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Tangoing with Taxes: 9 Weird and Fun Tax Facts That Will Surprise You

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 2:47
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When that time of the year rolls around, you may suddenly find yourself suffering from bouts of nausea, nightmares, migraines and the occasional dizzy spell.

But beyond the daunting paperwork, the endless questions about finances and move dates, you can also find a little bit of joy. Why? Because taxes are possibly the most dulling subject on Earth, yes, but fun tax facts do exist.

And many of them may surprise you.

Are you getting ready to prepare all those horrid legal documents? If so, keep this article handy; whenever you find yourself overcome with tax sickness, this is your go-to medicine to make yourself feel a little bit better.

Anyway, we guarantee some of the tax trivia will make you giggle.

9 Weird and Fun Tax Facts That Might Surprise You

From the ancient past to the crazy present, these weird facts are sure to make you laugh.

1. Ancient Egyptians Enjoyed a Tax on Cooking Oil

We aren’t alone in facing the frustrations of taxes on daily items. As early as 2000 BC in Egypt, cooking oil was taxed by several Egyptian Pharaohs. To make sure no one was skimping out, scribes would “audit” households to double check they weren’t hoarding any.

Further, any citizen trying to use other means of oil (as in, recycling it) could face harsh punishments. Under the law of the Amasis, it could even mean death.

And we thought Prohibition was bad.

2. Taxes Did Mike Tyson In

Mike Tyson was once a renowned figure in boxing. The former heavyweight boxing champion was so revered he earned over $30 million in revenue on a single fight.

Unfortunately, Tyson had a penchant for luxury. From jewelry to sports cars to tigers (yes, The Hangover used this small fact to the movie’s advantage), he soon found his riches dwindling. Then, after a particularly expensive divorce, he ended up owing over $17 million in tax liabilities.

And, no, the poor guy didn’t get to keep his tigers.

3. A Tax on Beards Existed

If you’ve ever thought the common expectation to be “clean-shaven” at work is annoying, this might change your mind.

In 1698, Tsar Peter I established a beard tax. His reasoning? Russians needed to act more like the modern Western Europeans he had met.

This decision came about after Peter the Great traveled incognito around Europe for a year, learning about the different cultures. Afterward, he held a reception. To his guests’ horror, he lopped off all of their beards.

Considering the Russian Orthodox church thought being cleanly shaven was blasphemous, his regulation was met with quite a bit of reluctance. To make money off of his citizens’ desire for beards, he then implemented a beard tax.

Interestingly, such a tax was also used by England’s Henry VII.

4. Taxes May Have Inspired a Revolution

The gabelle was a form of tax in France. It was implemented in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, and in the fifteenth century, it was especially used to tax salt.

Making the gabelle even more frustrating to French citizens was its exemption for nobility; almost all privileged people were excused from the tax. It was so unpopular it was listed in an enumeration of grievances on the eve of the French Revolution.

5. They May Have Also Created the Tale of Robin Hood

Remember the lion with his overly large crown in the old cartoon, the one who wore the robe and sucked his thumb? He was supposed to represent King John.

King John was the youngest son of Henry II and was born in Oxford around 1167. After obtaining the throne, he lost Normandy, Anjou, Maine, and parts of Poitou during a war.

To pay for efforts to win them back, he became synonymous with the lion Prince John we see in the old Robin Hood cartoon. He was infamous for his ruthless antics to suck all the money away from his people, mostly in the form of taxes.

Bitter and neglected, his kingdom fostered the tale of Robin Hood, who stole from the rich to give to the poor.

6. Currently, Taxes Exist for Owning a Television

Most Americans are ignorant about the overseas taxes on owning a television, something that would seem simply absurd in the US.

But for our distant neighbors across the ocean, this is an all-too-familiar expectation. In fact, television taxes (or licenses) are incorporated in many European and UK countries.

7. Drug Dealers Had to Pay Taxes for Illegal Substances

In 2005, Tennessee passed a law requiring drug dealers to pay taxes for any illegal substances in their possession. We know what you’re thinking: no one would fall for that, right?

Wrong. To encourage drug dealers to come forth, the “Crack Tax” required anyone possessing or manufacturing illegal substances to pay special taxes in the form of stamps . . . or else.

The process was anonymous and could not be reported to the police. If drug dealers and makers did not pay it and they were caught, they would face fines up to 10 times what the taxes would have cost.

It resulted in over $1.8 million of revenue for the state in the two years it was enacted. In 2007, it was declared unconstitutional.

8. 100-Year-Olds Don’t Pay Taxes in New Mexico

If you make it to 100, New Mexico must figure you’ve put in your time and deserve a rest. After all, nothing is certain in life except death and taxes.

The state offers 100% tax exemptions for anyone who has lived to see a century. So long as they have been in the state for 6 months and aren’t a dependent, they can throw those forms in the trash.

9. Contributing to an IRA Can Get You a Huge Tax Return

And finally one last tidbit for those of you ready to put nose to form.

If you contribute significantly to an IRA account in 2018, you can earn up to $6,500 in deductions. Of course, it all depends on how much you put in. You can read more about it and find other helpful pointers at this article, entitled 15 Tips for Winning at Doing Your Own Taxes.

Because, really, we all need a bit of help in that department.

Feeling Better?

Whether you’ve just started those forms or are simply eyeing the link online, we hope these fun financial facts have at least gotten an exclamation or smile out of you.

We told you. Fun tax facts are real.

Who knows? Maybe the next time your boss yells that you need to shave, you can kindly inform him such regulations once encouraged a governmental shift that took power away from kings.

Just saying.

And since you’re trying to evade the tax sickness, take a look at our article about 11 weird diseases you probably will think are fake. Because, really, wouldn’t you just love to tell your boss you’ve come down with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome?

Weirdomatic is the place where all weird things come to life through the amazing world of photographs – a corner of our wild imagination or the whimsical face of the reality?


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