The ten oddest American taxes

by on April 13, 2004 at 7:18 am in Economics | Permalink

Here is number one:

At least 11 states, including Alabama, North Carolina and Nevada, tax people who possess illegal drugs. Usually, though, you have to be in possession of a minimum quantity (for example, over 42.5 grams of marijuana in North Carolina) to be subject to the tax.

But no need to wait for the police to cuff you before you cough up the cash. In North Carolina, for instance, when you acquire an illegal drug (or even “moonshine”), you can go to the Department of Revenue and pay your tax, in exchange for which you’ll receive stamps to affix to your illegal substance. The stamps serve as evidence you paid the tax on the illegal product.

Don’t worry that you might get in trouble for admitting you have enough drugs to fuel a rave party for years. You needn’t provide any identification to get the stamps and it’s illegal for revenue employees to rat you out.

Still, according to North Carolina’s department charged with collecting the unauthorized substance tax, only 77 folks have voluntarily come forward since 1990. Most of them are thought to be stamp collectors. (Or perhaps they were just high?)

The majority of the $78.3 million the state has collected thus far has come from those who got busted and were found without stamps.

But even if they had had stamps, it’s not like their legal troubles would be over. “Purchasing stamps only fulfills your civil unauthorized substance tax obligation,” according to the N.C. DOR Web site.

Here is the full story and list.

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