Top Ten Things Not to Do on the First Income Tax Day in 1861

Ten Things Not to do

 

Since today is the anniversary of the establishment of the first income tax in 1861, I thought it would be fun to travel back there and take in the atmosphere of what had to have been an eventful time. The income tax was established to pay for the Civil War. Of course, there are some time travel rules that we must abide, so here is a list that will hopefully keep us from creating a time disruption or tear in the continuum.

Top Ten Things Not to Do on the First Tax Day in 1861.

10 On the first tax day, do not try to find an H&R Block office for relief. If you do, at best it will be an ice supply house. At worse, you will raise so much concern from those you ask that they will point you out to the tax collector. (The belief that you are trying to avoid your tax obligation is what ended you up behind bars, Issac. Just tell them you made a mistake and intend to pay, and maybe they’ll let you go.)

9 On the first tax day, do not tell Tiny the WWF champ that he can’t come in to assess your net worth. If you do, at best he will come in anyway. At worst, Tiny who just left his rejection support group meeting will reduce the place to sawdust. (The upside to Tiny’s visit, Iulio, is you have no assets and therefore don’t owe any tax. Let’s not talk of the downside.)

8 On the first tax day, do not try to deduct your stay and meals as a business expense. If you do, at best you will be laughed out of the room. At worse, the tax collector will call the Marshall, and you’ll be labeled as the first tax fraud case in the US. (The first tax was a 3% flat rate over 800 dollars ($13,000 today) of income, Iwdael. There are no deductions. Now tell the man you are sorry and cough up the money.)

7 On the first Tax day, do not carry your “No Taxation Without Representation,” protest sign. If you do, at best, no one will be able to read. At worst, you will be invited to spend the night at the Hoosegow Hotel. (These new revenuers have no sense of humor, Izeyah. I wouldn’t press my luck any further.)

6 On the first tax day, do not try to pay for your tax with corn. If you do, at best the agent will think you are joking. At worst, the interpretation is that you are trying to evade your taxes. (You have to admit, Izreal trying to unload 100 bushels of corn in the tax office looks a little suspicious. You’ll find a broom and shovel in the corner. Best to clean up the mess before you leave.)

5 On the first tax day, do not try to convince the tax collector that you are part of the 97% of the population that does not earn 800 dollars a year. If you do, at best the collector will respect your attempt at avoiding the tax. At worse, the collector just declared to his staff that the next person who tries to lie about their income will be shot. (I think you better cough up the tax quickly, Ian. That collector is resting his hand on a very big six-shooter.)

4 On the first Tax day, do not show up in your most elegant clothes on the best horse. If you do, at best the collector won’t notice. At worst, since your clothes and horse are better than the collector’s, your bill will be higher than it should be. (At this stage, Ibrahim you might as well just pay it. Why you didn’t think to wear those old shoes and overalls is beyond me. You could have parked your horse down the street too.)

3 On the first tax day, do not try to dazzle the tax collector with stacks of paperwork proving your lack of income. If you do, at best, you will be ignored. At worse, the agent will assume you are up to something illegal and double your tax assessment. (It would have been better just to tell them the truth, Igore. After all, 3% is not a lot to pay.)

2 On the first tax day, do not put in an application to join the IRS. If you do, at best no one will understand you. At worst, you’ll give away your time traveler status since the IRS wasn’t established until 1862. (Well easy come easy go, Ishmael. It is now time to hit the bricks and get back to your own timezone. Otherwise, you might be spending a lot of time in a very damp and chilly place.)

1 On the first tax day, do not think you can tell the tax collector to send you a bill. If you do, at best the collector will share a laugh with you. At worst, the collector will take measures to collect the tax today. ( That big guy in the corner is the enforcer, Ignatius. It is his job to extract the payment right now. He has been known to hold some by their ankles until the money falls to the floor. Just save us all the misery and pay the bill.)

