Define: Income Tax

UK Accounting Glossary

Definition: Income Tax



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Full Definition of Income Tax


Income tax is tax levied against personal income or a business entity’s net profits.

In the United States, the Federal government, most of the 50 states, and some municipalities, such as New York City, levy income tax on individuals. The US federal government first levied an income tax in 1861, to pay for the American Civil War. The US income tax system has become notoriously complex over the years, and the top income tax rate has varied by an extraordinary amount. In the twentieth century, the income tax rate stood at 1% in 1913, rose to 77% during World War I, was lowered to 25% afterwards, then raised again during the Great Depression and World War II, at which point the top income tax rate reached a high of 91%. Income tax in the US is considered a progressive tax, meaning that higher earners pay at a higher rate than lower earners.


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Definition Sources


Definitions for Income Tax are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • BusinessDictionary.com
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 9th February 2020.