To me all taxation seems weird. We earn money by working hard and then we have to pay taxes; which leaves almost nothing to go on a shopping binge! Anyways, there are certain taxes more weird than the others. And they’ve been around as long as tax and money has been around – which is like forever! So here are 8 totally crazy taxes from times past and present.
8. Beard Tax
Many rulers have taxed beards in history. Henry VII the King of England in 1535, Elizabeth I after her father and Peter the Great Tsar of Russia in 1705 started a tax on beards. I wonder if there were additional rules to this tax such as the ones with longer beards would have to pay more. And if so, there must have been some poor tax inspector, going from home to home, measuring people’s beards!
7. Window Tax
King Williams III started a tax on windows in 1696. The idea of a permanent tax on people’s income had just started and people found it totally crazy (which it still is!). They found it wrong for the crown to know how much their income was. So the king came with a better plan. He taxed houses based on how many windows they had. The richer a person, the bigger his house and the more windows he had and so he had to pay a higher tax. Consequently people started bricking up their windows to avoid tax and felt that it was a tax on air and sunshine.
6. Pornography Tax
In Italy you have to pay a 25% tax on all hardcore pornography. The porn industry vocalized their objection to this tax as they were already being taxed with the VAT as a service industry. Such a tax also exists in France and is held as a moral tax.
5. Prostitution Tax
Prostitution is illegal in most countries but in some countries it is legal and even more than that it is taxed! This just shows that governments will tax whatever they can. You do it and the government will find a way to tax it.
4. Freedom Tax
Slavery was considered a wonderful little institution in Ancient Rome. But it wasn’t all bad. A slave could buy his own freedom. All he had to do was pay his master whatever he asked. Plus a 10% tax to the government! Can you believe the plight of a lowly slave, who spent whatever little free time he had on working for others and saving money to buy his freedom, only to find out that he matched the owner’s asking price but couldn’t give the 10% tax!
3. Urine Tax
Emperor Nero of Rome was totally crazy. Everybody knows this. He used to write direct and act in his own one person plays that lasted for hours and he forced people to watch these shows. If you read about the rest of his crazy ideas, the fact that he taxed urine would not seem that crazy. The wealthy people had their own sewage disposal system and managed to escape this tax (the wealthy have been evading tax ever since) but the rest of the people used chamber pots and had to pay tax on their own urine.
2. Illegal Drugs Tax
Some states of USA have a tax on possession of illegal drugs. It sounds crazy because who would report possessing illegal drugs! In order to pay taxes! And then get caught for possession! But the craziest thing about this tax is that you are not required to produce identification while reporting your illegal drugs and the revenue employees can’t rat you out as it is illegal for them to do so! Once you report your drugs, you get a stamp that you can affix on your drugs and in case if you get caught with them, the government will know that you paid your taxes and so aren’t all bad.
1. Cow Fart Tax
Cows fart when they eat grass. Their farts contain methane, a greenhouse gas which rises into the atmosphere and causes global warming. Many European countries have started to tax anyone who produces greenhouse gases and so they’ve decided to tax farmers who own cows for their farts!