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United States The Internet

Ban on Internet Access Tax Dies in Senate 191

Justen writes "The Associated Press is reporting (via Yahoo! News) that the bill to permanently ban federal and state taxes on the Internet, via the Internet Tax Freedom Act, has died in the Senate. 'The problem arose over the definition of 'Internet access' -- services that connect consumers to the Internet. The strongest proponents for a permanent ban want to make sure that all access technologies -- from phone lines to DSL to cable modems -- get equal freedom from taxation.'"
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Ban on Internet Access Tax Dies in Senate

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Don't worry, they -will- find a way to tax internet commerce. There is too much money to be made.
    • Indeed, and wouldn't it be irresponsible (and outside of their mandate really) for a temporarily elected group to attempt to pass a permanent ban? At most they can pass a four year ban and let the next batch decide when their turn comes around.

      I like the whole "no taxes" thing, and it could continue to happen if the internet were a technology showcase used by a couple of people, however as the internet becomes (became) an integral part of our lives, and a key point of purchase for a massive value of goods
      • permanent in the political context does not mean absolute. laws can (and are) changed and reversed over time. the permanent implies that the next batch of elected representatives (and the batches thereafter) do not have to pass laws exempting internet related products and services from taxation. but theres nothing stopping them from approving new legislation that would then enforce taxes on said products and services.
      • by leek ( 579908 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @11:44AM (#7423976)
        I'd like to see them pass a law, permanent or otherwise, banning certain kinds of state and federal spending.

        Then we'd arguably not need an internet tax.

  • ...includes VoIP
    • If they just ban taxation on VoIP, which is the next logical large-scale change in telephony, then that leaves an opening for a feeding frenzy that could possibly topple the Baby Bells and provide a path for decentralized, community-serving telecommunications. Good thing our elected representative leaders caught this in time to protect us from the possibility of getting rid of the Bells.

      The power to tax is the power to destroy, and the American government will never allow unfettered access to free commun

    • With VoiceXML [voicexml.org] and ENUM [enum.org] every POTS device becomes an internet access device. Does this means that every mail order retailer that currently collects sales taxes (due to local point-of-presense sales tax laws) can stop collecting those taxes?

      I suspect that the senate found it rather hard to create a clear demarcation between commerce based on "internet access" versus commerce based on traditional, taxed categories of custmer interactions.
  • So that means that they can charge 5c for an incoming email if they wanted to? They BETTER outlaw spam... or people will have bills going like $20 more!
    • Re:Email (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KD5YPT ( 714783 )
      I thinkn they would charge the sender, instead of the receiver. It would be like most mail. Sender pays. It might actually reduce spam.
      • And utterly destroy email in the process. Just think of all of the additional infrastructure that would have to be put in place to manage a micropayment system for email. Instant messaging ( or a derivative of it ) will completely take over in this case. Instead of having one big open email system based on SMTP where everyone and anyone is allowed to send email, it will decline into a bunch of closed systems.
      • How would it reduce spam? If they taxed email, SpamCo would just host their server outside of the country (like they probably do already). Besides, how are you going to implement this? Put a government router on every internet pipe? Require the use of a government approved email package?
    • So that means that they can charge 5c for an incoming email if they wanted to? They BETTER outlaw spam... or people will have bills going like $20 more!

      By the warped logic of lawmakers, they are more likely to outlaw spam if they tax it than if they dont. The reasoning being that, when you have a service under the government 'protection' of being taxed, they then have in incentive to keep their 'taxpayers' happy. Thus, once they tax each email, they are more likely to legislate spam.

      By another twist

    • So that means that they can charge 5c for an incoming email if they wanted to?

      Look, I used to say it all the time to our customers when I used to work tech support in 1996: "Don't be silly, there's no such thing as an e-mail virus. It's just text and you'd have to have some kind of broken client that attempted to execute the text. It's just another hoax like the modem tax."

