So this issue has talked a lot about taxes, a topic most folks don’t much care for. But there has to be a good side to them- hasn’t there? Probably not, but maybe there’s a humorous side or at the very least a head-shaking side. I scoured the web for tidbits of the bazaar and wacky world of taxation. I can’t guarantee that all these are still in effect, but I can guarantee you that if one isn’t, somewhere, somehow, someone or some government has dreamed up one just as odd to fix a perceived wrong or just to collect a little more revenue.
Tax Laws- Beauties from the past, the present, and from around the world:
Beard Tax: Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, in 1705 began levying taxes on men who wore beards. Why you might ask? He wanted to encourage the men of the country to get in line with “the clean-shaven citizens of modernized Western Europe.”
Illegal drug taxation- IRS – “…illegal income, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income…” I bet that happens a lot.
Nobel Prizes are taxed. Maybe it’s fair- but something seems a little odd about taxing the recognition of the contributions of the best and brightest we have for their contributions.
Chicago- Soda Fountain Tax- 9% on drinks served at fountain (or on the syrup) but only 3% if from a bottle or can. Apparently it’s true. The source does matter.
Bribery write off, Germany- companies can write off bribery on tax returns. Trouble is, they have to list the recipient on the return. Yeah, right.
Witchcraft deduction, Netherlands- for witchcraft education only
North Carolina: I saved this for last- Unauthorized Substances Tax- applies to illegal drugs and alcohol. To be paid by the person possessing it. Payer doesn’t have to give name to get stamps to apply to the substance. And the Revenue Department can’t turn them in. The good part- if the taxed individual gives or sells the substance to someone else, that person doesn’t have to pay the tax again.
1. New York: bagels. If “prepared” in a deli/restaurant (cut and/or cream cheese added), taxable as prepared food (8-9 cents/bagel)- not cut/no additions- but still eat in deli- taxable.
2. Kansas: hot air balloon rides- tethered riders are amusement/entertainment- so sales tax applies
3. Colorado: essential vs. non-essential food packaging. At an eatery or convenience store: cups are essential so not taxed. Lids aren’t essential, so taxed. How does this fit with suing McDonalds for overly hot coffee spilled while driving?
Tax quotes: I have no doubt you’ll agree with these words of wisdom, and if you don’t, re-read them on April 16.
a. " We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle."
b. "There is no such thing as a good tax."
"The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax."
John Maynard Keynes
"The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that carries any reward."
a. "Alexander Hamilton started the U.S. Treasury with nothing and that was the closest our country has ever been to being even."
b. "It is a good thing that we do not get as much government as we pay for."
c. "The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."
"Isn't it appropriate that the month of the tax begins with April Fool's Day and ends with cries of 'May Day!'?"
"There's nothing wrong with the younger generation that becoming taxpayers won't cure."
"The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin."
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