America's Weirdest State Taxes

Maine blueberries, New York bagels make ABC's odd-tax list

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 9, 2012 5:05 PM CDT | Updated Apr 14, 2012 7:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Federal taxes may provoke the loudest partisan bickering, but some states impose taxes that could leave you at a loss for words. Fur? Nudity? Bagels? You bet—not to mention blueberries and playing cards. ABC News rounds up a few of the weirdest:

  • Blueberries: Maine, which produces 99% of all US blueberries, taxes them in lots of ways: buying, selling, processing, handling, growing... everything but eating them.

  • Fur: Minnesota hits fur purchases with a 6.5% tax. Not all fur is equal, however: Your Davy Crockett cap must have three times more fur than any other material in order to be taxed.
  • Nudity: You may think the biggest nudity tax is in Nevada. But try Utah, where "nude or partially nude" workers are taxed 10% on their services. (Lawmakers know that's a cash transaction, right?)
  • Bagels: New York applies an 8% tax to bagels, but only if they're "altered" (as in sliced or cream-cheesed). Uncut bagels, no tax at all.
  • Balloon rides: Kansas differentiates the untethered from the tethered. The former constitute a form of transportation, and go untaxed. The latter are taxed as amusements.
For more odd taxes—including playing cards and a 19th-century alcohol levy—click here.

New York state taxes bagels, but only if they're "altered."   (Shutterstock)
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