Emergency Internal Revenue Tax Act

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The Emergency Internal Revenue Tax Act of 1914 was a United States temporary tax in response to President Wilson calling for $100 million in additional Federal revenue in the event of war. The taxes instituted under this Act were initially set to expire on December 31, 1915; however, on December 17, 1915, Congress passed a joint resolution that continued the taxes through December 31, 1916.


The act taxed legacies and inherited personal property on a graduated scale according to the size of the estate and the degree of relationship to the deceased (surviving husbands and wives received a general exemption). A maximum rate of 15% applied to bequests from estates valued over $1 million to distant relatives, non-relatives, or "bodies politic or corporate." The act also included an excise on receipts in excess of $200,000 assessed to firms in the petroleum and sugar refining industries. It raised stamp rates, and it placed a .01 cent tax on every telephone call costing more than .15 cents, making it the 1st telephone tax in U.S. history.