Menu Close

What does the 16th amendment actually do?

What does the 16th amendment actually do?

You are here:
← All Topics

The 16th Amendment true intent and words.
This is the part of the 16th amendment everyone sees and refers to:

The Congress shall have 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.

What was left out are the words and intent of Taft that makes what the IRS is doing illegal and unconstitutional. It was the intent of President Taft to Tax D.C. (National Government). He states in the minutes of the Congressional Record pages 3344 and 3345:

I therefore recommend to the Congress that both Houses, by a two-thirds vote, shall propose an amendment to the Constitution conferring the power to levy an income tax upon the National Government without apportionment among the States in proportion to population.

The National Government is D.C. and its territories, not the 50 States of the Union. Taft went on to say:

This course is much to be preferred to the one proposed of reenacting a law once judicially declared to be unconstitutional.  For the Congress to assume that the court will reverse itself, and to enact legislation on such an assumption, will not strengthen popular confidence in the stability of judicial construction of the Constitution.  It is much wiser policy to accept the decision and remedy the defect by amendment in due and regular course.

The law Taft is referring to is that of Pollock vs Farmers Loan and Trust (1895) where the Supreme Court found: a direct tax on the incomes of American citizens unconstitutional.

Pollock vs Farmers Loan and Trust Company still stands today.

Taft also said:

Again, it is clear that by the enactment of the proposed law the Congress will not be bringing money into the Treasury to meet the present deficiency, but by putting on the statute book a law already there and never repealed will simply be suggesting to the executive officers of the Government their possible duty to invoke litigation.

They have never invoked litigation. This is more than likely because most people assume the one statement in the 16th Amendment is pertaining to everyone and pay without questioning.

If the court should maintain its former view, no tax would be collected at all.  If it should ultimately reverse itself, still no taxes would have been collected until after protracted delay.

So based on the words of Taft and the 16th amendment he is taxing the National Government, because taxation on American Nationals without apportionment is unconstitutional, and suggest that if the Supreme court overturns its ruling then tax could be imposed with proper litigation. 

Read the 13th Amendment here.