10 Interesting Facts About Taxes

Taxes are compulsory levies on income and profits from the government that help raise the government revenue. Taxes have been around for a long time.

Below are 10 quite interesting facts about taxes:

The word tax is derived from the Latin word taxo which directly translates to “I estimate”.

Taxes have been imposed by various governments since the times of ancient civilizations. There are records that prove taxing was conducted in the ancient Mesopotamia dating back to 2500 B.C. if you didn’t have a money back then, you were to pay taxes with foodstuff, livestock or labor.

The United States, apart from Eritrea in Africa, is the other only known country in the world that forces its citizens who live and work outside the country to pay income tax. This is a strategy that has resulted in the emigration of citizens who also renounce their US citizenship to avoid paying taxes.

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In the 1st Century A.D., the Roman emperor Vespasian proposed and imposed a tax on urine. During that time, urine had a high demand as it was considered a source of ammonia used for tanning hides and garment laundering.

The first ever paid income tax was collected in England in 1404 A.D. This tax was hated so much, that it was removed and all records pertaining to the tax were burned. It was later in 1798 that the Prime Minister imposed income taxes to pay for the Napoleonic Wars’ weapons and equipment.

The United States Federal Tax Code had only 400 pages as of 1913. Currently, it has more than 70,000 pages with a total word count of 3,700,000. This exceeds all the word count in the Bible (700,000), the Atlas Shrugged (645,000) and the Declaration of Independence combined.

The highest corporate income tax rate in the whole world is imposed in New York City in the United States of America. According to reports, the figure stands at 46.2%. The second highest is 42.3% for Illinois, followed by 41% in Japan. This is too much compared to the lowest 10% paid in Macedonia, Bulgaria and Cyprus.

The former Emperor of All Russia, Peter the Great (1682-1725), once implemented a tax on beards. There were also other taxes, on souls, boots, basements, birth, beehives, hats, chimneys, food, marriage and even burial.

Romania is the only country to add witches, astrologers and fortune tellers to the labor code in the year 2011. This meant that they had to pay income taxes from their work to contribute to the government revenue. This was taken with mixed feelings; some cast spells on the government for imposing a tax while others felt that it made their work more legitimate.

Excise duty on products and services that are considered harmful to human beings are commonly referred to as sin taxes. These include taxes on alcohol, gambling, tobacco and even fast food in some instances. Such a tax is imposed in Utah’s strip clubs where there is a display of partial or full nudity, as well as all the food and drinks sold in the premises.