The fact we’re taxed isn’t great, we can’t find anybody that takes pleasure from having to give the government money when those in charge of the country seem not too bothered about it all. To put a bit of a smile on our faces, we’ve had a look at the tax laws from all over the globe and picked out some of the funny and most bizarre rules.
By the time you finished reading you might actually find that your annoyance about taxes has increased, so, for that we’re sorry.
Let’s take a look at how the Americans deal with their tax laws for starters, mind you that each state has its own idea of what’s to be taxed and what isn’t.
New York Pensioners
In New York, getting old doesn’t necessarily mean you’re resigned to a life stuck in doors or at the bingo. The state feels that for those that reach the milestone age of 100 years that specific individual has paid enough taxes. Rather than just receiving a letter from Queen Elizabeth II, New Yorker pensioners are ‘rewarded’ with a tax exemption. After spending about 80 years of your life paying taxes that’s what you want when you’re 100 years old. However, what a kick in the teeth if you die aged 99!
UK Peak Income Tax
Back home, taxes have seen some good and very bad days. The highest rate of income tax during the Second World War peak at 99.25%. During the year after the Battle of Waterloo a huge thundering applause was created upon hearing that income taxes would be repealed. Parliament at the time made the decision to destroy all documents related to the income tax laws, collecting them all and cutting them into small pieces. What a great parliament! Wait, that’s never been said before. Maybe because the people didn’t know that copies were made of those documents and sent to the King’s Remembrance. Cheeky buggers
Beware: Hipsters Not Welcome!
A nice rugged beard is all the craze lately, but if you took Eurovision 2014 winner Conchita Wurst and put him in Russia, 1705 he’d be taxed on his beard. Although that wouldn’t be his only problem! Russian Emperor Peter the Great wanted his people to adopt the clean shaven look that was very common in Western Europe so much so he decided to place a tax on sporting facial hair. This is the same man that taxed DRINKING WATER & BEEHIVES
Back to New York and we have a look at their famous bagels. The state has a tax on all prepared foods. This means, a bagel that has been sliced does have a tax added to it, however, oddly enough a bagel that remains intact doesn’t.
Not exactly a ‘funny’ tax legislation from the Canadians, but more racist. In 1885 all immigrants from China coming into Canada were taxed. But, it’s okay because in 1923 the law was changed. Not for the better, though. Instead all Chinese people were banned from entering the country, only for a few exceptions. Good job Canada!
When In Rome…
Ancient Rome placed a tax on those slaves that bought their own freedom. As some slaves worked in many jobs they had the opportunity to collect enough money to pay for their own freedom. The slave owners rarely took it upon themselves to free the slaves after they had worked for a certain number of years. With that, the government allowed the slaves the chance to buy their freedom not without leaving them poor by taxing them. The lord giveth..
Going back over to America, Tennessee this time and we take a look at the state’s illegal drugs tax process. In this delightful part of the US those in possession of illegal drugs “you have 48 hours to report to the Department of Revenue and pay your tax”. As you could imagine, not many people have voluntarily gone over to the offices and paid taxes on their drugs. Similarly, in North Carolina only 79 people have gone in all on their own since 1990 and 72,000 have been taxed on their illegal drugs after being arrested.
Sweden is strict on parents and the names that they give to their new born children. The Tax Authority had the power to make decisions on whether the names given were appropriate or not. You wouldn’t expect any parent being judged by officials on the names given to their offspring to take this lightly and there have been some efforts in naming their children in humorous protest. In 1991 a baby boy was given the lovely name “Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116â€³ and another couple in 2007 had to fight hard to be allowed to name their daughter “Metallica”. Only recently have the Swedish Tax Authority relaxed their rules on naming children.
Not So Happy
Pharrell Williams would not have liked living in Britain in 1874, where a tax was placed on hats. Yes, hats. The tax mostly fell upon the retailers. This tax was an added method from the government to tax people based on their overall wealth rather than the yearly income. Initially the tax was paid without any major issues, although, there were some groups who were angered about being taxed based on their fashion choices. This lead to many people attempting to dodge the tax by explaining that their d=headwear wasn’t a hat at all. The confusion led to the government to produce a legal definition of a hat.
Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti was successful in his push to introduce a 25% tax on all hard-core pornography in Italy. Italian porn lovers were sacrificed so that there could be a second stream of income to help the budget deficits so that the country could comply with the EU rules. The porn industry was up in arms at the decision bring up the fact that it is already taxed at the VAT rate and that it would be unfair to tax it for a second time.