This is a good site for clarification:
[link to usa-the-republic.com
Eisner vs. Macomber 252 U.S. 189 pg 205 (1920) The Sixteenth Amendment must be construed in connection with the taxing clauses of the original Constitution and the effect attributed to them before the Amendment was adopted. In Pollock v. Farmers' Loan and Trust it was held that taxes upon rents and profits of real estate and upon returns from investments of personal property were in effect direct taxes upon the property from which the income arose, imposed by reason of ownership; and that Congress could not impose such taxes without apportioning them among the states according to population, as required by Art 1 Sect. 2 Cl. 3 and Sect. 9 Cl. 4 of the original Constitution.
Afterwards, and evidently in recognition of the limitations upon the taxing power of Congress thus determined, the Sixteenth Amendment was adopted: . . . As repeatedly held, this did not extend the taxing power to new subjects, but merely removed the necessity which might otherwise exist for an apportionment among the states of taxes laid on income. . . . it becomes essential to distinguish between what is and what is not "income', as the term is there used;
After examining dictionaries in common use we find little to add to the succinct definition adopted in two cases arising under the Corporation (Excise) Tax Act of 1909 (Stratton's Independence v. Howbert 231 US 399, 415; Doyle v. Mitchell Bros. Co. 247 US 179, 185)
"Income may be defined as the gain derived from capital, from labor, or from both combined", provided it be understood to include profit gained through a sale or conversion of capital assets, to which it was applied in the Doyle case pp. 183, 185.
"Derived -- from -- capital"; -- "the gain -- derived -- from -- capital," etc. Here we have the essential matter: not a gain accruing to capital, not a growth or increment of value in the investment; but a gain, a profit, something of exchangeable value proceeding from the property, severed from the capital however invested or employed, and coming in, being "derived," that is, received or drawn by the recipient (the Taxpayer) for his separate use, benefit and disposal; -- that is income derived from property. Nothing else answers the description.
That Congress has power to tax stockholders upon their property interests in the stock of corporations is beyond question; and that such interests might be valued in view of the condition of the company, including its accumulated and undivided profits, is equally clear. But this would be taxation of property because of ownership, and hence would require apportionment under the provisions of the Constitution, is settled beyond peradventure by previous decisions of this court.
Clearly, the definition of corporate income means a gain or profit received from an excise taxed activity. But does this same definition apply to individual income tax? To the Supreme Court again:
Merchants' Loan & Trust Co. v. Smietanka 255 U.S. 509 (1921) "It is obvious that these decisions in principle rule the case at bar if the word "income" has the same meaning in the Income Tax Act of 1913 that it had in the Corporation Excise Tax Act of 1909, and that it has the same scope of meaning was in effect decided in Southern Pacific Co. v. Lowe 247 U.S. 330, 335, where it was assumed for the purposes of decision that there was no difference in its meaning as used in the act of 1909 and in the Income Tax Act of 1913. There can be no doubt that the word must be given the same meaning and content in the Income Tax Acts of 1916 and 1917 that it had in the act of 1913.
When to this we add that in Eisner v. Macomber, supra, a case arising under the same Income Tax Act of 1916 which is here involved, the definition of "income" which was applied was adopted from Strattons' Independence v. Howbert, arising under the Corporation Excise Tax Act of 1909, with the addition that it should include "profit gained through sale or conversion of capital assets," there would seem to be no room to doubt that the word must be given the same meaning in all the Income Tax Acts of Congress that was given to it in the Corporation Excise Tax Act, and that what that meaning is has now become definitely settled by decisions of this Court."
The word "income" has the same meaning in ALL the income tax acts of Congress. That meaning has been declared to be corporate profits and gains and has been definitely settled by the Supreme Court. So, did you have income that is taxable? Did you have a gain or profit from a corporate activity? Remember that the income tax is an excise tax on the doing of business in a corporate capacity. That is the ONLY way that you can receive taxable income, as legally defined by the Supreme Court.
"Income" is legally defined as a corporate gain of profit in the Internal Revenue Code. **Nowhere is there any different definition.** (look for it!)
The definition of income used in the Corporate Excise Tax Act of 1909 is the same definition used in ALL the income tax statutes.
"Gross income" would then be the total income of a corporation, from all sources.
"Taxable income" would therefore be corporate gross income, minus allowable deductions. Also known as profit. If a corporation had no profit, then it had no taxable income. If you are an officer of a corporation, then you had individual income that is taxable.
Anytime the Internal Revenue Code mentions the word "income" it is talking about corporate income.
"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard
to any census or enumeration."
U. S. of A. CONSTITUTION
Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3: "Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the states which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers..."
Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4: "No capitation, or other direct tax, shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken."
Direct taxes must be apportioned among the states, not among the people. The 16th Amendment did not change this! As we learned, the income tax is an excise tax on corporate profit, and always has been, therefore it does not need to be apportioned. Before the 16th Amendment, an individual's income was NOT taxable, either with apportionment or without. Eliminating apportionment, among the states, would still require the tax to be imposed on the states, not on the people.
If people researched the original author of the 16th amendment and read the congressional notes leading up to the passage, they would realize that the amendment was NEVER intended to TAX the people directly on wages from merely, earning a living.
The wording of the amendment gives no indication to the un-trained eye that it is SPECIFIC to Capital Earnings of Corporations only!
So it really looks like this:
"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect In-Direct Excise taxes on [Corporate] Capital Incomes, from whatever source derived, *without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.*"
*The wording here only seems to apply to the People, that is the assumption which opens the door to confusion. And man are people comfused.... stop making the assumption!
Ratified or not the 16th Amendment was never meant to be applied to the people of the states, until the IRS changed critical sections and wordings of the tax regulations in 1954. More on that later.