From Bagels to Balloon Rides: The Weirdest State Taxes

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Buying a bagel in New York? That'll be taxed -- unless it's whole, and cream cheese-free.

Taxes are (almost) as integral to the dawn of spring as allergies and Easter egg hunts. Though a reality to all, federal taxes can present to many a hazy, stressful cloud of fear and dread.  As the federal deadline looms (due on April 17th, so get going, everyone), let us briefly revel in the more lighthearted side of government taxation by taking a look at some of the weirdest state tax policies, as reported by ABC News. To all the procrastinators out there: sorry, we know you really don’t need anything else to distract you from finishing up those returns.

(MORE: Your Burning Tax Season FAQs, Answered)

Playing Cards: Giving new meaning to the term “fun police,” the state of Alabama will tax you 10 cents for every purchase of a deck of playing cards. But if you think you have it bad, consider the seller from whom you must purchase the cards — businesses have to pay a $3 for a license, and another $1 for each deck sold.

Blueberries: Maine produces 99% of all wild blueberries sold nationally. As the old adage goes: have monopoly, will tax. (Or maybe we interpreted that somewhat loosely.) Blueberry monopoly? Check. Blueberry taxes? Check. Seriously, they’ve got all their bases covered. Anyone who grows, handles, processes, sells or purchases those delicious little berries is taxed a penny and a half per pound. Eating them, however, is duty-free — for now.

Tattoos: In 2005, Arkansas began charging a 6% tax on all tattoos and body piercing services.  That also includes electrolysis (otherwise known as hair removal) treatments. We all know it hurts to be beautiful — and in Arkansas, apparently, it also hurts your wallet to be beautiful.

(MORE: America’s Slow Economic Recovery)

Nudity: Hoping to run a business that employs nude (or partially nude) workers? Steer clear of Utah, where you’ll be taxed 10% on services provided by unclothed employees to patrons.

Bagels: Where else but New York? In 2010, state officials began enforcing a bagel tax, with one major caveat: you’ll only be taxed if the bagel’s been sliced or prepared in some way. If it remains intact, in its pristine bagel formation, you won’t be taxed. Oh, but if you eat it in the store, it’s taxed no matter what. Got it?

Balloon Rides: In Kansas, there exists a crucial distinction between tethered balloons and balloons set free. Given the nature of tethered balloons, they’re taxed as amusement. Balloons set free, however, can be “considered a legitimate form of air transportation” and thus, remain duty-free.

MORE: Tax Season: Shut Up and Pay Up, Please

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