Huffpost Money
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Mark Steber Headshot

There's a Tax on What?

Posted: Updated:

I spend a lot of time reviewing the latest tax laws and how they can affect you, but it's fun every now and again to take a step back and look at some of the stranger nuances of tax law. Check out a few of the more unique taxes I collected from across the country:

Illegal Drugs
In at least 23 states there is a tax on illegal drugs. For example, when you buy an illegal drug, like marijuana or even moonshine, in Tennessee, you have 48 hours to report it to the Department of Revenue to pay your tax and get a stamp for the substance.

If the law sounds absurd, it's only because of the way it was worded. The real end result is that people are taxed on drugs found in their possession when they're busted. They are also subject to tax penalties if they didn't get their stamp before they were busted. This has created a new revenue stream for the state or county.

Are you thirsty?
Fountain soda drinks in Chicago are taxed at 9 percent, but if it comes in a bottle or can then it's only taxed at 3 percent.

$25 Per Limb
The state of Oregon offers a $50 tax credit for the permanent and complete loss of the use of two limbs. So if a resident loses function of two arms, two legs, or one of each, they are eligible, according to the Oregon Department of Revenue. A county public health officer must sign a form confirming eligibility, and then the individuals are eligible for an annual $50 credit.

It's Not So "Taxing" Getting Old
In New Mexico, centenarians, those 100 years of age or older, are exempt from paying income taxes. So long as these people are not claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer, they will qualify.

To Tether or Not to Tether
Want to take a ride in a hot air balloon? Well, if you're in Kansas, hot air balloon rides are taxed as amusements, but only if the balloon is tethered. The Kansas Department of Revenue ruled that if a hot air balloon is not tied down, is piloted, and travels some distance downwind from a launching point, that the ride is considered a form of transportation, and is exempt from state sales tax under the federal Anti-Head Tax Act.

What's the craziest tax you've ever heard of?