More than money: Taxman cometh for belt buckles, strip club entry and beards
In 1966, The Beatles complained in “Taxman” about the British government’s penchant for taxation — everything from streets and seats to heat and feet, according to songwriter George Harrison.
Tax Day — with the deadline coming Monday — is a good reminder that, in addition to income, just about anything can be (and has been) taxed.
Here are some items that, according to the Farmers’ Almanac, have been subject to taxation down through history and up to the present day:
Cowboy belt buckles — Texas still taxes, at the rate of 6.25%, the sale of an item that is considered an accessory to the cowboy’s essential gear.
Cow methane emissions — Several European countries, concerned about greenhouse gases caused by methane emissions, charge farmers a per-cow fee. In Denmark, the rate is $110 per cow.
Hot air balloons — Kansas taxes hot air balloons that stay tethered to the ground because they’re considered an amusement ride, not a mode of transportation.
Coin-operated vacuum machines — These mainstays of car washes are taxed in Pennsylvania as a “use” tax.
Texas strip clubs — Patrons must pay an extra $5 for admission, the proceeds of which are used for sexual assault prevention programs.
Vending machine fruit — California likes to keep things fresh and local, and so any fruit bought from a vending machine is taxed at a rate of 33%.
Beards in 18th-century Russia — Tsar Peter the Great instituted a 100-ruble tax on beards as an inducement for Russian men to look more “European.”
Stuff in Great Britain — In the 1700s, partly to fund the war effort against American revolutionaries, the British government taxed building bricks, wig powder, hats, printed wallpaper and windows.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .