Taxation is an imposition of compulsory charges on individuals or units by governments. Aside from death and change, tax is one of the only permanents in this world. Tax may seem to be complicated, but there are fun and amazing facts about it, here are some of them:
- The word “tax” is from the Latin taxo, meaning “I estimate.”
- Even Albert Einstein found taxes inscrutable. He once said, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax”.
- There are several types of taxes, including income, Social Security, sales, property, and excise taxes.
- In 2010, General Electric made over $4 billion in U.S. profits but paid $0 in taxes.
- Excise taxes are also called “sin taxes.” They are taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and gambling.
- While there’s no dodging a federal bill, seven states do not have an income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. New Hampshire and Tennessee tax only dividends and interest income.
- During the time of Julius Caesar, a 1% sales tax was imposed on all Romans. During the time of Caesar Augustus, the sales tax was 4% for slaves and 1% for everything else.
- Texas has a “pole tax” which is a tax on strip clubs, peep shows, and nude dancing. The revenue from the tax goes to sexual assault victims and health insurance for the poor.
- Biblical Israel split into two kingdoms after Solomon’s death in large part because his son the new king refused to cut taxes.
- Historians note that the origins of Hanukkah are rooted in the tax struggles of the ancient Hebrews.
- Over 1 million accountants are hired each year in America to help with taxes.
- Russian Emperor Peter the Great placed a tax on beards in 1705. He hoped that the tax would encourage men to have a clean-shaven look that was popular in Western Europe.
- In England, residents must pay a license fee for each TV in their homes. The money from this annual fee goes toward funding the BBC. The cost is 150.50 pounds for a color TV and 50.50 pounds for a black-and-white TV. The blind pay half as much.
- The U.S. Civil War was not about slavery but mainly about taxation.
- William Tell in Switzerland shot the apple of his son’s head as punishment for tax resistance.
- All winners of more than $5,000 in a lottery are subject to a 25 percent federal withholding tax, but state withholding taxes vary. In some states, such as California and Delaware, the withholding rate is zero. In Maryland, the withholding rate is 8.75 percent for residents and 7.5 percent for non-residents. And that’s just what the states take immediately; the winner may be required to pay additional taxes when filing a return.
- Fortunetellers, astrologers, and witches were added to Romania’s labor code in 2011, meaning they have to pay income tax and contribute to the country’s social programs. Some witches cast curses on the government in response, although others felt it legitimized their work.
- In Roman times, urine and ammonia within it were collected for uses such as tanning and laundering. Emperor Vespasian imposed a tax on the buyers of urine from public urinals. Today words for “urinal” in French, Italian, and Romanian are derived from the emperor’s name.
- Alabama is the only state in the United States to impose a 10¢ playing card tax for decks of cards purchased in the state. In contrast, Nevada issues free decks of card with every tax return filed.
- Americans spend over $27.7 billion every year doing their taxes.
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Written by: Abegail Galang
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