A collection of amusing tax laws, past and present.
Peter the Great introduced a beard tax. Any Russian wanting to remain beardy had to pay an annual amount and was issued with a beard token which he had to carry with him in public to prove he had paid.
Roman Emperor Nero introduced a tax on the collection of urine. Back then it was used to prepare animal skins – and you thought today’s taxman was taking the piss!
In Canada children’s breakfast cereal is tax exempt if it includes a free toy. The free toy must not be beer, liquor or wine – yes, they actually thought they needed to clarify that, imagine Coco Pops with a free beer toy!!
In Sweden there is a tax for naming your baby something that is not already in use. It is also applied to the misspelling of names and names like ‘Apple’ regardless of income, status and tax bracket.
Scaredy-cat tax was introduced by Henry I for English knights that didn’t want to go to war. It was originally very low and meant as a deterrent but King John later raised it by 300% and even collected it when not at war. This led to the formation of the Magna Carter.
In 1988 a stripper in the US called ‘Chesty Love’ successfully claimed her boob job as a business expense. This paved the way for anyone in the adult entertainment industry to claim cosmetic surgery expenses if it would lead to more work.
In UK tax law biscuits and cakes are deemed necessities and are exempt VAT but cover biscuits in chocolate and they are luxuries that have 20% vat added to them. So Jaffa Cakes – are they biscuits or cakes? McVities invented them and they make biscuits so they were forced to go a tribunal and prove they are cakes – they won so they are non vatable chocolate covered cakes.
In the Netherlands tax deductions are allowed on training in magic and witchcraft after an actress claimed £1500 tax relief for a year long course in potion making, spell casting & crystal ball reading.
Cow Flatulence Tax – This is a new tax being introduced in EU countries. Cow farts cause 18% of global warming. Large clouds of methane hang in the air over slaughter houses where they store thousands of cows causing negative effects on air quality. Ireland tax $18 per cow while Denmark charges $110.