SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The 2023 tax season is nearly over — less than a week away with the deadline to file this year landing on April 18.
While many Utahns are still compiling their paperwork ahead of the big deadline, we take a nostalgic look back over the last century as the IRS systems have evolved and the taxpayer’s process has changed.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was first established in 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln signed a measure into law that would raise revenue to help pay for the American Civil War.
Since then, citizens around the United States have looked to spring for tax season.
For many in the early 1900s, there were plenty of questions about taxes and how they should be done.
“After they started having to put the social security numbers down, I had a friend call me up and say ‘Gail, what do I do? I’ve been claiming my dog. Will it raise a red flag if I omit him now?'” said Gail Anger, a Certified Public Account.
Though, tax season wasn’t always as “taxing” as it is today. During the 1930s, records show that state tax cost some Utah residents only $3 per year.
By the 1960s, the IRS was ahead of its time — using advanced computer systems to record information and check for inaccuracies. At the time, these systems were noted for their space-age appearance and numerous flashing lights as the technology made its calculations.
And for decades, taxpayers would dash to their local post offices to submit their forms, with many gathered by midnight on the deadline date. However, things have become much easier for taxpayers as they were allowed to file their returns electronically by 1992.
Now, with Tax Day looming for Americans across the country and here in Utah, taxpayers can look back to a simpler time and recognize how far we’ve come during tax season.