The sad fact of life is that governments need money to operate on behalf of their citizens, and the best way to obtain that money is through taxation. Some governments get pretty creative on how they collect those taxes!
- In the 1700s, Peter the Great put a tax on beards to encourage his people to adopt the more modern, westernized look of clean-shaven faces.
- For centuries, French citizens had to pay a tax on salt. It was so universally reviled, it became one of the reasons for the French revolution!
- Queen Anne introduced a British tax on printed wallpaper. To avoid it, contractors would install plain wallpaper and then hand-paint the designs on it.
- England currently has a tax on televisions (called the “television license”) charged for each television owned. It finances the BBC’s programming.
- Pittsburgh, PA charges an “amusement tax” of 5% on anything that may allow “people to engage in entertainment”.