Top 5 Weirdest Taxes

Monday, January 9, 2012

5. Flush tax
You pee, you poo, you pay. In 2004, the Maryland Legislature took a major step towards protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, when it passed what has become known as “the flush tax”.
The bill established the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Restoration Fund to be supported by a $2.50 a month fee on sewer bills and an equivalent $30 annual fee on septic system owners. Utilities customers saw a new line item on their quarterly bills beginning January 1, 2005 for $7.50 per quarter
($2.50 per month). These funds are collected by the County and turned over to the State who distributes the funds to utilities to upgrade wastewater treatment plants to reduce nitrogen discharge which causes algae blooms that harm fish, crabs, native plants and other aquatic life. The revenues from septic tank users are used to upgrade or replace failing septic systems and to provide financial assistance to farmers to help plant cover crops to prevent nutrient runoff from agricultural land.
4. Soul tax
Peter the Great, czar of Russia, imposed a tax on souls in 1718, meaning everybody had to pay it (it’s similar to a head tax or a poll tax). Peter was antireligious (he was an avid fan of Voltaire and other secular humanist philosophers), but agreeing with him didn’t excuse anyone from paying the tax—if you didn’t believe humans had a soul, you still had to pay a “religious dissenters” tax. Peter also taxed beards, beehives, horse collars, hats, boots, basements, chimneys, food, clothing, all males, as well as birth, marriage, and even burial.
3. Witchcraft tax
Like many countries, Romania is in a recession so it’s doing whatever it can to raise revenue. This year, the Romanian government identified a new source of heretofore untaxed profession: witches! Naturally, the witches aren’t taking this laying down and are planning to use cat excrement and dead dogs to cast spells on the president and government. Under the law, like any self-employed person, the witches must pay 16 percent income tax and make contributions to health and pension programs.
Also among Romania’s newest taxpayers are fortune tellers — but they probably should have seen it coming.
2. Tattoo tax
Since 2005, anyone in Arkansas wanting to get an eagle etched on their abs or a nose ring notched in their nostrils will have to pay an additional 6 percent, as the state included tattooing and body piercing in its list of services subject to sales taxes. Electrolysis treatments count, too.
1. Wig powder tax
In 1795, powdered wigs were all the rage in men’s fashion. Desperate for income to pay for military campaigns abroad, British prime minister William Pitt the Younger levied a tax on wig powder. Although the tax was short-lived due to the protests against it, it did ultimately have the effect of changing men’s fashions. By 1820 powdered wigs were out of style.


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