It’s that time of year again…sigh…

Hi all –

cowgirl bootsI just got back from Houston, TX last night and I could kick myself.  I should have bought a pair of cowboy boots (or are they cowgirl boots?) while there as their sale is exempt from sales tax.  Go figure!  I was in Houston for an RWA board meeting and didn’t have a lot of time to shop, or means to get to a shopping center, but I’m afraid that was an opportunity lost.  Cowboy boots are a part of the state’s identity and thus receives special treatment — which makes me think of other goofy tax rules.  While I’m currently surrounded by tax returns, I think taking a look at other strange but true tax tales might be fun.

Alaska – When I think of space travel, I think of Texas (Houston in fact) and Florida.  I do not think of Alaska. hi-space-junk0_1762594a Perhaps they plan to change that by exempting all goods and services related to space flight to include any product launches or items intended to be launched into space – even if it never returns.  Seriously?  They get a tax break and the right to create space junk?

snowmenCalifornia – Sales tax is charged on snow in California.  Thankfully, not this kind of snow 🙂 .  (Not sure how one collects from Mother Nature).  Rather they charge tax on manufactured snow – the artificial kind that’s used at ski resorts to get the right amount of powder.  I guess that might cut back on decorating a Californian house with snow for a Christmas party.  The process for making snow is taxable.

Maryland charges a tax to flush a toliet.  It’s for a good cause, though.  The money collected is used to protect the Chesapeake Bay.  So when folks in Maryland seek that physical relief, they can even rest easier.  LOL.

Washington State legalized marijuna.  However, they declared it neither a food nor an agricultural product.  Is it a manufactured product?  That doesn’t make sense.  Still, by declaring it not an agricultural product, the state can charge sales tax for it’s purchase PLUS charge an extra 25% excise tax.  It gives new meaning to the term cash crop.

cherries-picFood is generally tax exempt in all states…except in North Carolina.  University students there have to pay sales tax on university meal plans.  It supports what I’ve long expected.  What is served under those meal plans is not really food.

Now if I had my way, romance novels would be sales tax exempt.  They should qualify as a medical expenditure because the stories are uplifting and make you feel good.  Don’t you agree?  The world would be a better place if everyone read romance. 🙂Untitled-3

If you had the authority, what would you exempt from sales tax?  Come on, I know you have some great ideas!

Let’s chat!




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  • Jane says:

    I’m thinking of things that many would consider essential like diapers and other personal care products including toothpaste, toilet paper and soap.

    • Hi Jane –
      Hopefully, it wasn’t your day with the GR yesterday that inspired the need for personal care products affordability 🙂

      You’re right, though. The concept of exempting food from sales tax was because it’s such an essential product. The poor need food items and shouldn’t be forced to pay a sales tax on such products. But they need personal hygiene products as well. They should be exempt more so than cowboy boots.

  • Cassondra says:

    Music…in any incarnation…cds, downloads. concert tickets, etc. And art. That which is produced by an actual artist (ie–I buy a painting, I don’t have to pay sales tax) or tickets to SEE art…either performed (ala music, theatre or dance ) or at a museum.

    I have no idea why I chose that…Oh wait..yes I do.
    It’s because I think art is the thing that advances our species. Art is the thing which keeps us from being monkeys. Yup. Art of any kind should not be taxed. And yes, that means romance novels. Because they ARE art.

  • ki pha says:

    LoL I would so love to live in your state if romance novels were exempted from sales tax! And I think that’ll include all books.

    As for me I think I’ll have runway no sales tax on visiting historical places, museums, or anything related to this, art works and stuff too. These things are there to be seen and shared so I don’t want to get taxed for appreciating art and history.

    • Hi ki pha –

      Yes. Trips to museums should be sales tax free. I recently discovered, though, that often museums have free admissions but with “suggested” donation amounts. I think those are tax-free. But “devices of knowledge” be it books or museums should be encouraged, not discouraged via taxes.

      • Jeanne Adams says:

        Yes! And I love that description – devices of knowledge!

        The museums here in DC are fre, but do accept donations. I always try to donate because I want them to STAY free. Grins.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Donna

    I agree romance novels should be tax exempt 🙂 we have a GST on most of the sales here in Australia at the moment food is exempt but I am wondering how long that will last and I really think that it should not be on essential services as in electricity and you white goods as in refrigerators etc but another good way for people to relax is holidays take it of them as well see I could have more cruises and lots more books to read LOL

    Have Fun

    • Hi Helen –

      Love the lots more cruises idea 🙂

      Sometimes it feels like life is like the airline industry – charging a fee for every little thing. Unlike Australia, our sales taxes are added on, so the price tag says one thing but what you pay is another. I think the GST is included in the price marked on the item, isn’t it? I hate it when you think you have the price covered and then go to pay and find out it’s much more expensive than you thought.

      • Helen says:

        Yes Donna the GST is already added on but when it is on bill like electricity it lists it separately so as you can see it there 🙂

        Have Fun

  • Heathercm2001 says:

    It would be great if we didn’t have to pay sales tax for books, and I wish I didn’t have to pay it for knitting supplies either. Both are great stress relievers.

    • Jeanne Adams says:

      Yes, indeed! No tax on books! Yay!! And tho I don’t knit, I know so many people who say it keeps them sane, I’d be up for that one too. Grins.

