, any bill related to highways is likely to include provisions requiring the IRS to use private debt collection companies, which this bill, in fact, includes.

Yes, Olympic Medals and Prize Money Are Taxable

The Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro recently concluded and many Americans took home gold, silver, and bronze medals. To be precise, 46 gold, 37 silver, and 38 bronze medals were won by American athletes. But not only were U.S. athletes like Michael Phelps and Kevin Durant raking in the gold in Brazil, so was the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service. Yes, big surprise, the U.S. government has a stake in the Olympics as it taxes Olympic winnings as income.

The Most Overlooked Tax Deductions, Part 3

Many taxpayers overlook the long list of deductions that they may take when completing and filing their tax returns. The IRS has estimated that millions of taxpayers overpay their taxes each year mainly because they fail to avail themselves of all of the possible deductions. The tax professionals at the Thorgood Law Firm can help ensure that all taxpayers take advantage of any and all deductions that may apply to them. Here is the third part of our multi-part blog on the most overlooked tax deductions:


Estate tax on income in respect of a decedent