Friday, February 29, 2008

A History of the Tax Exempt Sector

The 2008 Winter Statistics of Income Bulletin contains an interesting article entitled, "A History of the Tax Exempt Sector:  An SOI Perspective."  Here is an excerpt:

The origins of the tax-exempt sector in the United States predate the formation of the republic. Absent an established Governmental framework, the early settlers formed charitable and other “voluntary” associations, such as hospitals, fire departments, and orphanages, to confront a wide variety of issues and ills of the era. These types of voluntary organizations have continued to thrive in the United States for centuries. In 1831, during his historic visit to the United States, Alexis de Tocqueville observed:

"Americans of all ages, conditions, and dispositions constantly unite together. Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations to which all belong but also a thousand other kinds, religious, moral, serious, futile…Americans group together to hold fetes, found seminaries, build inns, construct churches, distribute books…They establish prisons, schools by the same method…I have frequently admired the endless skill with which the inhabitants of the United States manage to set a common aim to the efforts of a great number of men and to persuade them to pursue it voluntarily."


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