  • Hi Heather!

    LOL – I’m chuckling about something that requires long pointed needles being a stress reliever. It would certainly keep people away! 🙂

    But I know what you mean. These things bring a higher quality to life and should be encouraged, not priced out of existence.

  • Kaelee says:

    I come from a province where there isn’t a provincial sales tax. However we gained a federal one a number of years ago. I still cannot figure out the method they chose for what is taxable. As far as I’m concerned hygiene and health products should not be taxed. Pet food and pet care shouldn’t be taxed either.

    I have heard the argument that nothing should be tax exempt as people with money buy more expensive food than poor people and thus would pay more taxes. I can’t really buy into that argument as it would make my few food treats way more expensive.

    • Hi Kaelee –

      Yesterday, when I wrote the blog, I was posting about sales and use tax laws. Today I’m embroiled with a client on this very issue. Did I attract attention from the gods of tax issues? Freaky!

      Anyway, I agree with the ones that say food should not be taxable. Those that make that rich people argument have never experienced hunger when one doesn’t have a few bucks to feed a family. I could go along with it if cards or something were issued so those below poverty level would not pay tax.

      What I abhor is the politicing that results at the state level that results in goofy tax laws. For a long time here, root beer was considered a food while other soda products were not. Does that make sense? No. But Ohio had a strong root beer manufacturer at the time. Where there’s money, there’s politics. 🙂

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Donna, I did not know that Maryland had that flush law. How the heck do they “police” that? Grins. Snorking at the possibilities.

    I know there’s a law in NC too, re: taxes – or at least there used to be – that you were taxed more, or paid more fees, depending on what month you chose to be married. They were actively trying to get rid of that one, though, so…

    SO many weird laws still on the books. There’s one on the books in, I think, Arkansas, about riding mules on Sunday. Several states still have witchcraft laws too. Sigh.

    • Jeanne – I think the tax is buried in the water bill. I’m sure that they can’t measure flushes 🙂 but they can monitor water usage. But it caught my eye in an article on goofy sales tax rules.

    • Amy Conley says:

      In IN there is a tax on sewer bills, but not water bills…ask my hubby, he can tell you all those things. I also know it is against the law to spit on the sidewalk in IN, again, hubby knows all those weird things.

  • catslady says:

    That’s easy – pets should count as an exemption. If I counted how much I spend on vet bills, food, supplies etc. – well I wouldn’t want to know lol.

  • Amy Conley says:

    Well, to go back to your snow, I had another sort of “snow” come to mind and I thought, “tax you, wouldn’t they just arrest you?” I was a teen in the seventies and early eighties.
    In Pa they don’t tax clothing, but they do tax gloves, scarfs, or any other aarticle of clothing needed to keep you warm…but I say that’s clothing and if you bought it from me I didn’t charge you tax.
    In Indiana no tax on food, unless you can eat it right there. I remember many times giving my children and grandchildren bananas cookies candy grapes excetera excetera but never got charged tax.

    • Hi Amy –

      Ohio is similar. If you get your food to go as in a grocery, no tax. If you eat it in a restaurant, or on premises – then you get charged tax.

      LOL on the tax exemption of clothes in PA. Hadn’t heard that. I bet that’s to attract outlet stores to the state. I know a couple of states have a tax-free day, generally around the start of school, when you can buy clothes and school supplies tax free. Wish they had that in Ohio. I could stock up on post-its and “sign here” stickers. 🙂

      • Amy Conley says:

        I’m not positive, but you are probably 3 hours from the closest outlet mall in Pa. Oh and it is a nice one too. Grove or Grove City, Pa, between Sharon, Pa and Pittsburgh, right off I-79. 😉

      • Amy Conley says:

        Now I know why my mother always had us order our food to go even when we ate it right there at the counter. We had a Burger Chef at the end of our street, we ate there often.

    • Forgot to say relating to your snow observation…”those were the days, my friend…”

      From another teenager in the late 60s/70s

  • I should definitely get a tax exemption for my pets! I am reasonably certain I spend more on pet care than some people spend on their children.

    Definitely no tax on books. I should get a mental health write-off for those.

    And I agree with Cassondra. There should be no tax on music. Period.

    There is still a tax on food here in Alabama. And the only time my Walmart discount works on food is from November 1st through January 1st.

    • Louisa –

      LOL – What does Walmart have against the holidays??? They tax food in Alabama? That’s surprising. I wonder about the rationale.

      Yes, all for the pet exemption, and music and especially books. I’m finding more and more people that say that they don’t read. Maybe if books were exempt from sales tax, then they would give them a try. Although…Amazon doesn’t charge sales tax on books here in Ohio. The readers are supposed to pay use tax voluntarily on those – like that’s happening. 🙂

  • Mozette says:

    Well… let’s see… exempt from the Sale’s Tax… there’s a few things:

    toilet paper (we all use it, why tax it?)
    petrol (we all use that too…)
    chocolate … oops, I’ve mentioned that 😛

    yeah, that’s it really… all the main stuff to keep us writers happy and working well. 😀

    • Mozette – I think that they tax those things precisely because we all use them, otherwise they’d never raise any money 🙂

      Love the exemption on chocolate 🙂