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Former IRS Commissioner Wanted Income Tax Abolished
"....We're confiscating property now....That's socialism. It's written into the Communist Manifesto. Maybe we ought to see that every person who gets a tax return receives a copy of the Communist Manifesto with it so he can see what's happening to him."   ---T. Coleman Andrews, IRS Commissioner, May 25, 1956

Posted: March 26, 2003

House of Representatives
41st Congress - 1871
3d Session
Misc. Doc. No 51


Letter from the
Commissioner of Internal Revenue

Addressed to

Hon. Samuel Hooper, Chairman Committee of Ways and Means.

Relative to the Income Tax

January 26, 1871 - Referred to the Committee of Ways and Means and ordered to be printed.

January 20, 1871.

SIR: In view of the very general discussion by the public at large of the income tax, and of the introduction in Congress of several measures looking to its repeal, and presuming that the formal consideration of the subject may shortly arise in your honorable committee, I deem it not improper briefly to express to the committee, through you, the conclusions which I have myself reached.

I regard the tax as the one of all others most obnoxious to the genius of our people, being inquisitorial in its nature, and dragging into public view an exposition of the most private pecuniary affairs of the citizen.

Such an unwilling exposition can only be compulsorily effected through a maintenance of the most expensive machinery; and both the nature of the tax and the means necessarily employed for its enforcement appear to be regarded by the better class of citizens with more and more disfavor from year to year.

It is furthermore most difficult of exact statement, especially in large business ramifications and where long periods of time are involved in extended commercial affairs.

There is some question as to its constitutionality, but as to that I express no opinion.

The amount derived from that source has, under the legislation already had, been greatly diminished; and I am so well satisfied that the evils more than counterbalance the benefits derived from its longer retention, that I recommend its unconditional repeal.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                                                                    A. Pleasonton, Commissioner

                                                                                    Hon. Samuel Hooper, Chairman
                                                                                    Committee of Ways and Means


California/New York Wanted Income Tax Abolished


Resolution of the Legislature of California
41st Congress, 2d Session
Misc. Doc. No. 104
Obtained at the State Archives

Resolution of the

Legislature of California

in Favor of

The abolition of the income tax.

April 1, 1870 - Ordered to lie on the table and be printed

STATE OF CALIFORNIA, Department of State, I H.L. Nichols, secretary of the State of California, do hereby certify that the annexed is a true, fill, and correct copy of senate concurrent resolution No 39, passed at the 18th session of the legislature of said State, now on file in my office.

Witness my hand and the great seal of State, at office, in Sacramento, California, the 22d day of March, A.D. 1870.

(Seal)                                                                                            H.L. Nichols
                                                                                                     Secretary of State.
                                                                                                     By Lew B. Harris, Deputy


Concurrent Resolution.

Resolved by the senate, (the assembly concurring), That our senators in Congress be instructed, and our representatives requested, to use their influence to procure, if possible, the abolition of the income tax.

Resolved, That his excellency the governor of this State be requested to forward a copy of this resolution to each of our senators and representatives in Congress.

                                                                                    E.J. Lewis
                                                                                    President of the Senate pro tem.

                                                                                    Geo. H. Rogers,
                                                                                    Speaker of the Assembly.

Approved March 18, 1870:                                         H.H. Haight

Endorsed: Senate concurrent resolution No 39, adopted by the senate March 9, A.D. 1870

                                                                                    JOS. Roberts, Jr.
                                                                                   Secretary of the Senate.

Concurred in by the assembly, March 14, A.D. 1870,

                                                                                    Josh Moffitt
                                                                                    Ass't Clerk of the Assembly

** *

House of Representatives
42d Congress, 1st Session
Misc. Doc. No 4


The Legislature of New York,

Relative to

The repeal of the income tax.

March 13, 1871 - Referred to the Committee of Ways and Means and ordered to be printed.

State of New York

IN SENATE, Albany, February 28, 1871.

Resolved, (if the assembly concur,) That the Senators and Representatives in Congress from this State be respectfully requested to use every exertion, before the adjournment of the present Congress, to repeal the income tax.

Resolved, (if the assembly concur,) That a copy of this resolution be transmitted to our Representatives in Congress.

By order:

                                                                            Hiram Calkins, Clerk

IN ASSEMBLY, February 28, 1871.
The foregoing resolutions were duly concurred in.

By order:                                                             C.W. Armstrong, Clerk

* **

Source: These three documents were obtained at the State Library, Sacramento, CA., by Devvy Kidd.

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