Nobody explained taxes so well as Ned Flanders from the Simpsons. After Todd asked him “Daddy, what do taxes pay for?” he answered in that jovial tone, “Oh, why, everything! Policemen, trees, sunshine! And let’s not forget the folks who just don’t feel like working, God bless ’em!”

And how. But while taxes may be the least favorite part of most of our lives—sucking our paychecks dry each month for the betterment of society—few of us know their history. Although I normally like tax companies about as much as I do paying taxes, the folks at TurboTax made a nice info graphic that helps simplify the history of modern American taxes, going back to ol’ Aberaham Linkoln.

Of course, taxes go back much further than Lincoln, but he is credited with making the country’s first income tax, which helped pay for expenses from the Civil War.

Not everyone was happy about the tax, so in 1872 it was repealed. But just over 20 years later, it made a surprise return with the Wilson Tariff Act and a new income tax division in the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

But enough from me. Check out the graphic below and learn how your money goes:

Online Tax Preparation with TurboTax

About The Author

Joshua Philipp is the founder and editor of He's also an award-winning journalist at Epoch Times.

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