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Strangest Tax Laws Around the World

Europa Trust Company Ltd
09 June, 2016

Countries across the Globe have created strange and unusual tax laws as methods of generating revenue. Europa Trust Company Ltd explores four of the strangest tax laws from history and around the world.

1. Russia: Beard Tax

Peter the Great was one of the most famous Tzars of Russia during the 1700’s. At the time most of the male population in Russia wore and grew beards. 

When Peter the Great visited Western Europe, he found many of the European courts were filled with clean-shaven men. He was so impressed with this notion that he wanted to bring it to his court. He therefore devised a Beard Tax to ensure that the Russian population followed the new fashion trend.

In order to have a beard, one had to carry a token showing one had paid their Beard Tax. Despite many Russian men being displeased with the tax law, Peter the Great ruled Russia for 43 years.

2. Denmark: Cow Flatulence Tax

Large data research proves that factories and cars are a great source of pollution.  Recently, the European Union has found an unusual culprit for creating pollution emissions- cows -specifically, methane released by cows. 

The EU Research has shown that farm livestock is estimated to create 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. The methane that is put into the atmosphere by the cows is 24 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

In order to curb the cow fuelled greenhouse gas problem, Denmark has adopted taxes on cows. Each cow is taxed £75.00 (96.00 Euro). The estimated average cow herd size in Denmark by 2020 will be 301 cows.

3. Sweden: Baby Names Require Tax Agency Approval

Swedish parents are required to have their child's name approved by the Swedish tax agency before their child turns five. If parents fail to do so, they can be fined up to 5,000 kroner  £535.00). 

The law was implemented to prevent Swedish citizens from using royal names. The Swedish tax agency claim the law can protect a child from an offensive or confusing name.

In the past the tax agency has rejected child names such as "Ikea" and "Brfxxccxxmnpcccllmnprxvclmnckssqlbb1116" (A parent attempted to name their child this in protest of the law). However, "Google" and "Lego" were recently allowed.

Recent research concluded that Swedes overwhelmingly have a positive view of their tax agency.

4. China: Pro-cigarette Smoking Tax Revenue

Many smokers around the world are used to paying high taxes on cigarettes. Countries claim the high taxes on cigarettes are to encourage people to stop smoking. The citizens of the central-Chinese Hubei province found themselves in the opposite situation: smoke cigarettes or face a fine.

In 2009 China was facing a tough economic crisis. Officials in the province decided that the best way to boost and increase tax revenue was to set quotas for cigarette pack sales. The goal of the tax was to gain revenue from cigarette taxes and encourage financial prosperity for China's local cigarette makers.

Villages were ordered to purchase cartons of cigarettes for officials and teachers were given smoking quotas.

Today, cigarette sales account for a large percentage of tax revenue in China. The World Health Organization estimates that China smokes one out of every three cigarettes in the world. 

About the Author

Europa Trust Company Ltd

At Europa, we provide bespoke company and fiduciary services to individuals, families, businesses and intermediaries at competitive professional rates. We can deliver and manage on a daily basis simple or complex corporate and trust structures in virtually any jurisdiction. Our extensive expertise and understanding of each structure's individual requirements is matched by a wide range of supporting services. www.europa.gi


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