A Founding Father On Taxes

In honour of Father's Day and the traditions we enjoy because of it, this writing celebrates one of our founding fathers and his influence in the world today.

Alexander Hamilton - who by the way fathered eight children and is big news in pop culture right now. The hip-hop Broadway show about his life is credited with pushing the 70th Tony Awards television rating to the highest level in 15 years and with keeping Hamilton as the face of the $10 bill. Before this theatre success, Hamilton was best known as a Founding Father of the United States and America's first treasury secretary. Less known is that he introduced the idea of federal taxes:

"As to taxes, they are evidently inseparable from government. It is impossible without them to pay the debts of the nation, to protect it from foreign danger, or to secure individuals from lawless violence and rapine."

Looking back, I doubt Hamilton expected the taxes of those NEW United States to look anything like they do today, but today's tax laws would have benefited Hamilton and his wife, Eliza. First off, the Hamilton's would file a married filing joint tax return. This filing status provides the lowest tax rates and allows a higher income phase-out range for many tax credits and deduction. As for the children, each child would qualify for a $1,000 Child Tax Credit per year while under age 17. At one point, there were six children under the age of 17 for a total credit of $6,000. During the lean years, the Hamilton's would also qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which allowed a credit of up to $6,242 for a family with three or more children during 2015. While the boys attended college (women didn't attend college during these times!), the Hamilton's would also be eligible for the American Opportunity Credit of up to $2,500 per child. Finally, Eliza did a lot of charitable work throughout her life and both she and Alexander donated money to various charities on a regular basis. These contributions would be allowed as an itemized deduction on a tax return.

We are making many assumptions here for fun, but the point is - Alexander Hamilton, one of our Founding Fathers, believed in income taxes. After all, one of the popular rallying cries was "No Taxation Without Representation!" So let us wish Alexander Hamilton and all the Dads out there a Happy Father's Day and get back to the job at hand - explaining to the family how to grill my Father's Day meal.