What's the strangest thing about money
The 7 strangest taxes in tax history
Rulers and governments have come up with very different forms of taxation over the centuries. We have compiled the 7 strangest taxes in tax history.
1. Money doesn't stink - the urine tax
Let's start with a tax that became known through a saying by its author. The Roman emperor Vespasian needed money for his troops. After all, it was his soldiers who made the crown possible for him in the first place. As part of a tax reform, he increased taxes and introduced new taxes. Among them was one on the use of public toilets. Vespasian's son Titus is said to have spoken out against it, to which the emperor replied: "Money doesn't stink."
2. Fiscal hair-splitting - the wig tax
The first Prussian king also had the idea of one of the strangest taxes in tax history. Frederick I had crowned himself king, but clearly underestimated the expenses that belong to a suitable court. In addition, corruption was rampant in its administration at the end of the 17th century. In old Prussia the idea of taxing the new fashion came up: wearing wigs. Three thalers were due for this. A wig inspector and his assistants made sure that the tax was paid. Wig wearers had to show a corresponding stamp on their artificial hair.
3. Barber of Moscow: the beard tax
Anyone living in the Russian Empire at the same time had to fear taxation for other hair. Tsar Peter I had a beard tax levied. The aim was less to flush money into the state treasury than to bring fashion into line with western courts. Peter the Great set a good example himself and did without a traditional full beard.
4. Instead of child benefit - the maiden tax
Almost 30 years ago, Madonna sparked controversy with her song "Like a Virgin". Although she was unmarried at the time, no one would have dubbed her a “virgin” and levied taxes because of her childlessness. But in Prussia Frederick I not only wig wearers were taxed, but also unmarried women between 20 and 40 years of age. The tax should encourage them to get married and have children.
5. Dead or alive - the sparrow tax
In the 18th century, Baden-Württemberg (BW) competed with Prussia on strange taxes. In the southern German state, but also in the Electorate of Hanover, there was a so-called sparrow tax for years. It should help reduce the number of sparrows that ate too much of the seeds in the fields. Only those who delivered a certain number of birds dead (Hanover) or alive (BW) could escape the tax.
6. Double recognized - the witch tax
But contemporary history also provides material for the 7 strangest taxes in tax history. In Romania, witches have been obliged to pay tax on their services since 2011. You can call it an act of state revenge or just consistently. Because a few years earlier, a witch had successfully sued in court to have her job title recognized.
7. Luxury transporters - the hearse tax
The Greek government also used too many means to increase tax revenue during the debt crisis. Since 2012, the authorities no longer classify hearses as commercial vehicles, but equate them with luxury cars. And for these a six times higher tax rate applies. It shouldn't be the last weird tax in tax history.
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