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Noting lessons your nerves than when you hear that your tax refund has been received. Taxes have chased even the worst the worst criminals in U.S.A. now in India with various latitudes and funny ways. Let us just enjoy the taxing centuries which have too many twists and turns.

it was on September 5th 1698 that Russian tsar Peter the Great introduced his famed beard tax. England was not left behind.  King Henry VIII of England – himself of a bearded persuasion – introduced facial hair taxation more than a century and a half earlier.

Yes, all retail shoppers have to get permission to sell hats and exhibit this information too.

Yes, English lords paid coward tax and got free from fighting the wars. As recently as 2005, crack tax was held unconstitutional by the supreme court of Utah.

Great Britain charged window tax in the 18th century both on rich and poor and hence most of the houses landed with one window, less ventilation and skin disease.

Wallpaper tax in 1717 but with plain wall paper on the walls and painting  with hands got the trick done.

Powder tax on wigs smelling nicely in 1795 brought wigs on the demise.

Because today, in Texas, there is an extra tax on belt buckles. All the other gear—the belt, boots, hat, and all the rest of the gear aren’t subject to extra taxes, but according to Texas law, the buckle itself is considered an accessory, not essential clothing, and therefore subject to an additional 6.25% sales tax.

Can you tell me whether there is GST on belts sold in shops proudly?

Bricks with larger size attracting lesser tax but with its abolition in 1850, the size of the bricks do tell their own stories to the visitors of UK now. The noble reason was to finance fight Americans in their independent war.

Hot air balloon rides invite sales tax in Kansas, U.S.A.

Interesting quote from somewhere in internet. “Studies have found that methane released from cows may account for up to 18% of Europe’s greenhouse gasses, so several European countries impose a tax on farmers in order to curb the bovine-fueled gas epidemic. Denmark takes the brunt of it — each flatulent cow costs farmers as much as $110.”

Recently Chinese state governments forcibly encouraged smoking of cigarettes to help its growers of tobacco. But not today, at least.

Abraham Lincoln signed the Revenue Act in 1861, which imposed the first-ever federal income tax. To mobilize funds for the Civil War, Lincoln and Congress enacted a modest 3 percent tax on income over $800, which would be nearly $23,000 today.

Some more funny tax stories again.

In 1836, the federal government of USA had $ 30 million excess tax collected which were returned to the state governments. One lady who lived up to 102 years in Maine bought nice candle sticks out of $2 refund that she got. Still kept in an exhibition, I was told that they smile at you if you carefully notice them.

In 1952, Joseph Nunan, who was the IRS commissioner from 1944 to 1947, was caught evading over $90,000 in taxes. He was jailed for 5 years. Jokingly, tax evader prescribing tax codes indeed.

Mob boss Al Capone, on whose name ‘God father film’ was made ran a criminal enterprise and regularly ordered hits on his enemies—but he wasn’t sent to prison for murder. Instead, he was charged with tax evasion and fraud, and was sentenced to 11 years.

Interestingly, while interviewing me in one of the prestigious jobs as a CPA, one of the board members, enquired about this ill reputed character.

Recently, the courts ordered the release of tax records of one of its former presidents of USA who reportedly paid no taxes on its income.

Over to India and income tax

Let us look at Indian government income tax website………..

“In India, the system of direct taxation as it is known today, has been in force in one form or another even from ancient times. There are references both in Manu Smriti and Arthasastra to a variety of tax measures. Manu, the ancient sage and law-giver stated that the king could levy taxes, according to Sastras. The wise sage advised that taxes should be related to the income and expenditure of the subject.

He, however, cautioned the king against excessive taxation and stated that both extremes should be avoided namely either complete absence of taxes or exorbitant taxation. According to him, the king should arrange the collection of taxes in such a manner that the subjects did not feel the pinch of paying taxes.

He laid down that traders and artisans should pay 1/5th of their profits in silver and gold, while the agriculturists were to pay 1/6th, 1/8th and 1/10th of their produce depending upon their circumstances. The detailed analysis given by Manu on the subject clearly shows the existence of a well-planned taxation system, even in ancient times. Not only this, taxes were also levied on various classes of people like actors, dancers, singers and even dancing girls. Taxes were paid in the shape of gold-coins, cattle, grains, raw-materials and also by rendering personal service.”

I am sorry, I can’t abridge the noble voice of our income tax history which obviously, most of us never dreamt of reading even once,

Tax on international trade, sales tax on daily sales, total up keep of land ownings and the production of agriculture or other produce were never moved away from the Eagle eyes of the kings who ruled us.

Unfortunately, hardy any interesting tit bits on our national income tax over the centuries hardly enthrall my heart.

I doubt we were real mahatmas in paying the taxes and our noble men or their paramour allowed timely payment of taxes.

What was the King Kautilya’s attitude towards taxes?

For copious reasons, I shall talk from the web site of Income tax which beautifully describes why the taxes were collected, how they were organized and what justification given for poor to be taken care of.

Kautilya has also described in great detail the system of tax administration in the Mauryan Empire. It is remarkable that the present-day tax system is in many ways similar to the system of taxation in vogue about 2300 years ago. According to the Arthasastra, each tax was specific and there was no scope for arbitrariness.

He placed land revenues and taxes on commerce under the head of tax revenues. These were fixed taxes and included half yearly taxes like Bhadra, Padika, and Vasantika. Custom duties and duties on sales, taxes on trade and professions and direct taxes comprised the taxes on commerce.

The non-tax revenues consisted of produce of sown lands, profits accruing from the manufacture of oil, sugarcane and beverage by the State, and other transactions carried on by the State.

Commodities utilized on marriage occasions, the articles needed for sacrificial ceremonies and special kinds of gifts were exempted from taxation. All kinds of liquor were subject to a toll of 5 precent. Tax evaders and other offenders were fined to the tune of 600 panas.

My observations

People talk as if the income tax was born on account of British and the Chartered accountant was the first to teach us the rudiment of Taxes to us.

Our kings totally obedient to our shastras which were written over the study of human behavior over the centuries governed our living and it is no brainer that our budget reads like a copy of olden times transcript of tax declaration of our kings, treasurers and the small rulers.

So many have written about History of Taxation Post 1922 form income tax web site and hence, it is of no joy for me to cover again.

Do you know?

Alcohol tax is 18% in Pennsylvania?

Why not live up to 100 years and pay no income tax in New Mexico?

No. no. no. Please do not cut bagels in New York which attracts tax on cut bagel.

Tax on tattoos in Arkansas if you want them there.

Maine’s blue berry tax @ 1.5 cents per pound but be happy it goes towards research and development.

Illinoi State charges a 6.25% tax for candy, but only those made without flour.

 Indian Income tax website :


All information which made me happy are reproduced in one form or other regarding taxes particularly in view of dreary Income tax to be laid on the house of our Parliament during February 2023.

Why not some one does write funny stories on income tax which will make us happy. Some one said, tax and death are certain whether one likes them or not.

But being interlinked with human race since more than 5000 years, some amusing instances do uplift our energies.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for information purposes only and do not constitute an advice or a legal opinion and are personal views of the author. It is based upon relevant law and/or facts available at that point of time and prepared with due accuracy & reliability. Readers are requested to check and refer relevant provisions of statute, latest judicial pronouncements, circulars, clarifications etc. before acting because of the above write up. The possibility of other views on the subject matter cannot be ruled out. By use of the said information, you agree that Author/Tax Guru is not responsible or liable in any manner for the authenticity, accuracy, completeness, errors, or any kind of omissions in this piece of information for any action taken thereof. This is not any kind of advertisement or solicitation of work by a professional

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May 2024