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5 Unusual Sales Taxes You Need To Avoid
Financial Edge/Investopedia.com ^ | January 12, 2012 | Brian O'Connell

Posted on 01/17/2012 1:03:02 PM PST by DogByte6RER

5 Unusual Sales Taxes You Need To Avoid

With the economy still struggling, states are getting fairly crafty with how they charge consumers via sales taxes. It's no secret that dubious, yet all-too enforceable government laws have been with us since the dawn of the civilized world. In ancient Egypt, the pharaohs taxed cooking oil – of course, the main seller of cooking oil was the pharaoh. During the first century AD, the Roman empire taxed urine – a popular source of ammonia for common tasks like tanning hides and cleaning clothes. Then at the height of the Dark Ages (an era in European history notorious for its poor hygiene), some European governments taxed the sale of soap!

Unfortunately, onerous and unusual state taxes are still very much with us. What are some of the biggest offenders – and are they active in your state? Here's our top five:

Food Packaging Tax

States like Colorado have a weird definition of what constitutes food packaging. In using the term "essential" in its tax language for such commodities, Colorado finds itself in the strange position of taxing paper cup lids and napkins, but not paper cups or fast-food French fry containers.

Hot Air Balloon Tax

If you're in Kansas and in the mood to take a ride in a hot air balloon, beware of the state government's "amusement" tax. State regulation makes balloon rides taxable. But there is a caveat – only balloon rides that are tied, or tethered to the ground, are considered taxable. So, if you want to avoid paying taxes when taking a balloon ride over Topeka, make sure to leave the rope at home!

Careful on That Bagel

New York State has an interesting way of handling bagels – and taxes on buying bagels. If you want to eat a bagel tax-free, don't have the deli counter "prepare" it for you (i.e., add cream cheese or cut the bagel in two pieces). Prepare that bagel yourself, and you don't have to pay a tax on it.

Wet Fuse

In West Virginia, celebrating the Fourth of July – or any celebration where fireworks are used, can lighten your wallet. The state has a special tax – on top of its 6% sales tax – on things like ladyfingers and sparklers.

Fruit Cakes

California has gone bananas over the purchase of fruit by consumers. If you buy an apple from a regular retailer, you're in good shape, as the purchase is tax-exempt. If you buy fruit from a vending machine – and who hasn't done that – you'll pay an additional 33% on the amount of the purchase.

Maybe the most egregious case of over-taxation on a state level comes from Pennsylvania, where the commonwealth actually taxes the use of air (on carwash vacuum cleaners).

The Bottom Line

The above taxes certainly aren't the only taxes on statewide level, but they are surely among the most unique.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: California; US: Colorado; US: Kansas; US: New York; US: West Virginia
KEYWORDS: greedygovernment; salestax; statetax; taxedenoughalready; taxedtodeath; taxes
Photobucket

Taxed to Death

1 posted on 01/17/2012 1:03:11 PM PST by DogByte6RER
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To: DogByte6RER
If you buy fruit from a vending machine – and who hasn't done that

I haven't. In fact, I'm not sure I know anyone who has...

2 posted on 01/17/2012 1:08:00 PM PST by WayneS (Comments now include 25% MORE sarcasm for no additional charge...)
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To: DogByte6RER
During the first century AD, the Roman empire taxed urine...

That's one sure way to pi$$ off your constituents...

3 posted on 01/17/2012 1:09:11 PM PST by WayneS (Comments now include 25% MORE sarcasm for no additional charge...)
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To: DogByte6RER

My favorite is the “Use Tax”. The state just sends you a form requiring you to disclose any product of service for which you paid no sales tax for that calendar year. So if you purchased that new tablet PC through some online retailer, guess what?


4 posted on 01/17/2012 1:10:01 PM PST by Tallguy (It's all 'Fun and Games' until somebody loses an eye!)
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To: DogByte6RER

NYS is the state that hired 50,000+ people during a recent hiring freeze. Hence the draconian taxation.


5 posted on 01/17/2012 1:16:59 PM PST by mewzilla (I'll vote for the first guy who promises to mail in his SOTU addresses.)
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To: DogByte6RER

Does anybody remember when we were the T.E.A. (Taxed ENOUGH, Already!!) party??

(Before the Media turned us into the inflamed appendix of the Republican party??)


6 posted on 01/17/2012 1:17:06 PM PST by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: Tallguy

Betcha they get LOTS of compliance on that one. /NOT


7 posted on 01/17/2012 1:20:30 PM PST by DallasDeb (usafa06mom)
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To: Uncle Ike

Oh, we’re still here, as the Moron Mainstream Media will find out in November. Count on it.


