Tax Day: Why Americans pay Uncle Sam

By Don Rajael, CCNN Writer

Boston Tea Party
The Boston Tea Party triggered a series of events that led to the American Revolutionary War.

Tax Day takes place on April 18 in the USA this year, as individuals report their earnings to the government via income tax returns, in order to make sure everyone’s getting their fair share. Our government takes a chunk of change from people and businesses in the form of taxes to fund infrastructure, which are the basic facilities and organizations that perform functions ranging from building roads to employing a police force.

While there’s often disagreement on how much money the government should collect in the form of taxes, most folks acknowledge that there should be some taxation to keep basic public necessities like clean water, education, and health services working.

Back in the 1760s, the American colonies under British rule didn’t like that the Parliament of Great Britain was taxing them from across the sea. When the Stamp Act of 1765 tried forcing Americans to purchase tax stamps for common items ranging from newspapers to playing cards, the colonies boycotted, which means they refused to follow the rules. The protest against the Stamp Act argued “No Taxation without Representation”, meaning people thought it was unfair for them to give money to government officials they didn’t elect. The British Parliament was unhappy about the colonies resisting them, and they passed more tax laws on basic items, like the Sugar Act of 1764 and the Tea Act of 1773.

In one of the most famous acts of resistance against taxation, Americans dumped chests of tea into Boston Harbor in an event known as the Boston Tea Party. This defiance eventually led to the American Revolutionary War in 1775, which involved the 13 North American colonies forming the United States of America and issuing a Declaration of Independence from British rule on July 4, 1776 (which is why we celebrate Independence Day on that day). American and British forces fought for almost 8 years, until the USA won its independence in 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Now, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collects taxes for the federal government, which brings in $2.4 trillion each year from around 234 million tax returns.

Featured image courtesy of Chris Potter on Flickr.