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The Tax Foundation is the nation’s leading independent tax policy nonprofit. Since 1937, our principled research, insightful analysis, and engaged experts have informed smarter tax policy at the federal, state, and global levels. For over 80 years, our goal has remained the same: to improve lives through tax policies that lead to greater economic growth and opportunity.
The federal corporate income tax was first instituted in 1909 when income above $5,000 was subjected to a one percent tax rate. Since then it has changed approximately 35 times, with the current top rate at 35 percent.
Additionally, many states levy corporate income taxes of their own. Economists have long understood that corporate income taxes are double taxes, since the same income is taxed once as profit, and once as individual income when distributed as dividends to shareholders.
Contrary to popular misconception, the ultimate burden of corporate income taxes doesn’t fall on corporations, but is instead borne by workers, shareholders and consumers.
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