Taxes are something we all have to deal with, especially once you start to work. However, did you know that there have been some truly weird and wonderful taxes throughout history, and that there are even some odd taxes in existence today?
Here are just five of the strangest taxes we’ve managed to come up with:
In Chicago, Illinois, sweet foods that are prepared with flour, such as chocolate bars and ice cream, can be considered as a food and are charged a tax rate of just 1%. Sweets (called ‘candy’ in the USA) prepared without flour though are considered to be candy, and will therefore be charged at a higher tax rate of 6.25%.
The tax hike was implemented in 2009 in an attempt to tackle obesity. It isn’t the only city to do implement a candy tax either; other cities in Illinois and Massachusetts have done so too.
2. A tax on playing cards
If you want to gamble, Alabama in the USA certainly isn’t the place to go. In the state, you’ll be taxed an extra 10 cents for a pack of playing cards containing up to 54 cards. The number of retailers stocking them has decreased by a large amount as well, since the state has also introduced a $3 license tax and a $1 fee for selling them.
3. A tax on cow flatulence
It’s not exactly like it’s something farmers can control, but in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, many countries have started to implement a tax on them. Ireland, Denmark and other EU countries have started to tax farmers, as the methane produced by cows accounts for up to 6% of the annual amount.
4. A tax on windows
During the 18th and 19th centuries, a property tax was introduced in England, Scotland, Spain and France. It was designed to tax the rich without actually coming out and saying so, as those with houses that had windows were taxed a higher amount. This is where the saying ‘daylight robbery’ comes from!
5. A tax on beards
In Russia during the 1600s, beards were considered unfashionable and unwanted. If you insisted on having a beard, the Russian Tsar Peter the Great made you pay a tax of 100 rubles (around £2.15). In return, you were given a coin that you could present to any other taxmen henceforth.
While there are certainly still some questionable taxes in the world, most of the weirder ones have been rooted out. Taxes are much easier to understand nowadays, although if you do need help understanding them you can always contact a specialist.
This article was written by Aurora Johnson on behalf of Nixon Williams, a contractor accountant in the UK. You can visit nixonwilliams.com to find out more now.