America’s First Income Tax Form

July 7, 2005

Ever wonder what the original 1913 IRS 1040 form looked like? See a PDF version here.

Notable for its four-page length—and single page of instructions—the original 1040 requires at least one thing modern forms don’t: math knowledge. The 1913 form actually lists individual tax rates and brackets, allowing taxpayers to calculate tax liability the old fashioned way as opposed to looking it up in a pre-calculated table—or clicking an option box in TurboTax.

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A tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities.