10. Fountain Soda (Chicago)
In Chicago there is big difference if you are drinking out of a can or a fountain; if it’s the can, the additional tax is 3 percent while fountain sodas are taxed at 9 percent.
9. Blueberries (Maine)
Maine slaps a one-and-a-half cent tax per pound on anyone growing, handling, processing, selling or purchasing blueberries. For what it’s worth, this tax is one of the oldest on our list: blueberry harvesters have been paying this tax since 1945.
8. Rain (Maryland)
Signed into law in 2012, this “storm water management fee” taxes citizens for the amount of rain that falls on their property and is expected to cost Maryland taxpayers $300 million annually.
7. Tattoos (Arkansas)
While this tax seems like it should be a relic of a different era, Arkansas implemented this 6 percent tax on permanent body art in 2005. If this incentivizes you to opt for that piercing you have been eyeing instead, you’re out of luck there too; body piercings and electrolysis are included .
6. A New Kind of Death Tax (Seattle)
Starting in 2011, it began to cost more for handling a death in Seattle. In addition to any estate tax you may face, it costs $50.00 to report a death to the Medical Examiner’s Office. If you don’t pay up, you won’t receive the necessary paper work for burial or cremation.
5. Bagels (New York)
If that bagel was sliced when received it, New York adds an eight-cent tax to the bill. On the books for quite a while, New York took the step to start enforcing the tax in 2010, enraging New Yorkers and bakery store owners.
4. Tethered Hot Air Balloon Rides (Kansas)
If you opt to have your hot air balloon tethered to the ground, then you are subject to local amusement park ride taxes in Kansas. Oddly enough, normal “untethered” hot air balloon rides are not subject to this tax.
3. Playing Cards (Alabama)
Beginning in 2004, Alabama imposes a 10-cent tax on every standard deck of 54 cards. In addition, if you wish to sell a deck of cards, you must purchase a playing card privilege license.
2. “Luxury” Coffee Lids (Colorado)
In March 2010 Colorado eliminated a tax protection for “non-essential” packaging for food and drinks bought at restaurants and convenience stores. The move led to coffee cups being deemed essential but coffee lids were determined to not be. As a consequence, coffee shops are subject to (and, therefore, all of us coffee drinkers must pay) a 2.9 percent luxury item tax on sleeves and lids.
1. The Non-Governmental “Jock Tax” (Tennessee)
This $2,500 per-game tax (max 3 games) tops the list despite not being quite as obviously strange as the other taxes. That’s because despite many states having so-called “jock taxes,” this is the only tax on the list where the money does not even go to the government – rather it heads back to stadium owners!
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