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Sunday, August 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: ‘Figure sharks’ give advice on the seemingly always baffling federal income tax

The federal income tax was apparently just as baffling in 1919 as it is today, reported the Spokane Daily Chronicle on April 18, 1919. (The Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
The federal income tax was apparently just as baffling in 1919 as it is today, reported the Spokane Daily Chronicle on April 18, 1919. (The Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

The federal income tax was apparently just as baffling in 1919 as it is today.

The Spokane Daily Chronicle sat in on the federal income tax advisers’ office in the federal building and wrote a comic account of the proceedings.

Two federal “figure sharks” dispensed advice to various business people, including one who came in with his bookkeeper, who “don’t know much about this income tax business.”

Another came in and asked what “inadmissible assets” were.

One of the “figure sharks” said it was income that was not subject to income tax.

“How’s that?” the businessman asked.

“You must establish the average sum of such inadmissibles held throughout the year and the average of admissible assets likewise, add the sum of the average inadmissibles to the sum of the average admissibles and determine …”

“Say, hold up there,” the businessman said. “Go easy.”

The adviser embarked on a further “wild orgy of enlightenment.” The businessman’s eyes were “glassy” as he headed out the door.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1934: The first laundromat (called a “washateria”) opened in Fort Worth, Texas.

1983: Sixty-three people, including 17 Americans, were killed at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, by a suicide bomber.

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