      I blame Microsoft for Internet taxation when (not if) we get it. ;-)

  • by Motherfucking Shit ( 636021 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @10:15AM (#7423715) Journal
    If they'd just called it the Preserve Access to Telecommunications and Required Infrastructure for Online Transactions (PATRIOT) act, it would have swept through both houses of Congress with little opposition. Haven't our legislators learned anything?!
    • by tds67 ( 670584 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @10:49AM (#7423809)
      If they'd just called it the Preserve Access to Telecommunications and Required Infrastructure for Online Transactions (PATRIOT) act, it would have swept through both houses of Congress with little opposition. Haven't our legislators learned anything?!

      My choice would have been Freedom to Access Required Telecommunications Infrastructure for the Next Generation (FARTING). I'm pretty sure it would have passed and swept through both houses of Congress with little opposition.

  • by dmusicstud ( 515761 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @10:16AM (#7423718) Homepage
    The government is running scared, with the popularity of VoIP. With traditional switched phone systems, the government has all sorts of regulation (read: revenue). With VoIP; however, the regulation has gone away, simply because it is difficult, if not impossible to distinguish voice packets from data packets. Thus, the telcos see an easy route to fall under the radar of regulation.

    Be careful what you wish for - regulation has its ups and downs, but I'm pretty sure I don't opt for NO regulation.

    I realize regulation and taxation are two different entities, but the government doesn't often regulate that which it doesn't also tax.

    So, should this pass? Who I am to say?
    • They are? Wouldn't that require the government to actually be informed on the matter? The same government that most /.ers are convinced knows something between jack and shit about what the real effects of the DMCA are?

      Come on... this is why there are congressional aides... "Sir, your re-election campaign received a sack of unmarked bills, some drugs and a couple hookers so you'd vote against this. And remember, tomorrow's vote is in favour of the corp that gave you that other sack of cash, so you need to v
    • Be careful what you wish for - regulation has its ups and downs, but I'm pretty sure I don't opt for NO regulation.

      Hmmm, I'm in agreement with you on that.

      No regulation on VoIP - for starters the "Do Not Call List" wouldn't apply to VoIP customers. No recourse for obscene or harassing phone calls. No recourse for billing problems.

      I think the VoIP companies are ripping off the public if they get 911 service without paying the 911 taxes.

      • Most of them don't have 911 service at all. Vonage has pseudo-911 service, like a cell phone. This is the major reason why I haven't switched my home phone to VOIP yet. Hopefully in a few years time, we'll have appropriate 911 service for VOIP carriers, but it won't happen without government involvement. I actually support reasonably "lightweight" regulation of ISPs - if my phone line goes dead and the carrier refuses to fix the problem, I have recourse to the PUC; if the same thing happens with my Road Run
  • by POds ( 241854 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @10:17AM (#7423722) Homepage Journal
    I know its unpopular, but shouldnt internet shoping and what not be taxed? After all, they are still goods and services.

    We've still gota pay tax to keep kids in school, our roads being repaired etc.

    I think internet goods and services should be taxed, just like any other bloody good or service.
    • by Slack3r78 ( 596506 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @10:22AM (#7423730) Homepage
      They are, so long as the buyer and seller are in the same state, which is how I personally feel it should stay. In all honesty, I'd have to wonder whether the collection of local sales taxes from companies with no physical presence in a state would be able to stand on constitutional grounds - it sounds dangerously similar to state/local governments 'interfering with interstate trade' if you ask me.
      • I think the tax on internet will only apply to federal level. Any sale's tax will also be collected by the federal government if it involves interstate trade.
      • In all honesty, I'd have to wonder whether the collection of local sales taxes from companies with no physical presence in a state would be able to stand on constitutional grounds - it sounds dangerously similar to state/local governments 'interfering with interstate trade' if you ask me.

