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Faculty Publications

Sixteenth Amendment

2014

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Did The Sixteenth Amendment Ever Matter? Does It Matter Today?, Erik M. Jensen Jan 2014

Did The Sixteenth Amendment Ever Matter? Does It Matter Today?, Erik M. Jensen

Faculty Publications

This article, prepared for a symposium on the centennial of the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, argues that the Amendment was legally and politically necessary in 1913, if there was going to be a modern income tax, and that it remains significant today. The Amendment provides that “taxes on incomes” need not be apportioned among the states on the basis of population, as would otherwise be required for direct taxes. An apportioned income tax would be an absurdity, and, if there were no Amendment, Congress could not enact an unapportioned tax on income from property, the sort of tax that ...