I’m a sucker for financial calculators -- you know, those little widgets that help you find out how much you’ll pay monthly on your 30-year mortgage, how long it’ll take to pay off your student loans, or what you can save when you switch your balances to a new credit card.So it was with some interest that I came across a little application last week, courtesy of journalist Kay Bell’s “Don’t Mess with Taxes” blog (http://dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com), that allows users to calculate what their income tax liability would have been under the original Form 1040 -- issued in1913. (The calculator can be accessed directly at http://politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/2007/04/income-tax-original-form-1040.html).

According to Wikipedia, the first federal statute imposing the legal obligation to pay a federal income tax was adopted by Congress in 1862, to pay for the Civil War. That act levied a 3 percent tax on incomes above $600, and a 5 percent tax on incomes above $10,000, before rates were raised a couple of years later. The tax was repealed within a decade, but a new income tax statute was enacted as part of the 1894 Tariff Act.

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