        My state, Ohio, gets around it by calling it a "Use Tax". For example, if I buy something in one county that has a 5% sales tax and I live in a county that has 8% sales tax, I must pay a 3% Use tax to the state to make u

      • If we are talking sales tax only then you are correct. If we are talking all taxes you are not.

        If they are operatig a business in a state that has a corporate income tax and they generate revenue (not necessarily profit), it is taxed. The owners icome from the business is taxed. The employees salaries are taxed. Right now there is just one less layer, the transaction layer, free from taxes.
      • The Quill Corp. v. North Dakota [findlaw.com] (1992) case is the decision most often cited when arguing that mail-order and internet companies without a "substantial nexus" in the buyer's state should not be required to collect the buyer's state's sales/use taxes.

        Quill essentially affirms Bellas Hess [findlaw.com].

        There's a four-prong "Complete Auto" [findlaw.com] test which has been used as a criterion for the validity of state taxes on interstate commerce:

        1. The tax must be applied to an activity with a "substantial nexus" with the taxing sta
      • As if we need to subsidise shipping companies, i.e., waste fuel. Back when the constitution was written (prior to pony express etc.) it might have made sense.
    • beats me totally too..

      could someone clarify if normal order-by-post or order-by-phone shopping has the same rules as net shopping? and if not, why on earth not and are your legislators retarded?
    • this is about taxing internet access, not internet bought goods.
    • by Motherfucking Shit ( 636021 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @10:40AM (#7423777) Journal
      I know its unpopular, but shouldnt internet shoping and what not be taxed?
      It already is, just the same as mail-order shopping (I'm posting from a US perspective, by your use of "bloody" I can't tell whether you are or not ;)

      In the US, if you order something from a company which has a physical presence in your own state, you must pay state sales tax. This is true whether the purchase is made in a brick-and-mortar store, online, or via mail order catalog.

      If you order something from a company which does not have a physical presence in your state, you are not required to pay sales tax to either your own home state or to the state of the purchase. In many states, you're supposed to pay a "use tax" or something similar in your home state. In practice, hardly anyone does this except in the case of significant purchases. Very, very few people even know that the "use tax" (or whatever it's called in your state) exists to begin with.

      In any case, that isn't what this bill is about. It's about taxes on internet service, not internet shopping.

      • In the US, if you order something from a company which has a physical presence in your own state, you must pay state sales tax. This is true whether the purchase is made in a brick-and-mortar store, online, or via mail order catalog.

        Perhaps I misunderstand what you're saying, but I don't think this is correct. If I walk into a brick and mortar store and buy something, I have to pay sales tax to the state in which the store is located, even if I don't live there. Or do I? Is there a little-known loophole
    • think about it (Score:2, Interesting)

      by SHEENmaster ( 581283 )
      Without those taxes, poor Principal S. would make only $100,000/year instead of the $147,000/year he has become accustomed to.
      Without those taxes, the high school football team might not be able to afford new lockers this year, instead waiting until next year.
      Without those taxes, Echelon/Carnivore might have been made by Microsoft, and be less efficient in their violations of our right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
      Without those taxes, Iraq might not get the money Bush wants to give
      • Without those taxes, poor Principal S. would make only $100,000/year instead of the $147,000/year he has become accustomed to.

        Holy Shit!

        I definitely should have majored in education!

      • SHEENmaster wrote:
        poor Principal S. would make only $100,000/year instead of the $147,000/year he has become accustomed to.

        So... where does that $100,000 come from again? And it's a rare school principal that makes 100,000!

        Here's an idea: shave off... maybe 1/10 of the "defense" budget and give it to schools. That should double or triple the income of most school systems at least....

        • Here's an idea: shave off... maybe 1/10 of the "defense" budget and give it to schools. That should double or triple the income of most school systems at least....

          That won't do anything except inflate the salaries of the higher-ups. the teachers will still get shafted.

        • Re:think about it (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Salgak1 ( 20136 )
          Here's an even BETTER idea. Use federal taxes for only the uses authorized in the Constitution.

