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Learning to Love Form 1040Two Cheers for the Return-Based Mass Income Tax$
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Lawrence Zelenak

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226018928

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226019086.001.0001

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The World War II Origins of the Return-Based Mass Income Tax

The World War II Origins of the Return-Based Mass Income Tax

(p.71) Five The World War II Origins of the Return-Based Mass Income Tax
Learning to Love Form 1040

Lawrence Zelenak

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the two wartime legislative decisions that resulted in the return-based mass income tax: (1) to finance the war with a mass income tax rather than a federal retail sales tax; and (2) to require all income taxpayers to file returns (rather than using a return-free system of exact withholding for most taxpayers). If not for the Roosevelt administration's aversion to a federal retail sales tax, the United States might have emerged from the war with a retail sales tax as the instrument of mass taxation and with an income tax applicable only to the economic elite.

Keywords:   tax policy, income tax, taxes, taxpayers, income tax returns, retail sales tax

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