Ask anybody about taxes and be ready to set aside your afternoon for a spirited debate, especially during an election year. Some think we are taxed too much, while others believe we are not taxed enough, with very few opinions in between. Something many people can agree on, however, is that some of the state level taxes can seem a little weird. We've found 12 of the most bizarre taxes in America just in time to celebrate the end of this year's tax season.
1. The Fun Tax (Massachusetts and Virginia)
If you want to have fun, you have to pay for it! Massachusetts and Virginia are among the states charging an amusement tax on admission fees for local activities.
2. Candy Tax (Chicago, IL)
Adopted in many states and originating from Chicago, Chicagoans favorite sweet snacks can run up quite the bill. Candy, which by definition does not include items that include flour and require refrigeration (looking at you, ice cream), is taxed at 5 times the rate of other foods.
3. Fountain Soda Tax (Chicago)
Chicago, it may seem, is pretty anti-sugary treats when it comes to extra taxes. The Windy City adds a 9% sales tax if you buy a fountain soda drink. But - if that wasn't weird enough, when you buy the same drink in a bottle or a can, you'll pay only 3% sales tax.
4. The Sparkler and Novelty Registration Fee (Tennessee)
An annual $15 fee applies to business owners who sell sparklers, trick noise makers and other flashy toys typically found at your Fourth of July barbeque in the state.
5. The Flush Tax (Maryland)
Homeowners and businesses in Maryland are charged for producing wastewater. More specifically, residents hooked up to treatment centers see $2.50 added to sewer bills each month. Homeowners with their own septic systems aren't immune either with an annual $30 charge.
6. The Jock Tax (Over 40 States)
Odds are you are in a state that applies the Jock Tax, a tax traveling business professionals (and athletes) must pay to every state where they earn income or have an "economic nexus." The paid amount depends on a number of variables, including the number of days the person worked in the taxing state in addition to total annual income. You can thank California for this one, since the state levied the first jock tax in 1991 on athletes from Chicago due to the basketball rivalry between the two teams at the time.
7. Fresh Fruit Vending Machine Tax (California)
Another great addition from The Golden State. Fresh fruit itself is tax exempt in California, but if that apple comes from a vending machine, look forward to an additional 33% tax.
8. Pet Tax (Durham, North Carolina)
Even though Fluffy seems like he's a part of the family, Durham residents are required to list their pets as personal property on their taxes so that the city can collect its Pet Tax. The tax - $10 if a pet has been spayed or neutered and $75 if not - only applied to country residents with cats or dogs four months and older.
9. The Playing Card Tax (Alabama)
Alabama residents can attest to the oddity of this tax. Anyone who purchases or sells a deck of cards is subject to a tax - buyers are on the hook for an extra 10 cents per deck while the seller pays a $1 fee per deck plus a $3 annual license. The weirdest part? This tax only applies to decks of 54 cards or fewer, so UNO fans rejoice!
10. Blueberry Tax (Maine)
Did you know that Maine's official state berry is the wild blueberry? What about that Maine produces 99 percent of the wild blueberries in the United States? It's no wonder, then, that the state of Maine chose to implement a blueberry tax of a penny and a half per pound for anyone who grows, purchases, sells, handles, or processes blueberries.
11. The Fur Coat Tax (Minnesota)
Even though it gets well below-zero many times throughout the year, Minnesotans will have to find another way to warm up besides fur. Businesses are required to pay a 6.5% tax on profits derived from any piece of apparel made from fur including shipping and handling. The tax specifically calls out businesses that sell clothing comprised of three times more fur than the next most valuable material used in its making.
12. The Bagel Tax (New York State)
Even though New York City may be known for its prepared bagel selection, be aware that any prepared bagel is subject to an additional 8 cent sales tax. And if you think buying it whole without any toppings will get you out of paying extra, think again. Eating your bagel in the store where you bought it will also be subject to the tax. Better to just take that whole bagel to work with you and prepare it yourself to save the 8 cents.