Taxation-Themed April Fool's Day Hoaxes
The Hawaiian Tax Refund.
Hal Lewis, disc jockey on Hawaiian station KPOA, announced that the Senate had repealed islanders' income taxes and provided for return of 1953 taxes. The announcement elicited a huge reaction. Radio stations, newspapers, and the Internal Revenue Bureau were all flooded with calls. Many believed the announcement because, less than a month before, Hawaiian congressman Joseph Farrington had demanded that islanders be given a refund of all federal taxes if Hawaii was not granted full statehood. (It was made a state in 1959.)
An IRS agent subsequently called the station and asked it to leave his office out of any further pranks. He said his agents were busy enough processing 1953 returns,
Taxes Fund Private Club.
The Kokomo Tribune reported that city officials planned to increase taxes in order to fund construction of "a modern and handsomely furnished health and social club for local public officials." The article pointed out that "our public officials are hard-working individuals who deserve a convenient place for recreation." It went on to quote a local official who said, "We believe the idea will be well received by our citizens. It will mean an increase in taxes, but this is well accepted by people when they realize that it is for a good thing."
Norwegian Tax Rebate.
Norway's Aftenposten ran a front-page article reporting that an error by data company EDB had caused tax returns to be "eaten up." An accompanying photo showed a technician struggling with tangled data tape.
Taxpayers in Oslo and Bærum were being asked to submit new tax returns. However, those who submitted the returns by the end of that day, April 1st, were promised a 10% rebate on their taxes.
Dutch Government Shares Budget Surplus.
A Dutch radio program announced that the government planned to distribute its budget surplus equally among tax-payers. The announcement received an excited response from listeners eager for their share.
Tax the Poor.
Rush Limbaugh, a radio talk-show host famous for his support of conservative issues, declared his belief that the U.S. government should raise taxes for the poor because "they're the wealthiest poor in the world." Many of his listeners called in to applaud his belief. Later Limbaugh confessed that he does not actually support such a belief and chastised his listeners for being "too quick to believe anything that hits a hot button."
£2,030 Tax Refund.
An ad in the London Times announced that everyone in the UK was due a tax refund of £2,030. The fine print revealed that the refund was an "apology" from the Conservative Party, and that to collect the money one needed to write to Conservative Party Headquarters. In reality, there was no refund heading everyone's way. The ad had been placed by the Labour Party. It was the first time a British political party had run an April Fool's Day ad.
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.