For many people, tax season conjures up images of tedious number crunching or stressing about owing the IRS more than you’d like to admit. But tax season also brings an opportunity for gratitude, especially when you stop and think about what your taxes provide to you and your community. As you go about your day today, stop to appreciate the stoplights, police officers, firefighters, and countless other things that your tax dollars make possible. When we create a practice of gratitude around our taxes, the whole process can feel a lot more pleasant! (This works for our bills too—when we appreciate the roof over our heads and the heating that keeps us warm, it’s harder to grumble about our rent, mortgage, or electricity payments.) While tax season can certainly be stressful for many reasons, adjusting our mindset and seeing the purpose behind our taxes can completely change the experience of paying them.
While we’re talking about taxes, here’s a list of some of my favorite funny taxes that still exist now and have existed throughout history. These are sure to lighten up the subject of taxes and get you giggling.
In 1705, Russian Emperor Peter the Great placed a tax on beards, hoping to convince men to adopt the clean-shaven look. Something to think about for the ladies who are secretly sick of their gentlemen’s beards! (Credit: Efile.com)
In, England, if you own a TV in your home, you must pay an annual fee for each television you own. The tax revenue is used to finance programming on the BBC, rolling out broadband, and more. Strangely enough, if a person is blind and owns a TV, they must still pay 50% of the tax. Brits who fail to pay the tax are subject to criminal penalties. Data from 2012 shows that there were 155,000 convictions and fines. (Credit: Efile.com)
New York City places a special tax on prepared foods, so sliced bagels are taxed twice: first as food, then again as prepared food, thus creating the sliced bagel tax. (Credit: Efile.com)
In New Mexico, people over 100 years old are tax-exempt, but only if they are not dependents. (Hey, you can never fault tax codes for lacking specificity!) (Credit: Efile.com)
In the state of Kansas, untethered hot air balloon rides are exempt from sales tax because they are considered a legitimate form of air transportation. Tethered hot air balloon rides are a different story, and are considered to be an amusement ride and therefore subject to sales tax. (Credit: CNBC)
Ever had a blueberry pie while on a summer vacation to Maine? Maine has a blueberry tax, and charges blueberry pickers and processors ¾ of a cent per pound on the state’s iconic fruit. State police are authorized to jail you if you’re caught picking, selling, or transporting blueberries without paying the tax. (Credit: BonAppetit.com)
In Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Iowa, pumpkins are taxed differently depending on whether you intend to carve them or use them for cooking. Pumpkins that will be used at jack-o-lanterns are taxed, whereas pumpkins used for pie fillings are not. (Credit: BonAppetit.com)
In Canada, cereal companies get a tax break for including a toy in the cereal box. The toys can’t qualify as beer, liquor, or wine, which doesn’t seem like it would be too challenging! (Credit: CNBC)
In California, the land of fresh fruit, you’ll pay a 33% tax on any fruit you get from a vending machine. You may want to save your money and hit up a local market instead! (Credit: CBS)
In Hawaii, if you have an “exceptional tree” growing in your yard, you can write off up to $3,000 in expenses to maintain your exceptional tree. Trees have to be nominated, inspected, and approved by the city council before they can be deemed as exceptional. (Credit: CBS)