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

(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.

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Showing 3 of 13 comments
BoRainier
Apr 16, 2012 8:23 AM CDT
I don't find this so bad,. in my state regular tax for purchases is 6% and 10% at restaurants, so if I get a bagel will make not difference if is cut or not.
finkster
Apr 14, 2012 9:06 PM CDT
I'd walk down the streets of New York with a bag of freshly baked bagels. The smell would drive you crazy as your mouth watered. So on my way home I would eat one and taste the lusciousness.
brawne
Apr 14, 2012 7:43 PM CDT
The whole state thing is sorta stupid. Too bad the Civil War was about slavery and not states rights cause then states rights wouldn't be an issue--would it? Too bad we can't have a national police force or fire department instead of the mess that we got going now--wait, then you wouldn't have retired cops and fireman sucking the states to the tune of hundred and seventy thousand a year retirements. Conservatives played right into the hands of big business, but Liberals played right into the hands of unions. It's sorta a toss up to who was a nastier piece of work--Jimmy Hoffa or Sam Walton. But we live in the country that they saw fit to change to their own particular dysfunctions. Took them both to create this mess. Know who paid the bag money to Nixon to get Hoffa pardoned? The same guys who made Reagan, President. They made Carter, too so it's not a partisan thing--it's a money thing. But, keep thinking it's about your particular social issue cause that's the sleight of hand where they empty your pocket. I'm surprised that people here gripe about Obama or Mitt or Newt or whatever--we'll get exactly the guy who makes the one percent richer just like we have for decades. And it ain't Mitt.