You have no idea how many things can be taxed. And believe me, sugar is not the most surprising thing. In Turkey there used to be a tooth tax and Russians had to pay for their beards. After 1945, Polish people who were single and childless had to pay a so-called ‘bull tax’. Dalai Lama introduced taxes on playing drums, sleep, dancing at the wedding and a peaceful nap. The list below will show you even more strange taxes imposed all over the world.
#1 Shelled nuts tax – Great Britain
In the UK the nuts in shells are definitely much cheaper. The shelled ones, as well and the salty or roasted ones, are taxed (20%). Still, there is a gap in the system. The tax was not imposed on shelled but unsalted and unroasted nuts.
#2 Junk food tax in Hungary and Mexico
in 2011 the Hungarian government imposed a 4% tax on food and drinks containing a lot of salt and sugar (sweets, salty snacks, alcohol-free beverages, jams and spices). Mexico went in the same direction. The citizens of that country have to pay an 8% tax whenever they buy snacks, sweets and other foods with nutritional value over 275 kcal per 100 grams.
#3 Sun tax. The Balearic Islands
These Spanish islands are a very popular tourist destination. Perhaps this is why in 2016 they decided to introduce the sun tax. Every visitor has to pay it on arrival, one euro for each day of stay. The funds are spend on cleaning the beaches and maintaining the tourist facilities.
#4 Rice sticks tax. China
About 45 billion pair of disposable rice sticks are manufactured in Chine per year. Vast areas of forest have to be cut down to provide enough raw material. To prevent deforestation, the government decided to introduce a 5% tax on wooden rice sticks. It is to encourage citizens to switch to plastic or metal equivalents.
#5 Entertainment tax. India
India decided to tax any kind of commercial entertainment. As a result the people pay more for tickets to movie theaters, festivals, drama theaters, theme parks or exhibitions. The tax rate varies depending on a particular state or the form of entertainment.
#6 Barbecue tax, the Walloon Region, Belgium
In 2007 the local government introduced barbecue tax. It’s all because of ecologists’ calculation according to which each meal released 50 – 100 grams of greenhouse gases. Consequently, for each party you have to pay 20 Euros. I just wonder how the authorities actually track those who avoid paying that tax…
#7 Obesity tax, Japan
In 2008 Japanese government introduced the Metabo law. That means all citizens aged 40 to 74 have to get their waist measured once a year. If the circumference is over 85 centimeters (for men) or 90 cm (for women), the person has to pay a fine. This is how Japan fights obesity and wants to prevent the obesity-related illnesses.
#8 Cow gas tax, Estonia
No matter how absurd that may sound, since 2008 people in Estonia have had to pay tax on the gases released by their cows. It turns out that each cow while digesting the grass it eats generates about 1500 liters of carbon dioxide and 350 liters of methane. These gases are major pollutants and they seriously contribute to the greenhouse effect. At the same time the authorities concluded that the gases released by pigs or horses are not that hazardous.
#9 Tattoo and piercing tax. Arkansas, USA
In 2005 the Arkansas state authorities levied a tax on tattoos and piercing with view to protect their citizens against unprofessional tattoo studios and illnesses they could contract as a result of their poor performance.
#10 Shade tax. Conegliano, Italy
The owners of restaurants and shops in Conegliano (near Venice, Italy) have to pay 100 Euros per month if their sunshades or umbrellas cast a shadow on public streets. In fact this tax was introduced in 1993 in the whole country. The thing is that only one town was so officious that they went on to observe it.
#11 Belly dance. Egypt
Belly dance is an integral part of the Arabic culture. The shows are very often a part of family celebrations or a hotel attraction for the tourists. And that might have motivated the Egyptian government to tax the dancers. It is estimated that the national budget receives about 400 million USD per year thanks to the tax.