With apologies to Thomas Paine: These are the taxing times that try men's tempers.

That was certainly true earlier this month as Americans became agitated about not just how much income tax they owed but how bewildering the federal regulations determining that amount can be.

Yet a major U.S. city's new tax on sugary soft drinks also allegedly fueled some dangerously zealous anti-tax sentiment in one individual.

According to a police report cited in the Chicago Sun-Times, a 36-year-old man "allegedly pulled out a submachine gun and threatened people with it" on April 11 after being told by the clerk at a beauty-supply store that he would have to pay that extra 22-cent soft-drink tax.

The incident was reportedly recorded by a surveillance video camera.

And the suspect, after being arrested, supposedly protested that because he was making the purchase in "my neighborhood, I'm tax exempt."

An assistant state's attorney told the Sun-Times that the chamber of the blue-steel Intratec .22-caliber submachine gun had only one round - but that there were eight more in one magazine and five more in a second clip.

The suspect is being held without bail on an assortment of charges, including felony gun counts.

Presumably his attorney will advise him not to push the "tax exempt" defense.

And don't count on the money you pay in Chicago's sugar tax being deductible on next year's federal income tax form.