Thursday, May 24, 2007

Beware the TAXMAN is coming... well maybe!

By Wayne Mansfield

As it seems that anything moves is being taxed, I thought it would be instructional to look at The World’s Wackiest Taxes.

Over the centuries, right up to today, taxmen across the globe have enforced crazy and nonsensical tariffs on a mixed bag of oddities: From beards and urine to tattoos and illegal drugs. Just recently, authorities in China have introduced the latest in a long line of strange taxes… a 5 percent consumption tax on wooden chopsticks.

Apparently, the Chinese produce 45 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks each year—using timber from 25 million fully grown trees. So the Chinese government will be taxing wooden chopsticks in a move to save trees and as part of a wider, ambitious plan to slash energy consumption and combat pollution.

However, other countries, including the good old U.S. of A., are China’s equal in every way regarding oddball taxes.

For example, state legislators in Tennessee and neighbouring North Carolina—along with 21 other states nationwide—operate a tax on illegal drugs. Of course, one would presume that not many citizens actually report their secret stash to the Department of Revenue. Nevertheless, those who do ‘fess up and buy tax stamps to affix to their illicit haul aren’t signing their own arrest warrants. Revenue employees are supposedly prohibited from calling the cops on these tax-paying druggies.

In Arkansas, those displaying their attitude permanently inked on their biceps are subject to a tattoo tax. A bonus 6 percent levy is added to all tattoos, as well as body piercings and electrolysis treatment.

To be continued

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