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Tax Legislation

Major Enacted Tax Legislation 1940 - 2009

  • Legislation-12-11-2013Congress has passed at least one tax bill each year since 2001 and an average of one tax bill each year since 1940.
  • Those bills lowered the top individual income tax rate from 91 percent in 1962 to 70 percent in 1980 and to 39.6 percent today.
  • The top corporate income tax rate was 46 percent in 1980. Today, it is 35 percent.
  • The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (ERTA) indexed some parameters of the individual income tax for inflation (effective in 1985), reducing "bracket creep" where inflation pushed taxpayers into ever-higher tax brackets.
  • The Tax Reform Act of 1986 reduced the number of tax brackets from 11 to two. Tax acts in 1990, 1993, 2001, and 2012 added five more brackets.
  • Tax acts since 1986 have created the child tax credit; increased the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the dependent care credit; and added tax incentives for retirement savings, education, and health insurance.

JCT Descriptions of Federal Taxes