Top 12 weirdest tax rules around the world

Countries across the globe have justified deductions, extra percentages, and wacky ways of coming up with tax revenue. Here's a countdown of the 12 strangest tax laws around the world.

2. Germany: tax deduction on bribes

Udo Weitz/AP/File
A money changer shows euro and dollar bills at his outlet in downtown Frankfurt, Germany in this 2003 file photo.

Under certain circumstances, bribery was legal in Germany up until 2002.

That isn’t the weirdest part. Bribes were also tax-deductible, according to a 1995 Businessweek editorial. It was a rarely used rule, says Businessweek-- you had to name the parties involved. There were also certain stipulations, including: “deductions for bribes were not allowed if either the briber or the recipient had been subject to criminal penalties or criminal proceedings which were discontinued on the basis of a discretionary decision by the prosecution” according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Businessweek recommended the country end this practice (as it added 20 to 30 percent to public contracts) but it took Germany until 1999 to end tax deductions for bribery altogether. 

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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