Strange TaxesIt’s tax season! That means long hours at the Bach, James, Mansour & Company office completing your personal and business tax returns. Although we’re all working hard, we also try to keep things light, including our blog. We hope you’ll have as much fun reading this as we had preparing it.

And you thought your taxes were crazy!

We scoured the internet to find the craziest taxes from the US and around the world. Here are our 10 favorites. Hopefully, you haven’t experienced one of these taxes!

  1. Jock Tax – In 1991, California was the first state to tax high-paid professional athletes. Whether or not you’re a CA resident, you are required to pay state income tax if you earn money when playing in a game there. About half of the states, including Georgia, have adopted some sort of jock tax.
  2. Cow Flatulence Tax – Did you know that methane gas is considered a leading cause of global warming? And guess what produces lots of methane – cows. Where the tax is only $18 per cow in Ireland, it will set you back $110 per cow in Denmark.
  3. Sliced Bagel Tax – If your bagel is sliced or otherwise prepared (like toasted with a schmear) in New York, it’s subject to sales tax. That could be as much as $0.08, depending on local tax rates.
  4. Tattoo Tax – Prepare to pay an extra 6% sales tax when you buy your next tattoo in Arkansas.
  5. Cereal Box Toy Tax Break – While not a tax, cereal companies that put a little toy in the bottom of their boxes enjoy a tax break. Unfortunately, the tax law specifically states that beer, liquor, and wine are not considered toys, and are not therefore eligible for the tax break.
  6. Fresh Fruit Vending Machine Tax – Fresh fruit is exempt from sales tax in California. But if you buy your (fresh?) fruit from a vending machine, expect to pay a 33% tax.
  7. Adult Entertainment Tax – In Utah, businesses that employ nude or partially nude workers must pay 10% sales tax on those “services.” Talk about taxing the clothes off your back!
  8. Google Tax – France has been trying to tax companies making tax-free money off their citizens. This includes attempting to tax the big internet companies like Google, hence the nickname. France is attempting to collect over $1.75 billion in back taxes from Google alone. By the way, Great Britain recently reached a paltry $181 million settlement with Google over similar claims.
  9. Hot Air Balloon Tax – In Kansas, tethered balloon rides are subject to sales tax. Lose the rope and lose the tax. Non-tethered rides are considered transportation, and are tax-free.
  10. Stolen Property Tax – Per the IRS, if you steal property, you must report its fair market value in your income in the year you steal it. Probably best to choose the “other income” category.

Have you read about any other strange taxes? Please let us know and we’ll publish more of them. We did find one piece of good news. New Mexico residents over 100 years old are exempt from state sales tax. I guess they feel we’ve paid enough by then…

We had lots of help

Thanks to Intuit, the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, US News, CNBC, and a variety of other sources for information that contributed to the strange taxes listed in this article. Our research efforts were limited, so please seek the advice of one of our experienced CPAs before you buy cows, or a bagel.

In the meantime, we’ll be diligently working on your 2015 tax returns. Thank you for your business!

Neal Bach, CPA