          Here's a hint: education isn't one of them, it's a local responsibility. And for that matter, breast cancer research doesn't belong in the Defense Budget either, but it's there. . .

          Lastly, get rid of both tenure and teacher's unions: force teachers and schools to PERFORM if they want a higher paycheck and/or more funding. After all, that's the way it works for the rest of us. . .

        • So... where does that $100,000 come from again? And it's a rare school principal that makes 100,000!

          That's not true. An "experienced" principal at a high school will often make over $100,000 where I live, and I'm sure that in states with more education funding, the principal will make more. Thank the people who think that dumping an extra billion dollars into education will do anything but line the pockets of those who are in administration.
    • by thales ( 32660 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @10:45AM (#7423792) Homepage Journal
      Questions:
      What services will a government a thousand miles away offer my business in return for the taxes they are attempting to collect? Will California send Road repair crews out of state to fix the roads near my business? Will New York send funds out of state to pay for Teachers in the school district where my business is located?

      If the taxpayers that actually who actually live in areas that need funds for roads and schools don't care enough to pay for them, then why should I care if they have substandard schools and pothole filled roads?

      If a group of people think so little of me that they are willing to tax me without providing any benifit to me in return, why should I care what they have to do without?

      The desire to tax the internet is being driven by deadbeats who don't want to pay for local services they are unwilling to do without, and by sleezy politicans who are pandering to those deadbeats.

      • If the taxpayers that actually who actually live in areas that need funds for roads and schools don't care enough to pay for them, then why should I care if they have substandard schools and pothole filled roads?

        Here in Ohio at least, the school funding situation is more complicated than that. You see, schools are paid for by a property tax. The obvious problem is that regions of the state where property is worth more can raise more tax revenues this way, while still having a lower tax! Meanwhile poore

        • Can't pay, or are unwilling to pay? I have been poor in my lifetime, so I know what I'm talking about. Take a drive through a poor neighborhood sometime. Note the number of stores selling alchol. Note the number of Rental shops with steeros and large screen TVs for rent.

          The problem isn't a total lack of money in poor neighborhoods, it's fucked up priorities over what to do with limited funds. Robbing me to provide services for these people won't cure that basic problem.
          • Wandering into the same OT morass as you did [g] -- I call that the "poor mentality", and it is THE primary factor that keeps poor people poor. Get a buck, spend a buck-ten, half of it on the lottery and Big Macs, and the other half on renting something they can't afford AND DON'T NEED, and pay half of that on credit to boot. (We won't get into how keeping poor people poor is in the best re-election interests of politicians who are the biggest advocates of "tax dollars for the poor". Yet everyone wonders wh
      • Didn't you guys start a revolution over this kind of shit?

        What services will a government a thousand miles away offer my business in return for the taxes they are attempting to collect?

        I thought that's "taxation without representation" - Isn't there something in your constitution that outlaws this?
    • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @11:04AM (#7423850)
      The internet is no different that catalog or mail order shipping. People label the internet "New and must be taxed differently" when really, its just an innovation by placing a catalog online instead of printing them.

      Under mail order tax collection, the rules are: If you do not have offices in other states, you only have to charge customers in the state you operate sales tax. Transactions going to other states are tax free.

      Let's say I sell books and I live in Missouri and I mail a copy to someone in St. Louis, I have to collect state sales tax on that transaction. Let's say I mail a copy to someone else in little rock arkansas, no sales tax because I don't operate out of AR.

    • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @11:14AM (#7423872)
      Why a difference? Because some places (like Colorado) have insanely complicated sales tax codes. Where I live, the tax districts include: state, county, city, regional transportation district, cultural facilities district, a special downtown district, and probably some others. Each district's tax depends on the nature of the goods (food, clothing, electronics, services, etc. all have different tax rates in different jurisdictions). The difference is that a local retailer can (with difficulty) figure out their tax liability based on their own address. But what address do you use for an internet retailer when decide which local sales taxes to apply?

