Sunday, March 1, 2009

Odd NC Tax Code

I have seen some pretty impressive things while wading though pages of tax code and instructions while preparing my own taxes. Federal taxes are difficult but are nothing compared to state taxes. As usually happens things get difficult and I have to read all the instructions and then read the sub-instructions and then read the instructions for the instructions, and then read everything again, before I can figure out how to do my taxes (which should be pretty simple considering I don't make very much but...).

Of all three states that I have lived in, North Carolina has the most confusing tax code by far. It also has the distinction of winning the "Oddest Line of Tax Code Award". Recently while I was deep into doing my taxes I found a rather peculiar line in the tax code that, quite honestly was odder than any sentence I have ever come across in tax instructions before.

In the instructions for Form D-400 (Individual Income Tax Return Form) on page 14, under the section on "Credit for Charitable Contributions by Nonitemizers" I found this gem: "The credit may not be claimed for contributions for which credits for certain real property donations, gleaned crops, or recycling oyster shells are claimed." (emphasis added) Recycling oyster shells? As a "Charitable Contribution"??? WOW!!! That's a first. Who was the state legislator that got that inserted in the tax code? And apparently recycled oyster shells are such a hot commodity that they had to explicitly state that you can't claim tax credit for recycling oyster shells and claim them as a charitable contribution. Glad we got that one cleared up, I was about to double count my recycled oyster shell tax credits until I saw that line. I would have been in trouble.


Tiffany said...

That is funny!

For some reason this rang a bell in my head. I had heard of oyster shell recycling. I did a quick Google search of "oyster shell recycle" and it came up with a lot of articles--looks like this is big in North Carolina! :)

James Tanner said...

You actually read that stuff??

Euripides said...

Who says special interests aren't given special privileges by government. I can't imagine how much money the recycled oyster shell lobby had to fork over to ensure that particular passage in the tax code. Something fishy going on there. You won't get any pearls of wisdom by asking the legislature. They'll just clam up. It's just another example of government being shellfish.

Jared said...

Thankfully we don't have any income tax in Florida. Otherwise we'd probably have all sorts of weird things in our tax code.