莫名其“税” Unusual Taxes in History

http://file.joyen.net/article/soft0902/noe_teens/2011/teens201106/11_Unusual_Taxes_in_History.mp3

留胡子要征税,装窗户要征税,炒菜用油要征税,剖成两半的贝果也要征税……历史上这些名目繁多的税,很多可谓莫名其妙。

Taxation has been around since at least 3000 B.C., when Egyptian Pharaohs1) taxed many items, including grain, imported goods, livestock and beer. Citizens also had to pay a tax on cooking oil, and tax collectors (known as scribes) searched homes for used oil, trying to make sure that everyone was using new cooking oil—and thus paying the tax.
征税这一制度至少在公元前3000年就已经出现了。当时的埃及法老对谷物、进口商品、家禽以及啤酒等许多物品征税。公民还得缴纳食用油税。税务员(被称作抄写员)会在百姓家中搜查用过的油,想要确定人们都在用新的食用油——这样就需要纳税了。

As part of his drive to modernize Russia—and to spur2) Russian men to look more like clean-shaven European men—Peter the Great3) introduced a beard tax in 1705. Any man who wanted to wear a beard, with the exception of priests and peasants, had to pay a tax of as much as 900 rubles. He then had to wear a special medallion4) around his neck as proof of payment.
作为其所发起的促进俄国现代化运动的一部分——也为了激励俄国男性,使他们看起来更像胡须剃净的欧洲男人——彼得大帝于1705年推行了胡须税。除神父和佃农外,任何想要蓄胡须的人都需缴纳高达900卢布的税。作为完税证明,蓄胡须的人还须在脖子上挂一块特制的大奖章。

1  One of the grievances that fueled the French Revolution of 1789 was the salt tax, also called the gabelle5). The tax varied by region, and in some areas residents also had to buy a minimum amount of salt. The result: lots of smuggling6) and unrest. In India, the British salt tax became a focus of Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent protest7) against English rule.
引发1789年法国大革命的各种民怨中,盐税(又叫盐务税)便是其中一个。盐税的征收因地区而异,在某些地区,居民还必须购买最低额度的盐。这样导致的后果是大量走私和社会动荡。在印度,英国政府征收盐税还成了圣雄甘地所领导的非暴力抵抗运动反对英国统治的一个焦点。

Enacted8) in England in 1696 after the short-lived hearth9) tax on fireplaces, the window tax was based on the number of windows in a house. That made assessments easier, since windows, unlike hearths, could be counted from the outside. Many chose to block some of their windows to pay a lower fee. The tax was eventually repealed10) in 1851 on public health grounds11).
继短暂推行的对壁炉征收的烟囱税之后,英国又于1696年制定了窗户税,根据每栋房屋窗户的数量来征税。这使得核定征税更为简便,因为窗户不像壁炉,窗户的数量从房屋的外面就可以点清。很多人家选择堵住他们家里的几扇窗户,以减少缴税额。出于对民众身体健康的考虑,窗户税最终于1851年被废除。

Following similar laws in other states, Tennessee passed the “crack12) tax” in 2005, which mandated13) that drug dealers pay taxes anonymously on illegal substances. If a dealer was caught without proof of payment, the state collected taxes, with penalties. Around 3000 people were eligible for14) refunds15) after the law was struck down16) in 2009; a revised law soon followed.
仿效美国其他州出台的类似法案,田纳西州于2005年通过了征收“毒品税”的法案,强制要求毒贩以匿名的形式为其所贩卖的非法物品缴税。如毒贩在被抓获时没有缴税证明,田纳西州会对其征税,并予以处罚。在这项法案于2009年被废除以后,约有三千人符合退税条件。很快,此法案的修正案接替推行。

In Alabama, computer solitaire17) has one advantage: Anyone buying a deck18) of playing cards there must pay a 10-cent tax. And retailers must obtain a “playing card privilege license”.
在阿拉巴马州,玩网络单人纸牌戏有一个好处,因为任何人在该州买纸牌都须按每副十美分缴纳税款。另外,零售商还必须取得“纸牌特许经营许可证”。

Other states and cities have their own special charges. Maine has a blueberry tax, New York City taxes sliced (but not whole) bagels19), and Minnesota has a fur clothing tax.
美国的其他州和城市都有自己独特的税种。缅因州征收蓝莓税,纽约市会对剖成两半的贝果(完整的不用)征税,而明尼苏达州会对毛皮服饰征税。

1. Pharaoh [ˈfeərəʊ] n. 法老
2. spur [spɜː(r)] vt. 激励,驱策
3. Peter the Great: 彼得大帝(1672~1725),俄国沙皇彼得一世(1682~1725年在位),推行西化改革。在他的统治下,俄国社会摆脱了农奴制的落后面貌。
4. medallion [məˈdæliən] n. 大奖章
5. gabelle: n. (1789年法国大革命前的)盐税;税
6. smuggling [ˈsmʌɡ(ə)lɪŋ] n. 走私
7. Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent protest: 圣雄甘地的非暴力抵抗运动。圣雄甘地(1869~1948),印度民族解放运动领袖,领导印度争取独立。他领导了非暴力抵抗和非暴力不合作运动,提倡以非暴力的方式抵抗英国统治。
8. enact [ɪnˈækt] vt. 制定法律;颁布;扮演
9. hearth [hɑː(r)θ] n. 炉边;壁炉地面。hearth tax: 烟囱税
10. repeal [rɪˈpiːl] vt. 废除;撤销;废止;放弃
11. on (the) ground(s) (of): 根据……,以……为理由
12. crack [kræk] n. <美俚> (价格不太贵的)强效纯可卡因
13. mandate [ˈmændeɪt] vt. 命令;法律强制要求
14. be eligible for: 有……资格的
15. refund [ˈriːfʌnd] n. 退款;归还
16. strike down: 驳回;杀死;击倒
17. solitaire [ˌsɒlɪˈteə(r)] n. 单人纸牌戏
18. deck [dek] n. 一副(纸牌)
19. bagel [ˈbeɪɡ(ə)l] n. 百吉饼;贝果