Income Taxes Account for the Largest Share of Federal Revenue
October 24, 2013
In 1940, the year before America entered World War II, excise taxes—such as gas and cigarette taxes—were the largest source of revenues for the federal government, followed by Social Security payroll taxes, then corporate income taxes.
Today, payroll taxes are still the second largest share of tax revenues while excise taxes would hardly fund two weeks’ worth of federal spending. Collections from individual income taxes are now the number one source of revenues for Uncle Sam. Corporate income taxes have declined as a source of revenues since the 1950s for many reasons—including the fact that more business income is now taxed on individual tax returns than on corporate returns.
For more charts like the one below, see the second edition of our chart book, Putting a Face on America's Tax Returns.
Was this page helpful to you?
The Tax Foundation works hard to provide insightful tax policy analysis. Our work depends on support from members of the public like you. Would you consider contributing to our work?Contribute to the Tax Foundation
Let us know how we can better serve you!
We work hard to make our analysis as useful as possible. Would you consider telling us more about how we can do better?Give Us Feedback