8 posted on 01/17/2012 1:20:42 PM PST by tgusa (gun control: deep breath, sight alignment, squeeze the trigger .......)
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To: WayneS

I think that was his point, in a humorously sarcastic way.


9 posted on 01/17/2012 1:20:56 PM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (We're surrounded by the enemy ... that simplifies getting to them and destroying them.)
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To: DogByte6RER

The old saying about the ability to tax is the ability to destroy, remains true as always.


10 posted on 01/17/2012 1:23:03 PM PST by SpaceBar
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

I was hoping that was the case, but since it was in reference to California I was not counting on it...


11 posted on 01/17/2012 1:25:45 PM PST by WayneS (Comments now include 25% MORE sarcasm for no additional charge...)
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To: Tallguy
My favorite is the “Use Tax”. The state just sends you a form requiring you to disclose any product of service for which you paid no sales tax for that calendar year. So if you purchased that new tablet PC through some online retailer, guess what?

I'll guess! I still leave the form blank like a do every year regardless of what I purchased online, just like I've been doing consequence free for the last decade.

12 posted on 01/17/2012 1:26:14 PM PST by apillar
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To: apillar
My favorite is the “Use Tax”.

I still leave the form blank like a do every year regardless of what I purchased online.

Careful, I recently was audited for Use Tax. The auditor went through all my credit card bill and circled each item that looked like no tax was added ($89.99, $69.95, etc) and demanded that I show a receipt for each one.

.. going back three years. Ouch.

13 posted on 01/17/2012 1:37:24 PM PST by Gideon7
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To: DogByte6RER

I think it’s time for another tea party show of force, maybe on tax day.


14 posted on 01/17/2012 1:38:51 PM PST by Daveinyork
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To: apillar

“I’ll guess! I still leave the form blank like a do every year regardless of what I purchased online, just like I’ve been doing consequence free for the last decade.”

The one that I like is you buy something from an on-line retailer outside of your state which avoids the OLR having to charge you Sales Tax. The OLR “orders your whatever from a retailer near where you live ( inside your state) and asks them to “drop ship” it to you. This gets you your order quicker and with lower shipping costs. Since the OLR made an out of state purchase, they don’t pay any sales tax either. Cool! Not feeding the beast is a good thing!


15 posted on 01/17/2012 1:46:23 PM PST by vette6387 (Enough Already!)
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To: sauropod

read


16 posted on 01/17/2012 1:47:24 PM PST by sauropod (OCCUPY THE WHITE HOUSE! Vote Republican!)
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17 posted on 01/17/2012 2:07:50 PM PST by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list)
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To: DogByte6RER
California has gone bananas over the purchase of fruit by consumers. If you buy an apple from a regular retailer, you're in good shape, as the purchase is tax-exempt. If you buy fruit from a vending machine – and who hasn't done that – you'll pay an additional 33% on the amount of the purchase.

Interesting, this is a tax on kids, and a mean one at that.

Now it becomes apparent why California food Marxists have banned all "unhealthy" foods and soda from school lunches and possession by students. It's buy fruit from vending machines or starve.

18 posted on 01/17/2012 2:21:30 PM PST by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it. (plagiarized))
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To: WayneS

It was more of an admission fee to the public urinals. Previously they were free, being paid for by the sale of urine to the laundry (ammonia from decomposing urine was the best cleaner available prior to the invention of soap).


19 posted on 01/17/2012 2:23:52 PM PST by Mountain Troll (My investment plan - Canned food and shotguns)
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To: Gideon7

Why would you supply your Credit Card Bills? Who doesn’t shred them?


20 posted on 01/17/2012 2:26:37 PM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: DogByte6RER

Another BIGGIE use for urine was in the making of salt petre for manufacturing gunpowder.

http://www.wisegeek.com/can-you-really-make-gunpowder-from-urine.htm

Urine can in fact be used in the manufacture of gunpowder, and it has historically been a very important source of one of the crucial ingredients in gunpowder, saltpeter, also known as niter. This nitrate compound is what allows gunpowder to rapidly oxidize and catch fire, generating an explosion which can be used to fire munitions. In the modern era, there are less smelly ways to get saltpeter, typically through an industrial process which uses ammonia as a base.
While you cannot literally make gunpowder from urine, as you need several other ingredients to produce gunpowder, urine can certainly be used to produce one necessary element. In addition to saltpeter, however, people also need charcoal and sulfur. These ingredients are both readily available, unlike saltpeter, so the popular stories about making gunpowder from urine do have a rational basis. Until the First World War, before people learned to reliably synthetically produce niter, urine, guano, and manure were all collected to produce gunpowder.

