What if you were asked to pay tax based on the number of windows in your house or how many times you flush the toilet?
Someone has rightly said that only two things are certain in this world – death and taxes. However, while some taxes may seem essential, there are some whose existence can hardly be justified. Still, it is difficult to avoid them. For instance, what if you were asked to pay tax based on the number of windows in your house or how many times you flush the toilet? Weird, right? Believe it or not, such types of taxes existed in some parts of the world once and some of them exist even today. Read on to know about some of the most weird taxes in the world, including India:
1. Bachelor Tax
Remaining single might be your choice, but the state of Missouri in the United States imposes tax on bachelors (single man), which was first imposed way back in 1820. This tax is levied at $1 every year on unmarried men between 21 years and 50 years. Interestingly, Bachelor Tax was once imposed by many other countries as well – including Germany, South Africa and Italy, among others – and has now been abolished by many of them.
2. Pet Tax
Towards the end of year 2017, the Punjab government announced imposing tax on the owners of different domestic animals. Two category of taxes are defined: First, Rs 250 per annum will be charged from the owners of dog, cat, sheep, pig & deer. Second, Rs 500 per annum will be charged for elephant, cow, camel, horse, buffaloe & bull.
3. Blueberry Tax
The blueberry tax is levied to stop over-harvesting of the fruit which in-turn helps the vegetation to thrive. As production of wild blueberry is one of the most important agriculture industries in Maine, this tax is levied to protect the industry. In Maine (a state of the United States), tax on production of blueberries is levied at one-and-half penny per pound.
4. Ice Block Tax
Arizona levies tax on bulk purchase of ice (i.e. ice block). But surprisingly, on the other hand, purchasing ice-cubes is totally exempt from tax. So, if you visit Arizona in the future, make sure you opt for ice-cubes to save money.
5. Jock tax
Jock Tax is levied on the income of a professional athlete. Many countries in the United States like California tax the income earned by a professional athlete in the city/state other than his home city/state. So, while focusing on their practice and training sessions, at the same time athletes have to take care of their taxes as well.
6. Pumpkin Tax
As soon as one hears “Pumpkin” the festival of Halloween comes to the mind. But did you know that in New Jersey (United States) though pumpkin is a tax-exempt food, but if it is “painted, varnished or cut and sold as decorations,” then it becomes liable to sales tax.
7. Window Tax
During the 18th and 19th centuries, countries such as England, France, Ireland and Scotland introduced the concept of Window Tax. This was a kind of property tax which was based on the number of windows in a house. The aim was to target the rich and wealthy who used to live in mansions with a lot of windows. It was later repealed by these countries owing to a lot of agitation against such taxation.
8. Tattoo Tax
People get inked to express their opinion, beliefs etc & although many countries make services provided at tattoo parlours exempt, this is not the case in Arkansas. Since 2002, the state of Arkansas levies sales tax @ 6% on inking services provided by various tattoo studios/ parlours.
9. Hat Tax
The Hat Tax was introduced by the British government for the period 1784 to 1811 on men’s hat. It was based on idea that a man who owns a large number of expensive hats is very rich as compared to a poor man who might have just one cheap hat or nothing at all. The aim was to earn revenue simply based on a person’s relative wealth.
10. Toilet Flush Tax
To keep a check on water-consumption, Maryland imposes tax on toilet flushing excess than the allowed limit at $5 for each month (which comes to $60 for a year). The money collected through Toilet Flush Tax is used for the development of Maryland’s sewage treatment system.
11. Cowardice Tax
During the 10th century, to raise money for fighting wars, kings used to levy “Cowardice Tax” on the people who chose not to fight for any reason (including cowardice/ fear). This tax was first levied by King Henry I & was relatively low, but later King John increased the tax rate by 300%.
(With inputs from income tax experts, research reports and government sites)