On diapers, sweets and the Internet: the strangest taxes in the US
It is probably not surprising that a country with such a vibrant and diverse history as the United States may have several crazy taxes. From belt buckles to deer carcasses, there are many oddities that will add to your tax bill. Writes about this MSN.
Alabama: Confederate Veterans
The Civil War ended in 1865, but it is still part of Alabama's life, at least in the form of taxes. Alabamans are required to pay tax on Confederate veterans, although the last survivors of the war died decades ago. Taxes used to go to the management of the Confederate Hospital in Alabama, but it was closed 80 years ago, so instead, the money goes to maintain the Confederation Memorial Park in Mountain Creek. According to reports, this tax generates income of $ 400 per year, so it is not surprising that the park is one of the most well-groomed public facilities in the state.
Captains of Alaskan whaling boats receive a generous allowance of $ 10 to deduct all that they spend on boat repair or whaling. The only drawback of this generous deduction proposal is that Alaska has not been whaling since the 000s, and was declared illegal worldwide in 1920 (although some local groups recognized by the Alaska Whaling Commission have special exceptions )
Arizona temperatures often soar above 100 ° F (31,7 Celsius). Fortunately, ice cubes are exempt from sales tax if they are intended for use in beverages. Nevertheless, ice blocks that are not easy to use in drinks are taxed, so cooling the living room in the old-fashioned way (with an ice block and a fan) is certainly out of the question.
Residents of Arkansas who are fans of tattoos and piercings may want to travel out of state to do body art. This is because Bill Clinton’s old home state is subject to a high tax of 6% for body art. This category even includes electrolysis, so many residents of Arkansas also find themselves in a difficult situation.
California: Fruit Vending Machine
California is well known for its fruit industry, and you can buy an apple or orange at any grocery store in the state and you do not have to pay sales tax. But if you buy this fruit at a vending machine, be prepared to spend more. Gold staff levies a 33% tax on fruits purchased at vending machines, but no one knows why.
Colorado Coffee Cup Lids
When you receive coffee in Colorado, you may notice an additional charge on your account. This is because lids for coffee cups are considered “optional packaging” in Colorado and are taxed at 2,9%.
The average American baby uses 3796 diapers. But, fortunately, parents in Connecticut, who previously paid an additional sales tax of 6,35% on both disposable and reusable diapers, will be relieved to find that diapers are not taxed since July 2018.
Delaware is home to more than half of American companies, and that's not because Delaware are more entrepreneurial than the rest of the country. This is because the state has one of the lowest corporate tax rates at 8,7%.
District of Columbia: Healthy Living
If you are trying to live a healthy life in the capital, you can get a bill from the local District of Columbia government. Although it adopted a controversial sugar tax (5,75%) in an effort to stop the spread of obesity, it also taxed gyms at the same rate.
Florida: cow rental
It is known that developers in the state of Florida are using a tax loophole designed to protect farmland. The so-called Green Belt Act taxes agricultural land at an exceptionally low rate in order to protect it. It is known that developers or large corporations rent cows and protect them in some remote corner of the property in order to benefit from a lower tax rate. The law dates back to 1959, when orange groves were destroyed to make way for shopping centers, but there is no reasonable explanation for why it is still operating today.
If you are a fan of Cuban cigars, you can buy them anywhere other than Georgia. This is because the state charges 23% of the tax on cigar sales, although regular cigarettes are sold with only 10% tax.
Hawaii: Unique Trees
Hawaii prides itself on its lush landscape and natural beauty. Therefore, it is not surprising that the state has adopted several laws aimed at protecting natural beauty. That is why Hawaiian homeowners who own one of the “unique trees” have the right to deduct up to $ 3000 per tree for any costs associated with the maintenance and well-being of the tree. A qualified local forestry consultant must confirm the uniqueness of the tree before you can get deductions.
Idaho Cloud Computing
Although the cloud is by definition an intangible asset, Idaho tried to tax it. Prior to 2014, any downloads of cloud software or downloadable entertainment were taxed. Now only e-books and downloadable films and music are taxed, and this is only if they include a permanent license for the work, so streaming services are exempt from payment.
Sweet tooths may have to be a little more selective when it comes to buying sweet treats in Illinois. This is due to the fact that some types of sweets may be subject to an additional sales tax of 6,25%. However, any “candy” that contains flour in its list of ingredients and does not need refrigeration, such as Twix, is not taxed at 6,25% and a fee of 1% is charged instead. But sweets that do not contain flour and are stored in the refrigerator are taxed at a higher rate. The state also taxes soft drinks and brewed teas and coffee at a rate of 6,25% as they are intended for immediate consumption.
Indiana: Sweet Snacks
Do you like sweet snacks? These time bombs for teeth are not taxed in Indiana. Cakes and pastries, marshmallows (but not marshmallows), as well as chips and pretzels, are also not taxed.
Marijuana for recreational use remains illegal in Iowa. However, the state requires that anyone who sells seven or more grams or a whole plant constantly attach a tax mark to the product and pay a fee. The tax was a useful tool to increase the fees and possible fines available when prosecuting drug dealers. Marijuana is not completely banned in Iowa. The state has a medical program to combat the use of marijuana.
Kansas: Untied Balloons
Kansas has become a bit of a hotspot for balloons, and this is not due to its picturesque landscape or the enterprising locals. This is because Kansas taxes “any place providing entertainment, entertainment or leisure services,” including balloons, but this law is contrary to federal law that prohibits state governments from levying fees on airlines or air carriers. This means that Kansas had to create a tax exemption for balloons when they are not tied to the ground (and therefore fly somewhere), because they qualify as an air carrier, but if they are tied to the ground, they are classified as entertainment and taxed tax free.
Kentucky is an agricultural state and agribusiness is a major employer in this area. The equestrian industry is huge and contributes billions to the state's economy through racing, sales, tourism and breeding. Most of this income comes from a 6% tax that Kentucky levies on businesses that breed purebred stallions.
Louisiana Private Jets
Aviation enthusiasts may find Louisiana is a haven for this kind of hobby. Not only are small private jets tax-free, but painted planes are tax-free. The trick is that it has to be a full paint, not just a touch-up to get the tax exemption. So if you want to paint your private jet leopard print, you're in luck.
Maine: Wild Blueberries
In recent years, the popularity of blueberries has increased since it was classified as the so-called "superfood." Maine produces 99% of the country's wild blueberries. Residents of the state love these little berries so much that they are an official berry. Therefore, it is not surprising that they are taxed. The state collects 1,5 cents per pound of wild uncooked blueberries sold in Maine. However, this is not in vain, since funds are being used to research to promote and preserve the wild blueberry industry.
Maryland: flushing the toilet
Since 2004, Maryland residents have been paying one weird tax. State residents are charged an annual fee of $ 30 for wastewater treatment. The so-called flushing tax collects from $ 60 to $ 70 million per year for the modernization of the state’s main sewage treatment plants with the specific goal of reducing the discharge of pollutants into the Chesapeake Bay and other important waterways.
It's perhaps a little surprising that modern-day Massachusetts residents have come to terms with the fun tax. The state collects a 5% tax on “any water or land-based tourism” in the state.
Michigan Takeaway Foods
Many of us resort to takeaway after a long day at work, although cooking at home can be healthier. Cooking can also be actually cheaper in Michigan, as the state levies a sales tax on any “finished” goods or pre-packaged food.
Winters in Minnesota can be cold and bitter, and locals cannot rely on fur to warm them. This is due to the tax on fur clothes. If the garment consists mainly of fur, an additional tax of 6,5% is levied on it. Fur cuffs and collars on coats are tax deductible.
About 400 cattle are raised, slaughtered, and sold in the Mississippi every year. The local government is losing money by exempting any sale of livestock from taxes.
In Missouri, single men face an additional charge: any single man between the ages of 21 and 50 must pay an annual tax of $ 1. The law was passed in 1820, allegedly to encourage more men to marry.
Montana: Medical Marijuana
Marijuana has been legal in Montana for medical purposes since 2004, but although the state offers tax benefits for other medical expenses, such as insulin, this does not apply to marijuana. Even patients with a valid medical marijuana card must pay tax when buying or growing cannabis. The state received $ 1,8 million from tax for the first 13 actions of the law, which was introduced in July 2017. Currently, the tax rate is 4%.
Nebraska: illegal marijuana
Just to be clear: marijuana is illegal in Nebraska. What makes this specific tax law completely incomprehensible: dealers must pay a marijuana tax of $ 100 per ounce of marijuana (approximately $ 250 on the black market) or any other narcotic substances, immediately after taking possession of these substances. Not surprisingly, experts concluded that in practice this tax is difficult to secure.
Nevada: loud music
Nevada is home to Las Vegas, but, oddly enough, businesses in the state are taxed at 5% and 10% on tickets, food, drinks and any goods they sell. There is one important caveat: entertainment should be loud. Bars with an inconspicuous pianist in the corner are exempt from tax. But knowing what Vegas is famous for, Nevada probably earns on tax revenues.
New Hampshire: Real Estate
Lucky New Hampshire people do not have to pay income tax or sales tax, which is very unusual. However, even small states need money to continue to work, so the state charges really high property taxes, which are currently the third largest in the country. It just proves that nothing in life is certain other than taxes, even if you thought you avoided them by moving to New Hampshire.
New Jersey: Pumpkins
More than 40% of all Americans will cut at least one Halloween pumpkin. But since many see this seasonal tradition as nothing more than entertainment, New Jersey state officials thought it should be taxed. Officials considered that although pumpkins can be considered food, they really are home decoration and should be taxed on sales. If you can prove that your pumpkin is for food and not for decoration, you can get it without tax.
