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May 2, 2012

Most taxes hard to decipher

(Continued)

Way back in 1696, a window tax was aimed at the wealthy. Windows in England and Scotland were taxed. The average worker's home had only two windows. Suddenly, where there had been lots of windows in small palaces, the hole was bricked up.

More recently, there is a cow-flatulence tax in Ireland and Denmark. Slow digestion mixing with the greens they eat cause this. Slaughtering houses are one of the worst places for the buildup of gas that comes from cows. In Ireland, the tax is $18 per cow, and in Denmark, $110. Phew!

If you throw in the Russian beard tax and the British wig-powder tax, it seems like whoever is going to benefit from taxes is going to think one up, no matter what.

Some people get tired of paying income taxes and try to get away with deductions, such as the man who said he was distrustful of technology and used only carrier pigeons to communicate. It seems he had a business partner and considered it was all part of doing business, therefore, deductible. Because he has never owned a computer or had a phone, his certified public accountant got him the deduction.

A woman was told by her doctor to drink three bottles of water a day. The woman said she could drink only a high-priced water because the others made her sick. The doctor wrote a prescription for the high-priced water, and the woman deducted it on her taxes as a medical expense. Seems it worked, too.

We all love our pets, but one taxpayer considered her dog a member of the family. Therefore, she decided it was legal to deduct the dog's hip replacement. Didn't work.

As ole Ben Franklin said to Jean-Baptiste Leroy in 1787: "Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

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