      The only solution with internet sales taxes is to use the address of the recipient. And that means that each internet retailer must figure out which of all the overlapping tax districts EVERY customer is in and the calculate the tax on each item based on the type of item and the district's tax structure and then remit them to the appropriate agency.

      Its not as easy as it looks.
    • Aren't public schools funded by property tax?
    • They are taxed just like mail order/telephone goods and services: if the buyer and seller are in the state (or even if the seller has a "nexus" (warehouse, etc) in the state), they are taxed, if not, no tax. Why should Internet shopping be treated differently than mail order or phone shopping?
  • (1) Subsections (a)(b)(e) and clasues (d)(c)(f) and (fee)(fie)(foe)(fum) state that, while (2)(a)(c) and (3)(1)(a)(b(c))(d)(e) must make (1) true.

    Now you can clearly see why this post make sense. And if you can't then you obviously didn't see the modus operandi behind sections (1)(e)(v)(2)(a(b(c(e(2))))).

    Silly rabitt

  • But of course! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by illuminata ( 668963 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @10:30AM (#7423752) Journal
    Well, these are taxes that we are talking about here. The only difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to taxes is that the Democrats are a bit more public about liking to tax people. They use those funds to support "public services". Yet, both parties use taxes to fund many secret projects that cost Americans countless amounts of money, but most of those you don't hear about on the news. Anyways, that's besides the point. The fact that a bill like this came from the two party system is a shock enough to me.

    Sure, the Act probably was just created to make it look like the folks on Capitol Hill were staying busy. Hell, I've watched SPAN at random and I saw an extremely long debate about how Roberto Clemente should be honored when they should be working. But, doesn't it just piss you off how, even if this was a broad-based ban (and I don't mean broad = woman), that they would still fight over it? Good God, they just won't leave anything alone. It wouldn't fucking kill them to keep taxes away from the internet, period!

    This just goes to show you that Congress has a raging boner to tax you, and it's not one that is going to go down anytime soon.
    • This just goes to show you that Congress has a raging boner to tax you, and it's not one that is going to go down anytime soon.

      I've seen this sort of view constantly on slashdot, and I don't understand it. Congress has spent the past few years cutting taxes. You pay less now than you did before. Personally I think it's an idiotic thing to do, the US tax burden isn't that high, but that's what congress has been doing. Why do you think otherwise, in the face of actual proof? Do you people not read the
      • Congress has spent the past few years cutting taxes. You pay less now than you did before.

        They are cutting back taxes, but have abolished any of the existing taxes? I don't know the answer, so this isn't a rhetorical question. I suppose they haven't -- they don't want to lose the grip over what goes on. So, you pay less taxes off something, but the state still knows how much of that something you (and others) have.

  • OK this may be a little controversial but I think that in the future a 'bandwidth tax' or some such thing may not be a bad idea. We supposedly moving into an age of the information economy. Some people through the Internet have more access to information than others, this information makes their life better. They can look for better jobs, be better informed on what is going on in the world and make more productive decisions accordingly. This situation will get worse as more and more services move exclusivel
    • by BooRadley ( 3956 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @10:42AM (#7423785)
      Either this is a well-crafted troll, you are shilling for something here, or you are just plain stupidly idealistic and shortsighted.

      "Let's make sure that our access to information is metered and doled out in equal portions, so that everyone gets an equal piece of the pie. Also, let's put the government in charge of our access to information, including news, commerce, communications, and education, and trust them to make sure that we get access to what we need and have a constitutional right to view."

      Where do I sign up?

    • I don't know where exactly do you live, but around here, you generally pay more for a faster connection than you do for a slow one. I bet it's the same in the US, so I don't see any need for an extra tax.
  • Like it or not, taxation is the basis for a stable society. No tax, no government. No government, no authority. No authority, breakdown of civil society.

