My friend Ken the maven of Chapter 13 bankruptcies brings it back to mind:
I recall hearing it described as one of the most important tax reforms of its time. And memory tells me it was cooked up by a guy in sleeve garters behind a Steelcase desk. Hope he has some more good ideas.
In mid-April of 1987, our government’s records showed that more than 7,000,000 children mysteriously vanished from the United States. There was no disease or plague, no terrorist strike and children were not simply running away from their homes in huge numbers. No, this was because in 1987, the IRS began requiring that all dependents claimed on annual income tax returns had to have their own Social Security Numbers. Over the years, many tax payers had been claiming dependent deductions for children that did not actually exist; this new requirement on the 1040 forms in 1987 meant that these ‘phantom’ children simply vanished.