America’s Most Bizarre Taxes

American states and localities, desperate for new sources of revenue, concoct some creative ways to tax.

The gang at TurboTax put together this interesting graphic of “some of America’s slightly bizarre taxes,” most of which are unique to one state or locality:

I was previously unfamiliar with some of the local taxes but was well aware of jock taxes, flush taxes, playing card taxes, tattoo taxes, and various local novelty taxes.

The most egregious of these are the jock tax and the crack tax.  The former because they’re unconconscionable taxes on people who have no right to vote on the matter and the latter because they’re clearly an end-around the 5th Amendment.

Via Katherine Mangu-Ward and Tyler Cowen

FILED UNDER: Taxes, US Politics, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. There are similar drug taxes in Texas (and I think other states as well).

  2. Boyd says:

    I thought the Tennessee drug tax was tossed by a judge, but my memory may be (is usually) faulty.

    James, if we shouldn’t tax without representation, how about all those hospitality taxes at hotels? Should they also be off limits, especially if they’re used to promote tourism?

  3. James Joyner says:

    Boyd: I actually don’t like those at all. But at least I can theoretically avoid going to a city’s hotels. A professional athlete can’t control his team’s schedule. Having to pay, in the case of an NFL player, taxes on 1/16th of his paycheck to a city in which he spends 24 hours is just outrageous. I don’t know how that holds up in court.

  4. JKB says:

    It took two or three times but finally TN tax men accepted their Illegal Substances tax was unconstitutional.

    Easiest way to deal with the Jock tax is for players to demand extra pay for days when they play in taxing states. They can pay it out of higher ticket fees for the fans in those venues. Or just schedule games with teams in taxing states in free state stadiums.

  5. matt says:

    Oh man I’ve been amazed by the variety of creative taxes here in Texas but of course that doesn’t matter cause all that matters is my income isn’t taxed….

  6. @matt:

    The array of special districts with property taxing power can be dizzying in Texas.