U.S. Constitution: ‘Congress Shall Have Power to Lay and Collect Taxes’ and ‘to Lay and Collect Taxes on Incomes’

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(Photo by Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images)

Three provisions in the Constitution talk about the taxing power and how it is vested in the legislative branch of the federal government.

As originally ratified, Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution required that “direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers.”

Additionally, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 said: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.”

In 1909, Congress passed the 16th Amendment. In 1913, it was ratified by the states. This amendment authorized Congress to directly tax incomes without apportioning that tax among the states–as had been required by Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3.

It said: “The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

Here are the full texts of Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3; Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1; and the 16th Amendment:

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.”

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1: “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.”

16th Amendment: “The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

 



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