Income Tax

January 24, 1916: Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad Co

The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes.

Albert Einstein

After spending a good part of yesterday working on my Federal income tax, I think that perhaps a national day of mourning would be an appropriate commemoration.  One hundred years ago, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the income tax. The vote was 8-0 with Justice McReynolds abstaining. Go here to read the text of the decision. Ironically, Associate Justice Charles Evans Hughes, who would soon resign from the Court to be the Republican Standard Bearer for President in 1916, had opposed the income tax amendment as Governor of New York in 1910.  Continue reading

One Hundredth Anniversary of the 16th Amendment


Drape the windows and doors in black!  Today is the one hundredth anniversary of the ratification of the 16th Amendment that allowed the implementation of the Federal Income Tax.  Last week I prepared my income tax returns.  I usually have fairly complicated returns, but I am always amazed that after thirty years as an attorney I still come across sections of the returns and instructions that are literally incomprehensible.  All those who have a similar reaction are in good company.  Leo Mattersdorf prepared the tax returns for Albert Einstein.  Einstein made this remark during a lunch one time to Mattersdorf: Continue reading

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