In the movie “1776” there is a musical scene where John Adams, in Philadelphia for deliberations during the Revolution, is communicating with Abigail back in Massachusetts, urging her and the ladies back home to make and send salt petre to Philadelphia for producing gunpowder....to which Abigail replies that the ladies in Massachusetts need PINS. Send PINS! No pins - no salt petre!
P.S. The ladies GOT their pins! ;o)


21 posted on 01/17/2012 2:30:20 PM PST by Tucker39
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To: Gideon7; apillar

Personal opinion: throw the state a bone if you are running a business. Look for a few credit card charges for online stuff; calculate the tax & mail it in. Doesn’t have to be for a whole lot. They won’t bother coming after you if you appear to have “complied.”


22 posted on 01/17/2012 3:16:12 PM PST by Tallguy (It's all 'Fun and Games' until somebody loses an eye!)
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To: Tucker39
In the movie “1776” there is a musical scene where John Adams, in Philadelphia for deliberations during the Revolution, is communicating with Abigail back in Massachusetts, urging her and the ladies back home to make and send salt petre to Philadelphia for producing gunpowder....to which Abigail replies that the ladies in Massachusetts need PINS. Send PINS! No pins - no salt petre! P.S. The ladies GOT their pins! ;o)

Actually, that was a double entendre. He was telling her that he missed her, and the saltpetre was a reference to reducing the sex drive. She was saying no, you don't need saltpetre, you need to come home (pin=phallus...)because she had urges the same as him.

23 posted on 01/17/2012 3:28:26 PM PST by jdub (A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.)
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To: WayneS
I haven't. In fact, I'm not sure I know anyone who has...

I have... The Jewish Community Center in Kansas City had a vending machine in the men's locker room (I can't say about the women's) that sold little tins of orange or apple juice, apples, oranges, and brownies.

That was back in the 1970s though.

Mark

24 posted on 01/17/2012 3:33:08 PM PST by MarkL (Do I really look like a guy with a plan?)
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To: massgopguy
"Why would you supply your Credit Card Bills? Who doesn’t shred them?"

Maybe they can order you to obtain another copy online.

25 posted on 01/17/2012 3:36:21 PM PST by Neanderthal
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To: Tallguy
"Personal opinion: throw the state a bone if you are running a business. Look for a few credit card charges for online stuff; calculate the tax & mail it in. Doesn’t have to be for a whole lot. They won’t bother coming after you if you appear to have “complied.”

They look at the items you have written off as business expenses and the purchases will show up there.

26 posted on 01/17/2012 3:39:07 PM PST by Neanderthal
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To: DogByte6RER

We have no sales tax in Oregon. However, there are special taxes on certain things, like hotel rooms.

Recently, there were billboards decrying the amount of sugar in soft drinks. I didn’t understand why state government was concerning itself with this, until quite recently.

The reason is that Multnomah County (and, presumably, other counties or the state) wants to tax soda/pop, and so the government was using tax dollars to preemptively demonize it.


27 posted on 01/17/2012 3:40:07 PM PST by B Knotts (Just another Tenther)
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To: DogByte6RER
Here's a good one:

Say you go to buy the new Iphone for $499.

However, find that you get the phone for $99, if you sign a one year contract for cellular and data services.

California still charges you sales tax on the $499.

28 posted on 01/17/2012 3:50:01 PM PST by Mr.Unique (Very generic, non-offensive, tagline.)
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To: Neanderthal

I think that you are right. If you are an individual, there’s not much chance that they will come after you. If they did, the ‘return’ would be low. OTOH, if you’re a business owner with a paper trail because you’re writing-off business expenses — GOTCHA!

I play the game.


29 posted on 01/17/2012 3:51:32 PM PST by Tallguy (It's all 'Fun and Games' until somebody loses an eye!)
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To: jdub

Wow.......I must REALLY be dense. All you say may be 100% correct......All I know is that the ladies of Massachusetts got the pins they wanted, and Philadelpia got its salt petre for gunpowder. And if John & Abigail got laid somewhere in the process, that’s all the better! ;o)


30 posted on 01/17/2012 6:56:29 PM PST by Tucker39
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To: Tallguy
disclose any product of service for which you paid no sales tax

Indiana has that asinine tax...buy something on the internet, pay no sales tax. However, on your annual state tax form, you are to declare those purchases and pay the 7% state sales tax....the revenues are so large that they probably had to set up a separate bank account just to handle the overflow......or not

31 posted on 01/17/2012 7:58:42 PM PST by terycarl (lurking, but well informed)
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