    Although citizens naturally prefer low-tax regimes, sometimes it's just silly: look at California's budget to see what "low tax at any price" does.

    The internet is so significant, and carries so much trade, that taxation is inevitable and so long as it's sensible and not punitive, why not?
    • Yeah, right, California - low taxes. Good grief.

      My first impression when I moved there was that I missed the low taxes in Massachusetts. Something I NEVER thought I'd say.

      California spends like a drunken sailor. They believe, like you, that "taxation is the basis for a stable society."

      As a result, the California government is broke, the private economy is a shambles.
    • Although citizens naturally prefer low-tax regimes, sometimes it's just silly: look at California's budget to see what "low tax at any price" does

      California, and low tax? Isn't that an oxymoron. I mean they have the second highest state income Max bracket in the nation of 9.3% if you make more than $38,000 per year (ie middle class in most other places). Source [taxadmin.org]Taxadmin.org

      Calforina is in the top 10 of highest state corperate income taxes, and the highest bank income tax in the country at a whopping 1

  • by segment ( 695309 ) <`gro.xirtilop' `ta' `lis'> on Saturday November 08, 2003 @10:40AM (#7423779) Homepage Journal
    all access technologies -- from phone lines to DSL to cable modems -- get equal freedom from taxation.'

    After talking it over with my Cisco 800, it too agress that it needs its own equal freedom and shouldn't pay any taxes because after all (as it told me) it's "only a damn router for crying out loud".

    GET perfidious.org/shadow|perl

  • by BlueCoder ( 223005 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @10:49AM (#7423806)
    First of all unless both paries are within the same state it should be clearly untaxable without the explicit concent of congress. It would be interstate commerce. Of course looking at the track record of the supreme court lately...

    One thing I don't get the basis for the state of the customer collecting the tax money. Either congress was bought off sometime in the past or the supreme court messed up. It should be clearly the state the bussiness is in. Although if that were I case I think there might be at least some basis for taxation. Taxation from the customers state is clearly for the political/economic reason that bussiness would move to states with lower or no taxation as should be the case. Of course many of those states have higher income and property taxes to compensate so bussinesses would have to balence many factors.

    The only compromise I can see is if federal goverernment imposed an interstate sales tax and redistributed said money amoung the states. It would be divied equally, by population, by where the purchasers reside or by taxation rates or a combination of many factors. That way it might not be as much money as the states would otherwide get it would but they would get something and bussinesses would have an easier job of bookkeeping and paying those taxes.
  • They are too busy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @10:50AM (#7423812) Homepage
    Unfortunately, the Senate is having a problem with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee trying to use classified intelligence as political weapons [washingtonpost.com]. If Senators had Americans as their priority instead of their seats and their party, we might have some sort of sensible legislation pass in Congress.
    • I know it sucks! Next thing you know, the Dems in congress will have an entire carrier battle group doing circles off the coast so a DEM can land on it!

      Now THAT would be using our militray for political purposes and would be almost as bad, wouldn't it?

      • And this has to do with what is going on in the Senate, how?
        • As an aside, did you know that as of 36 hours ago, GWB hadn't even mentioned those 16 troops that were killed in that helicopter attack? But, he did find time to note the one firefighter who was killed fighting the fires in CA. Why? Because mentioned the death of those troops whould have made him look bad.

          Both sides do what is best for themselves, before they do what is best for the American people.

          It is just funny/sad to see people get so upset/so happy because the person doing it has the correct (R/D
    • I can't believe that this off-topic bullshit got moded up. But what the hell; I've got the mod points to burn in responding.

