15 Cent Tax Spurs Holiday Uproar
Just a few days before Black Friday created a ruckus in some of the nation’s holiday shopping centers, a proposed tax on Christmas trees created a flurry of its own kind.
A 15 cent per tree tax intended to be used to promote live Christmas trees was nixed by the Obama administration after television commentators and politicians created an uproar before the holiday season began. The Christmas tree tax would have raised $2 million to promote live trees, whose numbers have been dwindling as artificial Christmas trees have grown in use.
Similar taxes, like those used to pay for advertising campaigns promoting cotton, beef and milk (think “Got Milk?”) are already in effect. Taxing the Christmas tree industry’s 12,000 growers and importers would have also paid for research ventures on top of ads.
But as the proposed fee became known to more and more people, the frenzy it created became too politically inconvenient. A day after it was given the Evergreen light, officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture then gave it the red light, leaving Christmas tree farmers on their own when it comes to marketing and promotions.
In a hyper-partisan and overly divided Washington, the smallest of taxes – or fees on industry – can run into a massive roadblock even before the debate begins. While advertising firms and commercial actors may have lost, anti-tax political activists seem to have won this round by stopping even the smallest of taxes.
In fear of looking like the Grinch, the Obama administration pulled the plug on the small tax. If you think the IRS cares about looking like the Grinch, you’re wrong. If you owe back tax debt and can’t afford to pay the entire amount, don’t count on the IRS to have a little holiday spirit. When they initiate bank levies and wage garnishments against hard working taxpayers, they steal more than just Christmas. So make sure to have a tax attorney on your side if an IRS agent tries to put coal into your stocking.
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