Top 12 weirdest tax rules around the world

When most people think taxes, usually the first word that comes to mind isn't "logical". It appears that is true outside of the United States as well. Countries across the globe have justified deductions, extra percentages, and wacky ways of coming up with tax revenue. Here's a countdown of the strangest tax laws around the world.

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma/File
Tamara Schirrmacher dresses up as The Statue of Liberty as she holds chains that she says represents the national debt during a Tax Day Tea Party in Pleasanton, Calif. in 2009.

12. United States: tethered hot air balloon tax

Brian Nicholson/Standard-Examiner/AP
Wonder Bread balloon pilot Chris Sabia is followed by cameraman Cordell Wolking as he and his crew set up the balloon for the Eden Balloon Festival in Eden Utah, Aug. 23, 2002.

With the United States it was pretty hard to choose just one weird tax rule— we have lots of them. Between deductions for donating a deer carcass in South Carolina, clarinet lessons, and pet moving (it counts as a personal affect), it would seem one of our crafty, weird deductions would make the global list.  

Kansas has one tax rule that is strange enough to make it to the world stage: hot air balloons not tethered to the ground get a tax break.

Here's how it works: Kansas taxes sales of admissions for “any place providing amusement, entertainment or recreation services”. However under the federal Anti-Head Tax Act, states and local jurisdictions are prohibited from imposing fees and charges on airlines and other airport users. So in 2010, Kansas tackled the question of whether hot air balloons are should be subject to the state or federal law. The result? Hot air balloons that are tethered to the ground – and stay there – are taxed, because technically their occupants don’t go anywhere. Hot air balloons that are piloted “some distance downwind from the launching point” – i.e: the ones that actually travel – don’t have to pay the amusement tax.  

So if you want to take a tax-free ride in a hot air balloon, make sure it's actually going somewhere. 

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