38 comments

  1. Truly a dark day in history.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you think they’d appreciate hearing how in the future the money is spent even before they collect it? or is Tiny coming to get me? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would keep this info to myself, GP. Yes, Tiny is on the road right now. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You had me cracking up right out of the gate, John. Happy Monday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A good thing to do on a Monday. Thanks, Jill 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good way to start a Monday, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Teri.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am belly laughing, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad, Jennie. Thanks for letting me know.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, John.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Ha! Almost one hundred years without taxes. How did they run the country?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Under budget I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You know, it figures they’d initiate a tax (which they probably advertised as something temporary), then keep it in perpetuity! Filing income taxes every year is just about as hair-pulling-out as filing the FAFSA when Domer was in college. Remember those days?? Ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All paper work is hair pulling. Thamks, Debbie.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “Since today is the anniversary of the establishment of the first income tax in 1861, I thought it would be fun to travel back there” – that’s one moment in time I would like to travel to in order to UNDO something!
    Have a great day,
    Pit

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I like how you try to make tax collecting ‘fun’…
    Just like our GST was a ‘temporary measure’… uh huh. Sure.
    Funny how taxes are always created to “help” a cause and yet, once the cause is over, well, the folks are used to paying it so why stop?
    Good one!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yup. Once the faucet is turned on. Hard to turn off.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. That ain’t never gonna happen.

        Like

  10. LOL. I wonder if they would let me write off my writing expenses at that time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No deductions. Just take cash instead.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. D.L. Finn, Author · · Reply

    Good list John:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Denise.

      Like

  12. Good one! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh, Johnny Boy. I’m hoping for a good review from you for my latest, so maybe I shouldn’t say this. But I will. Are you sure it was an “income tax” per se? Income taxes were prohibited by the constitution. It took the 16th Amendment (ratified February 3, 1913) to get us there.

    Fun fact: Do you know how they sold it to us so we’d tax ourselves–so we’d ratify the damn amendment? Too bad, I’m gonna tell you anyway, because that’s what I do. I enlighten people.

    They (the powers that be) said only the very rich would have to pay the income tax. People like Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Andrew Mellon. Sure. See how that worked out.

    All we have to do is repeal the 16th amendment like we did the 18th (Prohibition).

    Say hi to the dogs for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mr. Joyce. Taxation of income in the United States has been practiced since colonial times. Some southern states imposed their own taxes on income from property, both before and after Independence. The Constitution empowered the federal government to raise taxes at a uniform rate throughout the nation, and required that “direct taxes” be imposed only in proportion to the Census population of each state. Federal income tax was first introduced under the Revenue Act of 1861 to help pay for the Civil War. It was renewed in later years and reformed in 1894 in the form of the Wilson-Gorman tariff. So yes it was an incometax per se. It did only apply to about 3% of the population. Later income tax laws were declared unconstutional in 1895 due to the direct nature of the tax code wording. The 16th amendment was enacted to allow Congress to once again dip into our pockets.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Mr. Joyce?” I’m in deep shit, right?

        Okay, MISTER Howell. I’ll defer to you on this one only because my beer’s getting warm. I can’t type a drink at the same time.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I wanted to make sure you would read my reply. No offense intended with the Mr. BTW there is no way you could you get a bad review. The book is too good. Nice concession. I owe you one. (Warm beer or no)

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank God i live in Idaho. We didn’t become a state until 1890.

    Like

  15. I missed this post, John. It landed in an area of gMail where no man ever goes. Then again, you might not accept that excuse. I would point out that I rarely, if ever have missed a Top-10 post. I would appreciate your accepting this comment, however late it might be. Can I assume that the subjects of “interest and penalties” will not be discussed?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not to worry, Dan. You are never late. Delayed perhaps but not late.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I won’t try that with the IRS (or Tiny).

        Like

  16. There’s nothing taxing about this post — it was a delight from beginning to end. What do you think those early taxmen would think about the fact that some Brits made a fortune singing about their levies?

    Like

  17. And don’t reference the Beatles song, either.

    Great list, Boss!

    Like

  18. “On the first tax day, do not think you can tell the tax collector to send you a bill.”
    Why would anyone do something like that, John?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not sure. I would lay low.

      Like

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