      If the Republicans had Americans as their priority, then US Soldiers wouldn't be dying in Iraq for the sake of Haliburton and Bechtel profits.

      thx,
      Eric
      • Have you checked the financial position of Haliburton in the last two quarters? If you did, you wouldn't be making such an asinine, politically predictable comment. If this was such a benefit to Haliburton, their stock would have skyrocketed. I never heard the complaints when Haliburton was working for the Clinton Administration in Kosovo. It is this sort politically short sighted comments that have doomed the Democrats -- a party I should be voting for because they match my social persuation but cannot st
  • How would that be measured. It sounds like a mess to me, and more like a gangsta's paradise (again).
    • It sounds like a mess to me, and more like a

      gangsta's paradise

      As I browse through the listings at Amazon,
      I take a look at my life,
      And realize malls are all wrong.
      Cause I've been shopping online for so long,
      That even my government thinks my money is gone.

      But I ain't never paid a tax if they didn't deserve it,
      May be treated like a felon but you know that's unheard of,
      You better watch how you're buying
      And where you're spending
      Or you and your homies might be federal pen-ding

      Been spending most our lives,
      Doin

  • Would this bill read a lot better if things like commerce and minor were define in some official library of congress dictionary?

    It seems like they are saying that for three years, no tax authority can impose additional tax on providing network access or commerce on networks. But there are so many words, I'm not sure.

    One more thing, Since every legal seller and every legal buyer has an address, why shouldn't the half the value of the transaction be taxed as if the sale occurred at the sellers address and h
    • Since every legal seller and every legal buyer has an address, why shouldn't the half the value of the transaction be taxed as if the sale occurred at the sellers address and half at the buyers address?

      Because sales tax rates fluxuate wildly from state to state. This raises several questions, not the least of which would be:

      a) Which state would get the bigger benefit from their "half?"

      b) Why should I pay e.g. 9.5% sales tax on half the transaction to a state I don't live in, but only 6.75% sales tax to th

  • by SpaceRook ( 630389 ) on Saturday November 08, 2003 @11:26AM (#7423915)
    [devil's advocate]
    An internet tax could be a good idea. There are many technical areas the money could go to:

    1) Improve the government's online services. For example, make it so we can perform more DMV actions on the web instead of waiting 5 hours in line.

    2) Improve the technical capability of libraries. Get some better/quicker search engines for browsing the catalogues.

    3) Fund grants to colleges doing useful research (anti-spam R&D, security, etc...)

    4) Fund the anti-electronic fraud teams in the DOJ.
    [/devil's advocate]
  • by Epistax ( 544591 ) <epistax@gm a i l.com> on Saturday November 08, 2003 @11:26AM (#7423916) Journal
    I mean, I am correct in assuming the ground telephone system is starting to die. It'll take a long time, but there just isn't as much use as a cable line, which can easily handle telephones and whatever else you throw at it. It parallels the situation of getting rid of the big polluters: it's worse for everyone, but they have friends to keep things how they are.
  • There went the last reason why I bought stuff online. What's next, taxing the air we breath? I guess it was just a matter of time. If there is a way to tax something you can be sure the government (terrorists of taxation) WILL make it happen no matter how muc we object to it.

    "If shit was worth something, poor people would be born with no ass holes." Eddie Murphy
  • Next thing you know the RIAA will ask for its own tax to recoup the supposed costs of piracy. They can then try to make WIFI networks impossible due to complicated tax regulations. Soon the government will have to monitor internet routers to properly access taxes, etc.
  • "The strongest proponents for a permanent ban want to make sure that all access technologies -- from phone lines to DSL to cable modems -- get equal freedom from taxation."

    Given the amount of taxes and fees I pay to the govt. for phone service, and given that phone and data service will be indistinguishable from a network perspective sometime soon, I doubt the govt. going to give up this cash cow without a fight.
  • They need to focus first on getting a permanent ban on data transfer taxes, i.e. taxing based on units such as megabytes transferred. Then once that is done, tbey can haggle over the other details. A bit tax would be the most destructive thing for the Internet in the USA.

    When private parties such as web hosting services charge for bandwidth used, competitive pressures and improved technology make them charge less per megabyte as the years pass on. But whatever tax rate a government sets on bandwith usag

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