New Mexico: Old Age
Many of us have long, healthy lives, but New Mexico has one more reason to stay alive as long as possible: tax breaks. Residents of over 100 years old are exempt from having to file income tax, regardless of whether they have income or not.
New York: Sliced Bagels
New Yorkers are notorious for eating a good bagel for breakfast on the way to work, but if they knew how much taxes they pay for it, they would probably switch to cereal. Any bagel that has been sliced, fried, covered with filling, or filled in any way is subject to sales tax of 8,8%. But there is a tax loophole: if the bagel is intact, you do not need to pay a fee.
North Carolina: Pets
North Carolina residents loving cats and dogs have been taxed on pets since 2009. They are considered personal property and are therefore taxed. A cat or dog that has not been sterilized costs the owner $ 75 each year, and a sterilized puppy is charged only $ 10.
North Dakota: Oil Benefits
An oil boom began in North Dakota in 2006, and energy companies rushed to get oil there. The state decided to capitalize on drilling madness with a 5% tax on the gross cost of all oil produced at a well in North Dakota.
Ohio: human hair
The state does not tax human organs, bones, blood, or other parts if those parts are for transfusion or transplantation. However, the usual sales tax applies to human hair and any parts of animals for transplantation and implantation.
Property tax is common, and most states charge a fee on your home or apartment. But Oklahoma takes it one step further and taxes any personal items, even those that do not generate income or increase in price, such as furniture. This tangible property tax applies to everything you actually have, other than agricultural land.
Oregon is one of the few states that have legalized recreational or medical use of marijuana. But Oregon introduced a 17% cannabis sales tax, with municipalities being given the opportunity to add an additional 3%. If the tax was a deterrent, it did not work. Oregon tax revenues for marijuana in 2019 reached $ 102 million, which is 24,2% higher than taxes collected a year earlier.
When it comes to taxes, Pennsylvania can take the lead. This is because it taxes the air. Everything that comes out of a compressed air vending machine or vacuum cleaner is tax deductible.
Rhode Island: sex
In 1971, Rhode Island tried to tax any sexual acts committed within national borders. Democratic lawmaker Bernard Gladstone, although it would be nice to set a tax of $ 2 per act to raise more money for the state. Nevertheless, the tax was voluntary, never made money, and offenders were never prosecuted for evasion.
South Carolina: Deer
In South Carolina, charity can lead to tax cuts. Each deer carcass made by a licensed meat packer, butcher or processing plant donated to charity gives a $ 50 discount. A “donation” will be used to feed the hungry, but only deer carcasses are eligible for benefits.
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South Dakota: Firefighters
Volunteer firefighters and ambulances made a pretty lucrative tax deal in South Dakota: they don’t have to pay tax anywhere in the state. Since South Dakota is one of seven states that do not have income taxes, benefits for volunteers make them as close to life without taxes (and within the law) as possible.
If the lawsuit was not traumatic enough, Tennessee decided to add an additional restriction: $ 25 from residents involved in criminal and civil litigation.
Texas: belt buckle
Cowboy fashion is widespread in Texas, so it comes as no surprise that cowboy boots are tax-free, as are belts. The belt buckles, however, are not. And what is a cowboy belt without a buckle? If you want to buy Monty Montana in full, you will have to pay an additional sales tax for this product.
Utah: Adult Entertainment
This Utah law originally targeted all forms of entertainment: strip clubs, half-naked strip clubs, and escort services, as well as all food, drinks, and merchandise sold at these specific establishments. After much debate, the state was forced to retreat, and now half-naked strip clubs and escort services are no longer taxed.
Vermont Street Musicians
Wizards, mimes and other street performers may not be high-income people, but this does not stop the Vermont government from reserving the right to levy additional taxes on them.
Just as the inhabitants of Maine are proud of their blueberries, so are the Virginians proud of their sheep. But unlike the thriving Wild Blueberry market in Maine, Virginia seems to be modestly trading in sheep. But this does not stop local governments from levying a tax of 50 cents on each sheep sold in the state. Sheep tax collects only about $ 8000 a year.
Washington: electric and hybrid cars
Many drivers of electric cars and hybrid cars are attracted by their eco-friendly powers and the fact that they are easier to drive than a gasoline-powered vehicle. Well, not in the state of Washington, where any driver of an electric car or a hybrid car must pay an annual fee of $ 150 for the repair of roads and road systems, as well as another $ 75.
West Virginia: Sparklers
Celebrating the fourth of July in West Virginia may seem a little odd, as fireworks are completely banned in the state. Sparklers are however permitted - although they come with an additional tax. Sellers of sparklers and other novelties that emit sparks or noise must pay an additional duty on top of the 6% sales tax.
Until July 1 of this year, Internet lovers tried not to visit Wisconsin, as this was the only state taxing Internet access. How much each house paid was dependent on what type of connection they had, with dial-up access being cheaper than broadband access, but now residents can travel without worrying about their tax bill.
Wyoming does not tax peppermint candies and chewing gum.
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