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What is the 16th Amendment?


To understand "What is the 16th Amendment" we must first understand what the Constitution of the United States of America is.

The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law of the United States. It is the foundation and source of the legal authority underlying the existence of the United States of America and the federal government of the United States. It provides the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government to the states, to citizens, and to all people within the United States.

The Constitution defines the three main branches of government: a legislature, the bicameral Congress; an executive branch led by the President; and a judicial branch headed by the Supreme Court. The Constitution specifies the powers and duties of each branch. The Constitution reserves all unenumerated powers for the respective states and the people, thereby establishing the federal system of government.

The United States Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and ratified by conventions in each U.S. state in the name of "The People". The Constitution has been amended twenty-seven times; the first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights.

The United States Constitution is the shortest and oldest written constitution still in use by any nation in the world today. The Constitution has a central place in United States law and political culture. The handwritten original document penned by Jacob Shallus is on display at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.


United States Constitution
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About the 16th Amendment

What is a Constitutional Amendment?

A constitutional amendment is a change to the constitution of a nation or a state. In jurisdictions with "rigid" or "entrenched" constitutions, amendments require a special procedure different from that used for enacting ordinary laws. An amendment to the US Constitution must be ratified by 3/4 of the state legislatures, or of constitutional conventions specially elected in each of the states, before it can come into effect.

What is the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution?

The 16th Amendment states: 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.

Which simply means: The 16th Amendment authorized individual taxation of Americans, which we know as the income tax. It became a law that gave congress the right to collect taxes on income, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration. The more income the higher the tax. The less income the lower the tax.

What the Constitution says about taxes:

The Founders who designed our Constitution sought to balance the power of the federal government against the states in order to keep both in check. The national government was thus originally prohibited from collecting taxes from individuals. Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution states: "No capitation, or other direct Tax, shall be laid unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration." This meant that the federal government could collect revenue from the states according to population, but had to leave the methods of collection to them. The federal government was to collect revenue in other, less intrusive ways (tariffs, excise taxes, consumption taxes) so as to limit the amount of money it could raise by its own authority.

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