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Taxes Written On Diary
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Michael Zwahlen / EyeEm—Getty Images/EyeEm

It’s tax season again, which has a lot of us wondering: Who came up with this crap?

As it turns out, one of our most respected presidents, Abraham Lincoln, instituted federal income taxes to help pay for the Civil War.

But Honest Abe didn’t come up with the idea. The oldest records of taxes go back to 6000 B.C. in what is now Iraq. The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Chinese all had their own versions of taxes, too.

The English used rules established by Roman emperor Caesar Augustus for personal and inheritance taxes. Oddly enough, Italy today has one of the lowest rates of income tax compliance.

So when you’re sending the check to Uncle Sam this year, you can choose who you want to blame: Honest Abe or ancient Mesopotamians.