If you’ve ever dealt with sales tax rules, then you know there are some crazy laws about how to tax products. But do you know exactly how crazy it gets? Do you?

In this episode of Will’s Whiteboard, Will humorously points out six of the craziest U.S. tax laws, including tax rules for items like planes-with-no-pilots, sparkly capes, and hairy chests indoor swimming pools. Enjoy, and let us know your favorite one in the comments.

Transcript

Hi. Welcome to Will’s Whiteboard, I’m Will. Let’s talk about six silly sales tax laws, starting with candy. Most people know that candy is taxable in most states. Now, what you may not know is that for example this Twix bar has flour listed in the first three ingredients; therefore some states consider it a food. Therefore some states exempt it from sales tax. Why the heck would they do that? Well flour is wheat, ever heard of agricultural subsidies? So most crazy sales tax laws actually have reasons behind them, but business can’t always see those reasons and the onus still remains on them to comply with sales tax law.

Let’s look at more crazy laws. In Colorado cups are exempt from sales tax but not straws and lids. In Nebraska, outdoor pool cleaning services are exempt from sales tax. If it’s indoor pool cleaning services, it is not exempt from sales tax. In New York if you charter a flight it is sales tax exempt if you have a pilot. If you don’t have a pilot then you have to pay sales tax. In Pennsylvania, clothing is exempt except for formal wear like this lovely cape. In New York again, if you buy a bagel it is sales tax exempt unless someone slices if for you, in which case you have to pay sales tax. So, the list goes on and on of kind of these crazy sales tax laws and the products that go along with them. Now you as we said may not always know the reason for them but you still have to follow them. Talk to you next time.