History quiz: What government bureau has been re-organized numerous times, had criticism and allegations of abuse heaped upon it, receives a budget of billions, underwent a name change—and is still going strong?
No, not that one. We’re talking about the Internal Revenue Service. Here’s a time line of the bureau’s evolution.
1862 – Congress creates the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to administer tax collection. The first commissioner has three clerks.
1863 – Less than a year later, the BIR has almost 4,000 employees, called revenue collectors or property assessors.
1890s – Among the BIR’s duties: A “Revenue Laboratory” for inspecting and analyzing foods and drugs made and sold in the DC area.
1913-1952 – A new amendment to the Constitution of the United States – the 16th – marks the introduction of the individual income tax. The BIR has trouble keeping up with information from millions of new taxpayers, leading to tax fraud and evasion. The bureau is run by political appointees.
1952-1954 – The BIR goes through what’s called Reorganization Plan 1, which ends the patronage system and creates a new name: The Internal Revenue Service. The filing date for personal income taxes moves from March 15 to April 15.
1960s-1990s – Computers, toll-free telephone help lines and the idea of taxpayer assistance take root.
1998 – As a result of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act, the IRS is modernized and undergoes another reorganization.
2010 – According to the National Treasury Employees Union, the IRS has more than 90,000 workers and a proposed budget of $12.6 billion in fiscal 2011.