Peter the Great is known best as a trailblazer who modernized Russia, but he got his start traveling undercover through Europe and stealing its ideas. The tzar would industrialize his country’s military, revise its calendar – and shave its men.
After all, how could his countrymen compete with Europe while sporting whiskers? He figured they needed to look more like their clean-shaven European counterparts. But eventually Peter I realized that policing their beards wasn’t the best use of his power. Instead, he could charge them for the privilege of having facial hair. And so in 1696, Peter I’s so-called beard tax became a law.
We all know the old quote about the inevitability of death and taxes. And apparently weird taxes are also a certainty in life. Until 1998, for instance, Germany actually granted tax deductions for bribes and kickbacks, treating them as legitimate business expenditures.
That’s no longer the case, but meanwhile, other bewildering tax laws have stayed on the books. And governments keep coming up with new ones. (Read about the states where people are paying the most taxes).
24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of the 25 most unusual taxes and tax exemptions across the globe, using various departments of revenue, the World Health Organization, and the British Film Commission, as well as archived news articles about changes in tax laws.
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