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Quirkiest taxes of 2010

States collect levies on bagels, belt buckles, cup lids and haunted houses. Balloon rides? It depends.

By Teresa Mears Dec 22, 2010 6:12PM

This post is from Reuters' Prism Money.


What are the oddest, quirkiest and downright weirdest tax laws of 2010?


According to the Onesource Tax & Accounting unit of Thomson Reuters, some of the year’s most unusual taxes include:


Bagel tax in New York


Florida has oranges. Wisconsin has cheese. And New York has bagels. New York residents paid approximately 8 to 9 cents more per bagel in 2010 because the state cracked down on tax-evading food preparers.


If you buy a whole bagel and take it home with you, it is exempt from tax. However, if you purchase that same bagel and eat it at the bagel shop, you pay a sales tax on the purchase price. Happily, there’s still no eating-at-your-desk tax.


The state of Washington enacted legislation in June that made candy without flour taxable. As a result, “Rainbow Whirly Pops” and “Lemon Drops” were taxable, but “Twizzlers” and “Peppermint Bark Shortbread” remained exempt. Sweeter teeth prevailed, however. The law was repealed Dec. 2.


Belt buckles and rubber boots in Texas


It’s taxing to be a rancher in Texas these days. Belts are exempt from tax, but belt buckles are not. Cowboy boots and hiking boots are exempt, but rubber boots and climbing boots are taxable. Instead of “all hat, no cattle,” watch for the “all belt, no buckle” look for those at home on the range.


Cup lids in Colorado


Colorado eliminated a tax exemption for non-essential food items and packaging provided with purchased food and beverage items on March 1. Cups are considered essential, but lids are not. The message? Protect the environment. But walk very carefully.


Haunted houses in New York


Admission to haunted houses is subject to the New York sales tax, according to this tax ruling. We hope all of the state’s ghosts and goblins won’t relocate to New Jersey.


Hot air balloons in Kansas


This one is a bit lofty: Kansas typically taxes admission to amusement, entertainment or recreation services. The question was not whether balloon rides are entertaining, but whether federal law preempts the imposition of state sales tax on sales of those rides. That’s because states and local jurisdictions are prohibited from imposing fees and charges on airlines and other airport users.


State sales tax can be imposed on tethered balloon rides. But the state decided that untethered balloon rides (where the balloon is actually piloted by someone to land ”some distance downwind from the launching point”) would be considered carrying passengers in air commerce -- and not taxable.


That’s not a bad deal. Rumor has it, the seats are more comfortable and the security precautions less onerous than at the local airport, too.


More from MSN Money:


Dec 23, 2010 10:46AM
Hear, hear, Micky!

Income tax is the most reprehensible tax there is.  I wonder what I could afford for myself and my family if the government was not stealing thousands from me to feed Ethiopians or give cruise missiles to Israel or occupy Iraq an Afghanistan?

Can you imagine?

Dec 23, 2010 4:57AM
How about the "income" tax? A tax just for exercising your right to exchange your labor for wages! A tax that truly makes you a SLAVE to government!
Jan 3, 2011 5:38PM
Heaven forbid if you actually own a company that employs people.  Went to IRS office-told them I needed 190 of the 1099 forms . "I can only have 5 per visit." But I prepare these forms FOR the IRS so the IRS can see how much I paid contractors who work for my Company. They said they dont care. "go on line - they'll mail them to you- takes 30 days" was the answer. But, I want (need- mandated by the IRS) to report those amounts by January 31st to whom I paid the amounts to so (you-the IRS) can collect. "Dont Matter" was the answer!! 
Dec 23, 2010 6:21PM
Hahahaha, you can thank the Ghostbusters and the darn Staypuff Marshmellow man for that haunted tax in New York. They're still cleaning up after that mess..Feel the love...
Dec 23, 2010 1:48PM
And another thing you idiots--you won't pay enough in all of the taxes you pay to build a quarter mile of freeway.  Unless you want to do that and many other things, pay your fricking taxes.
Dec 23, 2010 1:46PM
Hey  Like your roads and bridges, your air traffic controllers, your roads plowed, your vehicles tested for safety (among many more).   Pay your fricking taxes and stop complaining.
Dec 23, 2010 6:17PM
When we looked at how much income tax we are paying it works out that 4 months of the year my husband working solely for the US government.  One third of everything he makes is taken away to be spent on things we are vehemently opposed to.  If everyone decided they were just going to sit back and get the freebies our country would be seriously endangered.  It's time to stop abusing the people who work hard in order to support people who don't. 
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