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6 Strange-but-True Taxes

You’ve heard it said that there are only three things certain in life: death, taxes and Dave Ramsey shouting, “Sell the car!” on The Dave Ramsey Show.

Okay, maybe we made that last one up. But if there is one thing you can count on, especially this time of year, it’s taxes. The government loves taxes more than a kitty loves a ball of yarn.

That said, not all taxes are the same. We all know about the income tax. But, depending on where you live, you might not be familiar with some of these crazy taxes from both the past and present.

Cow Flatulence

Cows release methane when they poot. Methane is linked to greenhouse gases that supposedly cause global warming. When a lot of cows are grouped together in one location—a slaughterhouse, for example—they produce large clouds of methane. As a result, Ireland, Denmark and several other EU nations have begun taxing cow owners on cow flatulence. Danish farmers pay a tax of $110 per cow. That gives a whole new meaning to a high gas bill!


Way back in the 17th century, the English government wanted to tax rich people without just saying, “Hey! Let’s tax rich people!” So they got creative. During that time, having more than two windows on your house was a sign of wealth. So the British started the Window Tax of 1696. Clever politicians.

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Playing Cards

If you live in Alabama and enjoy a game of spades every now and then, make sure you have an extra dime on hand. Alabama is the only state that issues a 10-cent tax on playing cards purchased within the state. The revenue supposedly goes to support playgrounds and highways, but have you driven down I-20 toward Birmingham lately? Apparently, Alabama needs to sell more playing cards.

Illegal Drugs

In Tennessee, drug dealers can anonymously file taxes on their profits from selling illegal drugs. Though it seems doubtful that Scarface wannabes in Tennessee would report their illegally earned income, NPR says the state collected $1.5 million in revenue for the “crack tax.” Several other states have followed Tennessee’s lead. So what’s a drug dealer’s motivation here? Apparently, if they get arrested, they won’t face extra fines or property seizure if they’ve paid the tax.

Car Accidents

You had better drive carefully if you live in Missouri City, Texas. Drivers who are at fault in car accidents could be taxed from $500 to $2,000 per accident. The city plans to bill insurance companies for the tax. But good luck with that if you’re a reckless driver in Missouri City.

Nose Rings and Tattoos

Want a bald eagle tattooed on your back? A lightning bolt on your bicep? A four-inch hoop through your nostrils? You’re going to pay a little extra for that if you live in Arkansas. Since 2005, Arkansas has been charging a 6% tax on tattoos, body piercings and electrolysis treatments. Double ouch.

Does your state have any strange taxes?

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