From India, the UK and the U.S., stories that make taxes interesting:
Drumming Up Tax Revenue
Using shame when all else fails, officials in a Mumbai suburb boosted property tax revenue by 20%. They just show up on someone’s doorstep with a small marching band of drummers. Typically, an embarrassed scofflaw rushes to give them a check before his neighbors see them.
Below, the tax drummers:
Taxation Without Representation
During a 2014 interview, London’s Mayor Boris Johnson complained about owing the IRS capital gains on a North London house that he sold. “I think it’s absolutely outrageous…I haven’t lived in the United States…since I was five years old.” (But he was born here and has a U.S. passport.)
A Tax Nudge
A UK Behavioural Insights Team (aka the Nudge Unit) increased tax compliance with a personal letter. They just that said most of the recipient’s neighbors were compliant and the tax proceeds were used locally. Using a more jolting nudge, the letter to people who did not pay their road tax simply said, “Pay your tax or lose your car.” It worked.
In New York State, even without cream cheese, a heated or sliced bagel is taxed. But leave with a whole bagel in a bag and you pay no tax. Trying to clarify their policy, a NYS tax official said, “So, when it comes to bagels, if a bagel is sold toasted, buttered or with cream cheese, it’s taxable…Whether it’s sliced or not is not the issue.”
Our Bottom Line: Tax Revenue
Typically close to 18%, the relationship of U.S. tax revenue to our GDP has been remarkably constant:
My sources and more: Deciding the time had come to share my accumulation of interesting tax facts, I went back to the WSJ for India’s drummers, to NYS for its bagel tax and to the UK’s Nudge Unit. Along the way, I discovered the NPR Boris Johnson interview.