It doesn’t take much for most of us to remember the deadline for filing our taxes, here in the U.S., is upon us and to remember that we had a reprieve this year.  April 15, was Sunday and April 16 was designated as Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia. Today is it.

Since we are reminded of Tax Day a million ways every year, including anticipating a rise on January 1, 2013, after this year’s General Election. We can also remember, or learn,  that federal income tax records are often a very useful resource for family historians and genealogists.

During the 1950s and earlier the tax deadline was March 15. There’s another difference today: Tax laws state that information is kept private and that wasn’t always the case.

The first income tax was set in place by Congress in 1862 to fund the Civil War and everyone received an exemption of the first $600 of their income. Those who earned over $600 paid a 3% rate up to $10,000, with a higher rate of 5% for over $10,000. The rates were changed as the war progressed and the records were open to the public.

Although we are reminded that this year the threatened closure of the Socially Security Death Records, a valuable resource for family historians and genealogist, most of us have learned by now (I’ve written about this several times—it’s worth repeating over and over) that the solution is not to cut off our research resource, but to require its use by the folks issuing identification documents such as credit cards, etc.

Click on the link Lebanon DailyNews to find more interesting details and links in an article written by James M Beidler, a freelance writer and lecturer on genealogy who is a regular columnist at the paper.

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