The Original 1040 Form

The Tax Foundation provides this historical Internal Revenue Service document, which stands out for at least two reasons: (1) it’s only four pages long and (2) it allows filers to calculate tax liabilities on their own.

For additional information on tax simplification, see this earlier post. And if you’ve ever wanted to know the origin of the term “red tape” — something that I learned today — click here.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business,
Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. Freedebate says:

    Reminds me of the current Hong Kong income tax forms – very short and easy to complete with a fairly flat tax and high deductible.

    The tax system has so few deductions/credits, etc that the tax authority sends a bill to you twice a year based on reported income from your employer and you can either pay that amount or dispute what the employer filed. And, disputing or conversing with the tax authority is actually pretty easy.

    Here is a story anyone who has dealt with the IRS may find hard to believe: I moved and forgot to notify the tax authority and did not receive the payment notification. I didn’t think about it until after the 20-30 day grace period and was due a slight extra payment. I called the tax authority and explained the situation and provided proof of new address by dropping by their office and they waved the fine… simple, fast, no months of mail exchanges, etc.