Historical Income Tax Rates
税务和会计30 十二月, 2022

Historical income tax rates

While the first federal income tax was created in 1861, during the Civil War, it was a flat tax and repealed in 1872. Income tax brackets didn’t exist prior to 1913, with the ratification of the 16th amendment and the Passage of the 1913 Revenue Act.

The top individual marginal income tax rate tended to increase over time through the early 1960s, with some additional bumps during war years. The top income tax rate reached above 90% from 1944 through 1963, peaking in 1944 when top taxpayers paid an income tax rate of 94% on their taxable income. 

Starting in 1964, a period of income tax rate decline began, ending in 1987. From 1987 to the present, the top income tax rate has been fluctuating in the 30% - 40% range. 

Note: For much of tax history, the top income tax rate is figured by adding a “surtax” rate to a basic rate.

A historical look at top marginal income tax rate

Year

Regular 

SURTAX

TOTAL TOP RATE

1913–1915

1%

6%

7%

1916

2%

13%

15%

1917

4%

63%

67%

1918–1921

8%

65%

73%

1922–1923

8%

50%

58%

1924

6%

40%

46%

1925–1931

5%

20%

25%

1932–1933

8%

55%

63%

1934–1935

4%

59%

63%

1936–1940

4%

75%

79%

1941

4%

77%

81%

1942–1943

6%

82%

88%

1944

3%

91%

94%

1945–1963

3%

88%

91%

1964

3%

74%

77%

1965–1981

70%

 

70%

1982–1986

50%

 

50%

1987

38.5%

 

38.5%

1988–90*

33%

 

33%

1991–1992

31%

 

31%

1993–2000

39.6%

 

39.6%

2001

39.1%

 

39.1%

2002

38.6%

 

38.6%

2003–2012

35%

 

35%

2013–2017

39.6%

 

39.6%

2018-2022

37%

 

37%

 

*During 1988–90, tax on top income could not be determined without using a worksheet, but 33% appears to have been the highest rate paid.

 

Source: Wolters Kluwer CCH® AnswerConnect, 2022
Permission for use granted.

Mark Luscombe
Principal Federal Tax Analyst
Mark Luscombe, a CPA and attorney, is the principal federal tax analyst for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. He is the current chair of the Important Developments Subcommittee of the Partnership Committee of the American Bar Association Tax Section and speaks on a wide range of tax topics. He authors monthly columns in Accounting Today and TAXES magazine. Prior to joining Wolters Kluwer, he was in private practice with several Chicago-area law firms where he specialized in taxation.
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