Strange, Weird, & Unusual Taxes Throughout History

We’re just a few days away from the tax deadline in the U.S. (April 18 this year.) As you prepare for many happy returns, check out this list of bizarre taxes.

• In the 1700s, England placed a tax on bricks. Builders soon realized that they could use bigger bricks (and thus fewer bricks) to pay less tax. Soon after, the government caught on and placed a larger tax on bigger bricks. Brick taxes were finally repealed in 1850.

• In 1705, Russian Emperor Peter the Great placed a tax on beards, hoping to force men to adopt the clean-shaven look that was common in Western Europe.

• In 1712, England imposed a tax on printed wallpaper. Builders avoided the tax by hanging plain wallpaper and then painting patterns on the walls.

• In 1795, England put a tax on the aromatic powders that men and women put on their wigs. This led to a dramatic decline in the popularity of wigs.

• In 2005, Tennessee began requiring drug dealers to anonymously pay taxes on any illegal substances they sold.

• In Kansas, untethered hot air balloon rides are exempt from sales tax because they are considered a legitimate form or air transportation. Tethered hot air balloon rides, on the other hand, are considered to be an amusement ride and therefore are subject to sales tax.