6 Wacky Taxes Across the U.S.
Hopefully, by now, you’ve filed your taxes or are putting the finishing touches on them. You may only think about income taxes during this mid-April crunch, but, of course, there are all manners of taxation, and you could be paying for them in places you least expect. Here are six strange taxes levied across the United States.
- Jock Tax – You can thank #23, Michael Jordan, for this tax on income earned by athletes, performers and their staff. Created in California in 1991 after the Chicago Bulls beat the LA Lakers in the finals, the Jock Tax is now utilized in many states with professional sports teams. So the next time Linsanity plays in L.A., he’ll be paying a 2 percent “Lincome tax” for his performance.
- Playing Card Tax – Go fish! Alabama imposes this 10-cent tax on all decks of cards (specifically those with “no more than 54 cards”) purchased within the state. Retailers are also subject to a $1 to $3 license tax for selling the cards. The next time you want a deck of cards for a quick game of poker or a flashy magic trick, you may want to head to neighboring Mississippi instead.
- Flush Tax – This $5-per-month tax addition to Maryland residents’ water bills was implemented in 2004 to help protect the Chesapeake Bay waters. Residents are literally sending their money down the toilet since wastewater contributes very little to the pollution of the bay. All and all, it’s a small price to pay for protecting the environment.
- Bagel Tax – New York City isn’t trying to weed out its population of bagel shops with this tax. The city has a special tax on prepared foods, so when you have the bakery slice and shmear it for you, it’s considered prepared and taxed as such.
- Pumpkin Taxes – Some taxes can affect you year-round, while others may only affect your wallet during particular times of the year, such as Halloween. Pennsylvania and New Jersey impose sales tax on pumpkins if you’re planning on using them to make a jack-o-lantern. The tax only applies if the gourds will be used for decorative purposes, not eaten. Breathe a sigh of relief — your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie is safe!
- The Century Tax – This one isn’t a tax levied; it’s a tax break (though you may have to wait awhile to get it)! If you live in New Mexico, are over 100 years old and not a dependent, you are tax-exempt. I knew there were still some benefits to getting older!
Updated: March 2015