Income Tax “Fun” Facts

Flower branch

Hello, my name is Winnie Griggs and I’m a procrastinator.  I have just spent the past three days buried hip deep in tattered receipts, spreadsheets and a confusing mountain of forms working on my income taxes.

I’m happy to report that I am now done with them but my brain is a bit fried so I hope you’ll excuse me for not doing an in-depth well-researched post on some fun  tidbit of history.  Instead, since I have taxes on the brain, I thought I’d share just a brief look at some fun facts (a bit of an oxymoron, I know) about the Federal Income Tax system.


  • The word ‘tax’ comes from the Latin taxo, which means I estimate.
  • Income tax was first introduced in the U.S. in 1861.  Its purpose was to help pay for the Civil War.
  • All but seven states charge a State Income Tax – those seven are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.
  • The Bureau of Internal Revenue was created during WWII.  This later became the Internal Revenue Service, or the IRS.  It was also during this same time frame that taxes began to be withheld from paychecks
  • The IRS is the largest accounting and tax-collection organization in the world.  As of 2010 there were approximately 106,00 IRS employees.  During that same time we had 45,000 troops in Iraq, less than half the number.
  • In the U.S. Income Tax regulations are so complex that there are over 1.2 million professional tax preparers in the country – including accountants, lawyers and computer experts.
  • The IRS lists nearly 2000 files on its Forms and Publications’ search page.
  • The US Tax Code is approximately 4 million words.  About five times as many words as are in the bible and a little under four times as many as all the books in the Harry Potter series together.


So there you have it – my brief list of interesting tidbits.  I hope you learned a little something from it.  And I also hope you had smoother sailing with your tax preparations this year than I did.

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Winnie Griggs is the author of Historical (and occasionally Contemporary) romances that focus on Small Towns, Big Hearts, Amazing Grace. She is also a list maker, a lover of dragonflies and holds an advanced degree in the art of procrastination.
Three of Winnie’s books have been nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and one of those nominations resulted in a win.
Winnie loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her on facebook at or email her at

31 thoughts on “Income Tax “Fun” Facts”

  1. Don’t feel bad about putting them off. My CPA husband just did our last night. He’s never in a hurry to pay more so he puts it off.
    Congrats on getting them done in time. That’s all that matters.

  2. Ahhh, death and taxes. I finished mine yesterday. I’ve never done the drive-through-of-shame where they postdate your mailing right at the post office, but it might be kind of fun!

  3. Winnie, I hate income tax time. Always makes me a big crazy. I try to save all my receipts (for everything) but fear grips me that I reported something I don’t have a receipt for. Writing expenses are so hard for me to keep track of because I’m usually on the road. I might not get home with everything. I’m having to pay this year as usual. But, it’s not as much as I’d expected so that was a welcome surprise. Wow, the IRS sure has a lot of employees.

  4. Margaret – glad I could make you feel better. I think it’s that old ‘misery loves company’ thing 🙂

    Linda – I use the box-full-of-receipts filing system as well. Gotta find something better going forward 🙂

  5. I start hyperventilating just thinking about it.
    Shortness of breath. Chest pains.
    Is it a heart attack?
    Is it a panic attack?
    Is it pneumonia?
    Nope, it’s TAX SEASON!!!!!!!

    And My Cowboy does all the book keeping and we have an tax guy. STILL it’s overwhelming.

  6. Other interesting facts are that it is completely unConstitutional — and is plank # 3, I believe, of the Communist Manifesto. In 1913, Pres. Wilson passed the dreaded Federal Reserve Act — for which there was true conspiracy to set it up — including clandestine meeting at Jeckel Island — the 16th Amendment was then passed into law, I believe in 1917 — the Income Tax Amendment. Another interesting tidbit is that it was passed on Christmas eve when almost all of the Senators and Representatives were home for Christmas — it was also never radified by all the States.

    It also follows the Statute of Staples, Feudal law from England — it is, in fact, a Statute Staple, which is an entirely different subject — but not really. It was the Statute Staple that allowed people to go to debtors prison — which I guess is why, today there is debtors prison for those who object to income tax, even though debtors prison was outlawed in the united states.

    So some more interesting facts.

  7. I dread tax time. Ours aren’t very complicated. We figure our deductions every year and even with a mortgage, we would still do better filing the standard deductions. Last year we actually got money back. This year we owe more than ever. Whatever. We have been out of town, but figured our taxes before leaving. I will write the check and get it in the mail tomorrow.

    They need to seriously simplify the tax code. If they eliminated some of the loopholes the super rich can take advantage of, it would even things out a bit. A flat tax with some considerations would make it much more fair for many of us. Whatever the adjustment, it needs to be more fair to those of us in the middle that are paying such a high percentage of our income compared to the others.

    By the way, we live in Tennessee and there is no state income here for most people.

  8. I never considered income taxes fun, but you have changed my mind! My husband was a CPA for an international accounting firm, then had his own business as long as he could stand it–people would bring all kinds of things to him in, oh, say, a shoebox, dump it on his desk for him to sort out. Fortunately, he wised up, got a phd and began teaching at the university.
    I laugh at him every year because everyone says “I’m doing my taxes,” even tax businesses, and he says–“I’m doing my TAX RETURN!” He’ll never get his point across because he only says it to me.
    What a perfect day for a post about taxes.

  9. Love the posts on Petticoats and Pistols.

    I’m a retired accountant and deliberately wait until the last minute to file taxes. Every writer should have a simple book-keeping system where expenses and income are recorded as they occur, then at tax time all you have to do is pull the information together.

    The tax code has grown so large because it’s a political tool to give favors to contributors and special interest groups. It doesn’t change because common taxpayers have no clout. And when they band together…we’ve seen how the teaparty was crucified.

  10. Tax time is so bad. It matters not if you owe or don’t, you have to have your documentation. To another subject, I would like to have your ebook.

  11. I’m so glad my income tax is easy to do.
    I watched my father in law got through a audit because his business handled a lot of cash money. His Accountant was stealing money and when the IRS showed up, they just walked in and wanted everything. He even asked for his wallet and if he had any money buried on the property. They were really rude. They caught the accountant and she served time and he had to pay back 22,000. To the IRS. So yes I’m thankful mine are simple.


  13. Patricia – I agree that a simplified tax code would make things immeasurably easier for most of us, but don’t hold out hope that it will happen in my lifetime.

    Karen – that sounds like an interesting read!

    Celia – I can so relate to the shoe box full of receipts method of filing receipts. But I don’t expect anyone else to sort through them – I save that herculean task for myself 🙂

  14. Elaine – I agree on needing a better system, and every year about this time I promise myself I’ll do better, but somehow it never happens…

    Connie – thanks for stopping by

    Kim – My sympathies to your father-in-law. An audit is not a fun thing, no matter how scrupulously honest you are with the information on your return.

  15. I did my own taxes back in the medieval days when I was
    single. When we married, also in the olden days, Honey
    began doing all our tax work. He continues to do so with
    my blessings and my thanks!!

    Pat C.

  16. Cheryl – LOL, sounds like it takes you as long with yours as it does me with mine!

    LindaB – LOL – that consequence is a pretty strong incentive!

    Hi Kimberly – thanks for stopping by

  17. Lillian – Lucky you! I’d be grateful too.

    Hi Pat – LOL. Hubby and I share the fun. He takes care of the farm ‘stuff’ and I do the writing-related forms. Then we put it all together with the other kazillion forms we have to file and come up with our final product.

  18. Hubby actually e-filed a month ago, a first for Mr. Procrastinator. I guess an old dog can learn a new trick 🙂

  19. Mary M – Lol on your ‘old dog’. I don’t get inspired to FILE early because I usually owe money. But it would be a whole lot less stressful if I could just train myself to get all the paperwork done earlier. 🙂

  20. The weird thing about income tax is the few people that have challenged paying taxes could never get the govt. to show proof of an actual written law saying we have to pay it.

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