Dogs, fat and toilets are among them
Your sweet tooth may start eating up your wallet.
Seattle recently voted to impose a 1.75-cent tax on soda, becoming the eighth city to tax sugary drinks, NBC reports. The city plans to use the tax revenue to expand access to education and nutrition for low-income residents, Mayor Ed Murray announced in February.
Berkeley, Calif. was the first city to pass such a tax, followed by Philadelphia and Cook County, Ill. The sellers aren’t happy: The Illinois Retail Merchants Association and a group of grocers filed a lawsuit in June to block Cook County’s tax on constitutional grounds, and Philadelphia is in the midst of legal battles with a number of beverage vendors.
But backlash aside, the tax works, research shows. The Public Library of Science found that Berkeley’s tax drove soda sales down by 10 percent, and sales of water, tea, juice, and vegetable drinks rose around 20 percent in response.
But soda isn’t even the weirdest thing that cities tax. Here are five taxes you didn’t know people pay around the world:
Dogs: The Netherlands and Germany both tax dog ownership. The price is steep, and it rises for each dog: An owner in The Hague can be expected to pay 111 euros ($roughly 127) or their first pup, and 287 euros (roughly $328) for their second.
Fat: Under Japan’s “Metabo Law,” obesity is literally illegal. Men and women are required to keep their waistlines under a certain size (33.5 inches for men, 35.4 inches for women). Companies and local governments are required to measure the waistlines of their citizens aged 40 to 74. Companies and towns who don’t cut obesity rates enough face stiff fines, sometimes up to $19 million, a Japanese company told Mic.
Toilet flushing: Since 2005, Maryland residents have been paying a “flush tax” — which is a tax on their sewage bills of $60 a year. The state uses the revenue to upgrade sewage-treatment plants, upgrade septic systems, and plant cover crops in septic fields.
Tanning: To combat skin cancer and raise revenue for Obamacare, the Obama administration passed a tax on tanning in 2010. Tanning businesses are required to charge a 10% tax on their services, unless they are performed by a “licensed medical professional,” according to the IRS. With an average tanning session costing anywhere from $7 to $25, the tax can add up to $2.50 to a typical bill. In March, a Republican congressman called the tax an undue burden on women and small businesses, and suggested that Democrats “tax the sun instead.”
Tires: New York State collects $2.50 for each tire sold in the state, to pay for tire disposal and recycling. Don’t worry: Tires for go-carts, skateboards, scooters, and golf carts are exempt.
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