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Did you know that the Soviet Union used to tax adults for being childless?  Well believe it or not, it’s true.  To encourage more people to reproduce, childless men (aged 25-50) and women (aged 20-45) had a 6 percent tax imposed on their income.  The law was in effect from 1941 until 1992.  This is just one of the strange things that have gone down in tax history.  Keep reading for more interesting tax facts.

  1. Bottled water is taxable in Washington.  However, you can request a refund of the sales tax if the water is prescribed to you by a doctor.
  2. If you win more than $5,000 from the lottery, the IRS automatically takes 24% of your winnings.  You’ll pay the rest of your bill at tax time.
  3. In 1944, the highest U.S. tax rate was 94% for incomes over $200,000.
  4. When the IRS began requiring taxpayers to list their dependents Social Security numbers in 1987, seven million children vanished from tax returns.
  5. In 2009, citizens in Hubei, China were ordered to smoke cigarettes or pay a fine.  The country was in an economic crisis and cigarette taxes provided steady revenue, so a quota was set to increase sales.
  6. Madison Square Garden has been exempt from New York property taxes since 1982.  The agreement was only supposed to be for 10 years.  However, it was worded incorrectly so the exemption will be in effect as long as the Knicks and Rangers keep playing their home games there.
  7. In Indiana, marshmallow crème is tax exempt, but marshmallows are not.
  8. The Rhode Island individual income tax return (form RI-1040) has emoticons on it.  There’s a frowny face on the “Total Amount Due” line and a smiley face on the “Amount Overpaid” line.
  9. West Virginia charges a 12 percent “safety fee” (in addition to sales tax) when you buy fireworks.  The revenue is distributed to the Veterans’ Facility Support Fund and Fire Protection Fund.
  10. In Sweden, your child’s name must be approved by the tax agency before they turn five years old or you’ll be fined.
  11. Canadian cereal companies receive a tax break for putting a toy inside the box.
  12. Texas charges sales tax on deodorant but not on antiperspirant.  It’s exempt because the FDA requires it to be labeled with a drug facts panel.
  13. In NJ, Iowa and Pennsylvania pumpkins are exempt from sales tax if you plan to eat them.  Pumpkins painted, cut or sold as decorations are taxable. 
  14. Couples in South Carolina can earn a $50 tax credit for taking premarital courses.  Both parties must attend for a minimum of 6 hours within 12 months of applying for a marriage license. The course must be taught by a licensed professional or active member of the clergy.
  15. Bribes were tax deductible in Germany until 2002.
  16. Electric car owners in Washington must pay a $150 annual registration fee to make up for not paying gas taxes.  The registration fee for a conventional vehicle ranges from $45 to $65.
  17. Around 90% of Americans who have housekeepers and babysitters cheat on their taxes.
  18. In England it’s cheaper to buy nuts with shells.  There’s a 20% value-added tax (VAT) on de-shelled, salted and roasted nuts.
  19. Pennsylvania charges an additional 18% “flood tax” for every bottle of alcohol sold.  The law was originally designed to help rebuild Johnstown after the flood of 1936 but remains in effect today.
  20. Utah charges a 10% tax on escort services and strip clubs.
  21. Germans who have been christened or baptized must pay 8 to 9 percent of their income to the church.  If they opt out of the church tax, they can no longer attend weddings, baptisms and funerals.
  22. The U.S. federal tax code was 400 pages in 1913 and rose to 70,000 pages in 2010.
  23. Business owners in Conegliano, Italy must pay a shadow tax if their sign or awning creates shade on public walkways.
  24. Japan introduced a fat tax known as “Metabo Law” to fight obesity.  Every year adults between 40 and 74 years old must have their waists measured.  If they exceed the target (33.5 inches for men, 35.4 inches for women), they must pay a fine.
  25. ezTaxReturn.com has been the fastest and easiest way to do your taxes since 1999.