We like to complain (and for good reason) about the litany of taxes imposed on us by various levels of government, but this post on Neatorama details some bizarre taxes through history that make current ones seem tame.
Peter the Great, czar of Russia, imposed a tax on souls in 1718…meaning everybody had to pay it (it’s similar to a head tax or a poll tax). Peter was antireligious (he was an avid fan of Voltaire and other secular humanist philosophers), but agreeing with him didn’t excuse anyone from paying the tax—if you didn’t believe humans had a soul, you still had to pay a “religious dissenters” tax. Peter also taxed beards, beehives, horse collars, hats, boots, basements, chimneys, food, clothing, all males, as well as birth, marriage, and even burial.
I have to admit current taxes seem much more logical, taxing income, consumption, property values, estates, gas, etc.
I, like Krupo, have very nearly said goodbye to preparing personal taxes for another year. I start a new four-week audit this week, which will keep me away from the office unless we get called in. The past couple weeks I’ve been mainly doing personal returns for our clients.
I don’t dislike preparing taxes, and I do corporate tax returns year round, which gives me a good break from audit work. But for the same reason I don’t think I’m interested in specializing in tax, even though you make more money. Tax is good, but only as a break from other stuff.