Holiday Tax Trivia

December 22, 2008

  • Idaho, New Hampshire, and Washington State specifically exempt Christmas trees from the severance tax on timber. See Idaho Code § 63-1708; N.H. Rev. Stat. § 79:2; Rev. Code. Wash. 84.33.170.
  • The New Hampshire tax exemption comes as a result of a state supreme court decision ruling that Christmas trees were more like “crops” than “timber” for statutory purposes. See Greenhalge v. Town of Dunbarton, 453 A.2d 1295 (N.H. 1982).
  • Maryland specifically exempts from the sales tax the electricity used in making artificial snow for commercial purposes. See Md. Code Tax § 11-229. Such machinery is subject to sales tax in New York. Shanty Hollow Corp. v. New York State Tax Comm’n, 490 N.Y.S.2d 67 (3 Dept. 1985).
  • Retired schoolteachers in Puerto Rico receive an income-tax-exempt $400 Christmas bonus from the state general fund. See 18 Laws Puerto Rico § 392v.
  • Santa Claus was involved in a minor auto accident in Ohio on December 20, 2001. Santa had two ID’s on him: a state ID card with the name Santa Claus, and a driver’s license with the name Warren J. Hayes. The state charged Hayes/Santa with illegally possessing identification with a fictitious name, and evidence admitted at trial included Santa’s birth certificate (December 25, A.D. 383 at the North Pole, attended by Dr. Snowflake), previously issued Ohio identification cards and vehicle registrations, and routine payments of vehicle taxes under Santa Claus’s name. The court ruled that while Santa Claus may be “fabulous, legendary, mythical or apocryphal,” he is not “fictitious” and therefore the state did not prove its case. State v. Hayes, 774 N.E.2d 807 (Ohio Mun. 2002).

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