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In 1918, during World War I, the top rate of the income tax rose to 77 percent to help finance the war effort. It dropped sharply in the post-war years, down to 24 percent in 1929, and rose again during the Depression.
In fact, as a single filer earning $100,000 in taxable income, she’ll owe $21,720 in taxes for 2009, which means her effective tax rate will be 21.72% — not 28%.