Thursday, October 21, 2010

Other states have quirky tax laws too

Last week a Utah tax grabbed local headlines - not because of its impact, but because of its quirkiness.

The topic of interest was sexually explicit businesses, also known as S.E.B.'s, which sounds better in a public setting than S.O.B.'s (sexually oriented businesses).

Here's the Reader's Digest version: In 2004, the Legislature passed a 10 percent tax on admission and sales of merchandise, food, drink and services for sexually explicit businesses. The Tax Commission determined that escort services did not qualify as S.E.B.s because of the broad language in the law. The Utah Supreme Court upheld the Tax Commission decision and then the U.S. Supreme Court decided against hearing the Utah case.

Currently, the law impacts only one Utah business.

Here's a sampling that financial expert Casey Bond posted in a column of strange taxes and deductions scatttered throughout the U.S. of A.

- Electrolysis treatments, tattoos and body piercings are taxed an additional 10 percent sales tax in Arkansas.

- Pet owners in Durham County, North Carolina must list pets as personal property and pay taxes on them. If Fluffy is fixed it's 10 bucks; otherwise $75 to tax collector.

- Clothing retailers in Minnesota pay a 6.5 percent tax for goods comprised of three times more fur than the next most valuable materal used to make it.

- Alabama charges 10 cent tax on any pack of cards that contains 54 or fewer in the deck. The seller must pay another buck and an annual license tax of $3.

- In addition to all the other costs for civil and criminal litigation, Tennessee charges a tax of $25 per court case.

- Alaska whaling boat captains can write off 10 Grand for anything they spend on boat repar and other whaling expenses.

I'm just a little disappointed that Utah's brine shrimp tax missed the list.

Peace, love and all that Jazz. Charlie

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