7 Weird Money Laws You May Have Broken


Money can make people do strange things. But what about when money laws themselves are beyond comprehension?

From bizarre tax systems at home to monarchy-imposed oddities abroad, the world is full of some very odd laws governing the spending and collecting of money. Lucky for you, this list of them is free.

1. Don't Step

Thailand's king is featured prominently on all the country's currency. Thailand's king is also not to be criticized, under legal penalty. So by extension, Thailand has one of the stranger money laws around: stepping on money is considered extremely disrespectful, and crazily enough, could land you in a Thai jail.

2. Do the Running Man, Pay the Tax Man

In Washington state, cover charges for movies, concerts, and theater are tax free. Unless, that is, the venue provides patrons with an "opportunity to dance" (seriously), in which case tax must be paid. A holdover law from the 60s, the provision was largely forgotten about until recently, when one establishment was charged $25,000 for non-compliance.

3. Candy Pain

Buy a Twizzler in Kentucky and you're free from paying taxes. Buy a chocolate-coated pretzel, and you better keep that receipt. That's because their state law declares tax exempt only those candies that don't contain flour. Seems a little half-baked.

4. Canadian Currency Conundrum

Find it annoying when the person in front of you in line starts counting out pennies for their purchase? Well in Canada, you could have that person arrested. According to the Canadian Currency Act, there are all sorts of legal restrictions on what you can and can't pay for with coins, including the illegality of using more than 25 pennies in any transaction.

5. Nay-Saying Sooth-Saying

For something weird you're not allowed to charge money for, how about Pennsylvania’s law against soliciting payment for fortune telling? The misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail, and extends to outlaw charging to place hexes or spells on people.

6. The Bagel Burden

It's tough to walk down a New York City street without running into a bagel joint. But if you're looking to avoid being charged tax on one of those heavenly bread circles, make sure you do not, under any circumstances, ask for your bagel to be sliced. As soon as the bagel is sliced (or schmeared, for that matter!), it's considered prepared food, and can be taxed up to 9 cents.

7. Bavarian Bribes

While most of this list features legal restrictions, this last law gets honorable mention (it was eliminated just a few years ago) for helping facilitate a strange financial transaction. Namely: bribery. German tax law, it turns out, actually allowed private companies to write off the costs of bribery on their returns.

Though good luck dealing with the angry bribe recipients after listing their names on your receipts…

Like this Post? Pin it!


Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.

Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Guest's picture
Kerrie Peacock

These are crazy, though I do like Canada's law. I've had so many customers pay in pennies, it's ridiculous!

Max Wong's picture

Some of these laws are more common than you think! In Los Angeles a venue has to have a Cabaret License in order for dancing to be legal. A lot of bars and live music venues get shut down by the cops because of illegal dancing (but really, you know it's because they can't get them on noise violations). All the extra permits cost money, which gets passed onto the consumer.

The bagel tax exists in a lot of grocery stores. If you buy the deli food as take out (groceries) it's got a lower tax than if you eat the deli food in-store.

Guest's picture

The last law is still there in India as per Income tax Act 1961.

Guest's picture

Bribes, you can write them off in the U.S. as well, except they are illegal in the first place. So, if you can show that in another country where you do business, it is a normal course of business to bribe otherwise you are out of the game, you are allowed to write it off as a business expense. Very little people do that, but it is possible.

Guest's picture

#1 is called "lesse majesty" and is a very common law, just often not charged.
#2 there is also a high risk that your venue may be violating building codes. The floor reinforcing and exit laws are different for dance areas than seated venues.
#4 in many countries there is a limit of denominations usable for legal tender. "Legal tender" means that it SHALL by Law be accepted for payment of any debts. The use of this limitation stops people paying in bags of pennies etc (the law is to ensure circulation of currency, not to protect shopkeepers or public)
#5 This particular falls under "Fraud". Because the advice can't be proven, charging for giving untestable proof falls under misrepresentation and fraud. By not charging, you're not entering into a contract for something, so you can't be charged for misrepresenting your consultancy, without payment it just becomes an opinion, which are often free.
#6 Again tax might be the least of your problems. Preparing food and processing foodstuffs are covered by a huge number of regulations, health statutes and inspection and training laws. Lay one tool on that bagel and you might be breaking a _lot_ of laws!