In the words of the famous Will Rogers (you do know who he is, right?) “The difference between death and taxes is death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.” I am not sure when exactly Mr. Rogers said that but considering that it had to be some time before 1935, this makes me realize: people always have and, very likely, always will complain about taxes. This theory is only more evident in the light of multiple recent AND still-coming tax changes.
Since there isn’t much that can be done about our satisfaction with taxes, I tried to find some fun facts about taxes.
- England has a tax on television (formally called a television license). Color televisions are taxed at a higher rate than black and white televisions. If a person is legally blind and owns a television set, the license is half price…
- IRS Publication 17: “Stolen property: If you steal property, you must report its fair market value in your income in the year you steal it unless in the same year, you return it to its rightful owner.” Interestingly, doing so is equal to self-incrimination.
- IRS Publication 17: “Income from illegal activities, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income on Form 1040, line 21, or on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) if from your self-employment activity.” No comment.
- Another illegal drugs ‘fun’ fact: multiple states have a tax on illegal drugs. In Tennessee, a few years ago you had 48 hours to report an illegal drug sale to the Department of Revenue to pay your tax and get a stamp to prove payment. No identification was required. The law was declared unconstitutional.
- You think we’ve got it bad? Imagine if we lived in Russia in 1705 when Russian Emperor Peter the Great placed a tax on beards! There was also a tax on souls, hats, boots, beehives, basements, chimneys, food, clothing, birth, marriage, and burial.
Last but not least (I knew you would appreciate this one): according to the UK’s Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations 2006, “it is illegal not to tell the taxman anything you don’t want him to know, though you don’t have to tell him anything you don’t mind him knowing.”
Well, since complaining about taxes is not tax-deductible, this is it for now! Stay tuned for our next tax blog!