Benjamin Franklin famously stated, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes,” yet few know this fascinating fact about taxes: their meaning comes from Latin “taxare,” which literally translates as “to assess.” Also consider this fun fact about ancient Egyptians paying their taxes with honey as it surely must have made them much sweeter!
With these lesser-known facts about taxes at our fingertips, let’s delve further into its rich and amusing history!
The Tax Man Cometh
Our modern concept of taxation dates all the way back to ancient Mesopotamia where residents paid taxes on things such as cooking oil. England then introduced what’s known as scutage – an arrangement in which knights could pay a fee instead of military service – similar to modern day taxes! So the next time you complain about filing your taxes, keep this history in mind: one day soon enough you could be making payments made out in oil or attending a joust instead!
Bit by the Bitcoin Bug: Crypto Taxes are a Thing!
Although our world may have gone digital, Uncle Sam still holds his finger firmly! Anyone who has explored cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Dogecoin (who doesn’t love memes?) needs to understand how taxes apply when using these platforms. If you have made a fortune from cryptocurrency investments, your tax party could include an unexpected guest. That is because the IRS treats cryptocurrencies not as currencies (ironic!) but property for tax purposes – meaning if your digital goldmine has produced profits worth millions then capital gains tax might apply.
Crypto and taxes – an unlikely couple? But be wary: cryptocurrency tax rules can be complex, so before diving in headfirst, make sure to seek professional advice or do your own due diligence as to avoid getting bit by the Bitcoin Tax Bug!
Ah, sugar! Who could resist its delicious sweetness? But did you know it can also harm both our waistlines and wallets? Enter ‘Sugar Tax! This curious tax, similar to its name, is calculated based on the sugar content in soft drinks we enjoy – higher the sugar, the higher the tax – all to help curb consumption of sweet beverages and combat obesity. So next time you sip an extra sweet soda remember not only could this put more money out of your pockets than in; its sweet (yet slightly sour) taste of the Sugar Tax!
The Beard Tax: A Hair-Raising Tale
Here’s an interesting ‘beardy’ fact for those of you who enjoy growing facial hair: did you know there was once a time when men who sport beards were taxed for doing so? Yes, indeed – men were subject to a so-called ‘Beard Tax’! This charming tax tale takes us back to 16th-century Russia, where Peter the Great decided to modernize Russia through taxing beards in an attempt to promote a cleaner and ‘more civilized’ European look.
So if you were a man sporting a beard, or desired to keep one, a tax was levied against those with bristly pride to cover their facial fuzz and raise funds for the Treasury. When petting or caring for your beard next time, spare a thought for those who had to pay to display it – it would certainly put things into perspective!
Welcome the Taxing Times
While taxes may take a significant chunk out of our paychecks, they certainly don’t lack in terms of intrigue and surprise. From paying livestock taxation to beard taxes – it brings plenty of amusing moments! So next time tax season gets you down just remember this – things could always be worse and your payments could even include cows!
For more info on saving money during tax season, check out the infographic below:
Infographic provided by Mowery & Schoenfeld, an individual tax services company