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Kudos to Nebraska and New Hampshire for Prompt Response to Historical Tax Rates Request

2 min readBy: Joseph Bishop-Henchman

One of the most used resources on our website is historical taxA 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. rate information. For federal taxes, we go all the way back to the beginning: the federal income tax (1861-1872, 1913-present), the corporate income taxA corporate income tax (CIT) is levied by federal and state governments on business profits. Many companies are not subject to the CIT because they are taxed as pass-through businesses, with income reportable under the individual income tax. (1909-present), the gasoline tax (1932-present), and so forth. At the state level we have historical income taxes, sales taxes, corporate taxes, and excise taxes for each state, but they mostly only go back to 2000. We have some records of pre-2000 information but it needs to be verified and filled out. Additionally, the way we present the data needs to be improved.

I’m pleased to announce the first phase of a project to do just that: provide state tax rate data all the way back to the beginning. We are frequently asked for this information by researchers and taxpayers, and we believe making it available will be of great value to studying the effect of tax rate changes over time. This will likely be a long effort (and we currently have funding support only for the first of multiple phases) but I’m excited to be starting any aspect of it!

As a first step, last week I reached out to all state revenue departments, asking for any records they have on historical tax rate information. Not everyone will have this at their fingertips, certainly, but those that do will make this project easier! I’m pleased to thank the Nebraska and New Hampshire revenue departments for being the first to respond in full with all of the needed information! They took less than half a week, making them superstars. Other states I’m sure will be reporting soon, and I’ll highlight them on the blog.

Georgia has also responded, to notify us that we must file an open records request to obtain historical tax rate information, paying them an hourly search rate plus 10 cents per page. We’ve declined, for now.

I hope you’ll consider supporting this important project!