Not many things are defined in our unpredictable lives, but taxes sure are. It’s safe to say that taxes make the world go round and sometimes give us a laugh while it’s at it. You would think taxation is a serious matter and, therefore, only for ‘serious’ things, but there are tons of taxes that are outright weird. Here is a list of the weirdest taxes in America and around the world. Watch out for number 5!
1. Alabama’s Playing Card tax
The state of Alabama is known for its casinos, and this is probably the reason behind their playing card state. Alabama issues a 10 cent playing card tax for decks of cards purchased within their state.
Paying card tax may not sound like a big deal until you go to Nevada, where the state issues free cards every time you file a tax return! We’ll, each one to his own as they say.
2. Candy tax in Chicago
The state of Chicago takes candy to a whole new level. You would think that candy is candy, but these folks go a lot deeper. The regular tax applies to candies prepared with flour, including ice cream and chocolates are because they are “food,” However, sweets that do not contain flour-like lollipops are categorized as “candy” and are taxed an additional 5.25% rate. The same rule applies to different beverages- depending on the content of milk, so or fruit juice, the taxation differs.
3. Google Tax in France
Online advertisements that appear on Facebook, Google and Digg are taxable in France. It’s safe to say that France has a vendetta against Google and this is quite true. France blames Google for ‘depriving’ it of its cultural heritage by scanning French art for use on digital libraries. According to a recent iteration, France claims that Google owes the country 1.35 billion in back taxes!
4. Hot Air Balloon tax in Kansas
Weird doesn’t even begin to describe this tax rule. The Kansas tax law states that any place that amuses should be taxed; however, airlines and other airport users are not to be taxed. So the question is: should hot air balloons be taxed or not?
Here is the solution they came up with: a tethered balloon is subject to tax (the amusement tax), but if it goes into the air, then it is exempted! So the next time you want to take a tax-free ride, make sure the balloon gets off the ground! Did you find it the weirdest taxes? Let’s try the next one.
5. Cow Flatulence Tax in Denmark and Ireland
Now before you start laughing your heart out, listen to the reasoning behind this stinking tax. Cow flatulence is considered one of the causes of global warming because of its high level of methane. The slow digestion of greens causes methane to build up in the stomach, and when this is released, it affects air quality. On top of this, slaughterhouses that house a lot of cows can create ‘methane clouds’ or aka ‘fart clouds’ that harm the environment.
So the solution to this was easy-taxation. Many farmers in EU nations, including Denmark and Ireland, now have to pay $110 per cow in tax. I don’t know about you, but I’m having second thoughts of whether to release the bomb or not right now. Did you find it top 1 of the weirdest taxes?
6. Tax agency approval for Baby Names
In many countries, the tax agency is one of the ‘hated’ government agencies by the people but not in Sweden. The folks in Sweden love their tax agency so much; they get their child’s name approved before the child turns five. Parents who fail to do so are taxed up to $770! But what in the world does a tax agency have to do with baby names?
The law started in 1982 and was in place to prevent citizens from using royal names. Since then, the agency protects a child from getting an offensive name. For example, you cannot name your child Allah or Ikea, which both have offensive or confusing connotations. If you think parents are outraged by such procedure, think again: the Swedish Tax agency had an 83% approval rating in 2013.
7. Tax deduction on bribes in Germany
Let’s start by saying that this was only up until 2002 when bribery became illegal. Before that, bribes were legal and even tax-deductible! However, to avail of the bribery tax deduction, some stipulations had to be met. For example, both the briber and the recipient should have no criminal record, or else the deduction was not applicable.
Thankfully, in 1999, Germany successfully ended tax deductions for bribery and joined the rest of the world in viewing bribes as illegal.
8. Beard tax in Russia
This is another tax we are glad has been taken care of but has a great story behind it. In the 1700s, Peter the Great was one of the most famous czars of Russia. Despite his barbaric nature that included killing his son and exiling his half-sister, he is credited with modernizing Russia.
At a time when most Russians had beards, Peter the Great went on a quest to ‘modernize’ men by promoting a clean-shaven look. How? Beard tax. Anyone who wanted to wear a beard had to pay tax and carry around a token that showed they had paid the tax.
By the end of the reign of Peter the Great, men in Russia were clean-shaven like the rest of the modern world.
9. Jock tax in California
The State of California discovered a genius way to get funds from jocks, performers, and other entertainers with what is called “jock tax.” Jock tax started in 1991 after Chicago Bulls defeated the LA Lakers in the NBA finals. The next time Michael Jordan played in LA, the money he made was subject to California Income Tax. Since then, almost half of the States in America have implemented Jock Tax.
10. Window tax
The window tax of 1696 was a genius way of imposing a tax on the wealthy community in a ‘discreet’ manner. England, Scotland, and Great Britain imposed this tax on houses that had more than two windows (in short, more affluent homes). The state probably figured that since more affluent people live in more beautiful homes with more windows, taxing the number of windows was an easy way of getting more tax from the rich.
So there you have it, ten of the weirdest taxes both past and present in the world. Although nobody enjoys paying taxes, it is necessary and unavoidable. So the next time you fill up your income tax, be thankful you don’t have to pay additional tax for candies or cow fart. Find out the top 5 countries with the highest income tax rates around the world.
Which of the top 1o the weirdest taxes do you find funny? Do you know of other weird taxes, not on the list? Let us know in the comment below.