Watch out for these oddball taxes

Lenora Gim | Getty Images

Lenora Gim | Getty Images

Psst. Looking to get a body piercing in Arkansas? It’ll cost you.

Arkansas charges sales tax on body piercing, pet grooming, and gutter cleaning. (Tweet this) And the state has company, according to research by, a website focused on saving money. Virtually every state has oddball taxes or tax breaks on the books, and it’s worth your while to know which ones might apply to you.

“The tax code in every state is just an infinite swamp of complexity,” said Michael Raines of

Oddball taxes across America

Tax exempt or tax break available
Arkansas Body piercing, pet grooming, and gutter cleaning Admission to rodeos and fairs
California Fresh veggies for animals Fresh veggies for humans
Hawaii General excise tax on most business activities Maintenance of exceptional trees
Indiana Beer nuts BBQ potato chips
Kansas Time in a tethered hot air balloon Ride in a hot air balloon (counts as transportation)
Minnesota Hip waders Snowmobile suit
Missouri Yoga classes Payments to play video games, air hockey, and pinball
Nevada (Proposed) slot machine tax Body oil (for bodybuilders)
New York Sliced bagels Uncut bagels
Texas Belt buckles Cowboy boots, hats
Virginia (Proposed) license for cigarette sales On back to school holiday: lingerie, fur coats, garters
Washington Candy containing flour Candy not containing flour
Source: State tax departments, state legislation

Some of the tax quirks are almost hard to fathom. In Washington state and several others, candy bars that contain flour are taxed, but flour-free bars are not. A ride in a hot air balloon in Kansas is considered transportation, but if you sit in a balloon tethered to the ground, that’s considered entertainment – and taxable. A snowmobile suit is not subject to sales tax in Minnesota, but hip waders are.

Read More Top 12 weirdest tax rules around the world

In New York, bagels sold uncut are not taxable, but if you want your bagel toasted, or with cream cheese, or both, you will be subject to the processed foods tax. (Tweet this)

“There is a reason tax codes are tens of thousands of pages long,” said Rainey.

A number of states also have unusual tax breaks. Bodybuilders in Nevada and elsewhere can deduct body oil as a business expense, for example.

Virginia offers a back-to-school tax holiday, as do many other states. But in Virginia, that tax break covers a number of items not normally found in classrooms, like fur coats, lingerie, garters, and garter belts.

One of the more intricate tax rules is in effect in Wyoming. Wyoming used to just tax tools as a sale of personal property. But in 2014, the state clarified its rule so that “when a tool is lost down a hole or damaged beyond repair during the pre-production casing phase of the well,” and a customer has to pay for the tool, it is not subject to sales tax. But a customer who has to pay for a tool lost during the production-casing phase is on the hook for the tax.

Looking to clear your mind from these head-spinning taxes? Don’t go to Missouri. That state taxes yoga classes. Ommm, indeed.

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