Sixteenth Amendment

(redirected from 16th Amendment)

Sixteenth Amendment

The Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Congress passed the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1909, and the states ratified it in 1913. The ratification of the amendment overturned an 1895 U.S. Supreme Court decision that had ruled a 2 percent federal flat tax on incomes over $4,000 unconstitutional (pollock v. farmer's loan & trust co., 157 U.S. 429, 15 S. Ct. 673, 39 L. Ed. 759). Article I of the Constitution states that "direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states … according to their respective numbers." By a 5–4 vote, the Court in Pollock held that the new Income Tax was a direct tax insofar as it was based on incomes derived from land and, as such, had to be apportioned among the states. Because the law did not provide for Apportionment, it was unconstitutional.

The decision was unpopular and took the public by surprise because a federal income tax levied during the U.S. Civil War had not been struck down. Critics contended that the conservative majority on the Pollock Court was seeking to protect the economic elite. Industrialization had led to the creation of enormous corporate profits and personal fortunes, which could not be taxed to help pay for escalating federal government services. The Democratic Party made the enactment of a constitutional amendment a plank in its platform beginning in 1896.

The language of the Sixteenth Amendment addressed the issue in Pollock concerning apportionment, repealing the limitation imposed by article I. Soon after the amendment was ratified, Congress established a new personal income tax with rates ranging from 1 to 7 percent on income in excess of $3,000 for a single individual.

Further readings

Jensen, Erik M. 2001. "The Taxing Power, the Sixteenth Amendment, and the Meaning of 'Incomes'." Arizona State Law Journal 33 (winter).

Oring, Mark, and Steve Hampton. 1994. "Cheek v. United States and the Tax Protest Movement: An Historical Reassessment of the Sixteenth Amendment." University of West Los Angeles Law Review 25 (annual).


Apportionment; Income Tax.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
He headed a team of a seven-member Supreme Court bench to unanimously reject the 16th Amendment of the constitution of Bangladesh, passed by the Sheikh Hasina government.
Sinha came under fire from the ruling Awami League over the verdict on the 16th amendment to the constitution and left the country on leave in October 2017.
Constitution's 16th Amendment does not say "only the top 1% pay income tax," the Illinois amendment will not say "only the top 3% pay more; your taxes will never increase." It merely makes it easier to raise rates on everyone, hurting our economy.
The income tax is a direct tax and constitutional ( because of the 16th Amendment , which specifically allows income taxes without apportionment.
What I believe is among the most underrated reasons for the vast expansion of federal power at the expense of the states is the 16th Amendment, which gave Congress the authority to enact a federal income tax.
The lawsuit chronicles the history of the 16th Amendment, which confirms that the federal government's tax power has limits and cannot be used to intrude on the sovereign authority of the states to determine their own taxation and fiscal policies.
1909 - 16th Amendment approved (power to tax incomes)
In 1913, when the 16th Amendment instituted the federal income tax, the form and directions fit on four pages.
1913 - The 16th Amendment of the US Constitution, authorising income tax, goes into effect.
On August 1, the Supreme Court had published the full verdict on the annulment of the 16th amendment to the constitution.
He also proposes to replace the 16th Amendment (which authorized a federal income tax) with a "uniform consumption tax" to raise revenue less intrusively.