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The Top 10 Strangest Taxes Worldwide

Can you imagine a world where you have to pay tax to get a tattoo? That’s the case in the US state of Arkansas, where a 6% “beautification tax” goes to the treasury.

Even the oldest trade in human history is taxed – since 2004, Cologne has levied a “sex tax,” prostitutes pay €150 in taxes on average. As a result, the city takes just under 1 million per month for this tax.

But strange taxes don’t just stop there – have you ever heard of the following strange tax laws?


Rank #10 – Bathroom tax

There is a saying “money doesn’t stink” that dates back to a dispute between the Roman emperor Vespasian (69 to 79) and his son Titus. The emperor demanded a tax from every citizen that used a public toilet – Titus was against this tax and tried with all his might to sway his father’s decision but was unsuccessful.

Rank #9 – Beard tax

Tsar Peter the Great, who lived from 1672 to 1725, took 50 rubles a year from anyone who refused to cut off their beard. To the regent’s sorrow, the tax failed to generate the desired revenue.


Rank #8 – Window tax

In France, there was a tax on windows and doors up until the 19th century. This was measured by a residence’s number of inhabitants, location, and number of doors and windows. Even today, you can see bricked up windows and doors on particularly old buildings – especially the front part of the house which usually consisted of only an entrance and small window.

Rank #7 – Wig tax

In the 17th and 18th centuries, it was not all that uncommon for ladies and gentlemen to wear wigs – however, one had to be able to afford them! Frederick I of Prussia came up with the idea that 3 thalers had to be paid for each wig displayed in public.


Rank #6 – Nile mud tax

The pharaohs of ancient Egypt levied a tax from farmers if their fields were flooded with mud after a Nile flood. After all, mud was considered particularly fertile for a long time – so the higher the mud level, the more expensive the tax became for the farmers!

Rank #5 – Princess tax

This tax can be derived from the medieval feudal law – it meant that vassals had to pay a tax to their liege lord as soon as a daughter married into the ruling house. The money was spent on provisions for the princess.


Rank #4 – Turkish tax

In 1481, Emperor Frederick III was urged by the imperial estates to charge a tax on Turkish people. During war times when Turkish armies advanced into the West, European rulers used the money from the tax to finance armies and their equipment.

Rank #3 – Flight ticket tax

Have you ever heard of the “Unitaid” fund? We didn’t either – until recently. Brazil and France charge a tax rate of up to 85% on airline tickets to Africa to financially support aid projects.


Rank #2 – Fireworks tax

The US celebrates their national holiday every year on July 4th with proper ruckus, noise, and naturally, fireworks. In the state of West Virginia, an extra tax of 6% is taken for each firework. The celebration quickly becomes a cash cow for the state.

Rank #1 – Sugar fat tax

This tax isn’t yet in effect, but professionals have been calling for higher taxes on unhealthy foods for years. Instead of 7% sales tax for fast food, chips, cola, etc, this would raise to 19%. This tax aims to halt the increasing number of people suffering from diabetes each year.