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Government

Can New Chicago Taxes On Netflix, Apple, Spotify Withstand Legal Challenges? 188

Mr D from 63 writes: Today, a new "cloud tax" takes effect in the city of Chicago, targeting online databases and streaming entertainment services. Residents who stream movies and music from companies like Netflix and Spotify will now need to pay an additional 9% tax. This also applies to Chicago businesses that pay to use databases online. Chicago expects to collect $12 million a year as a result of the new tax ruling. From the 24/7 Wall St. story: "Also worth noting is that the city’s tax ruling in both cases avoids the issue of whether there is a close-enough connection (nexus, in legalese) to require providers like Netflix or others to collect either tax. International law firm ReedSmith weighs in on this point as well: '[O]nce the Department begins to audit and assess customers located within the city, many of those customers are likely to demand that providers collect the tax going forward. As a result, many providers will likely feel the need to register to collect the taxes, despite lacking nexus, and despite having strong arguments against the Department’s expansive interpretation of its taxing ordinances.'"
United States

Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas 825

mrspoonsi writes with news about a new proposed tax on overseas profits to help pay for a $478 billion public works program of highway, bridge and transit upgrades. President Barack Obama's fiscal 2016 budget would impose a one-time 14 percent tax on some $2 trillion of untaxed foreign earnings accumulated by U.S. companies abroad and use that to fund infrastructure projects, a White House official said. The money also would be used to fill a projected shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund. "This transition tax would mean that companies have to pay U.S. tax right now on the $2 trillion they already have overseas, rather than being able to delay paying any U.S. tax indefinitely," the official said. "Unlike a voluntary repatriation holiday, which the president opposes and which would lose revenue, the president's proposed transition tax is a one-time, mandatory tax on previously untaxed foreign earnings, regardless of whether the earnings are repatriated." In the future, the budget proposes that U.S. companies pay a 19 percent tax on all of their foreign earnings as they are earned, while a tax credit would be issued for foreign taxes paid, the official said.
Government

Steve Ballmer Gets Billion-Dollar Tax Write-Off For Being Basketball Baron 255

McGruber (1417641) writes "According to a report published by The Financial Times (paywalled), ex-Microsoft CEO Billionaire Steve Ballmer will be able to write off about a billion dollars of his basketball team's purchase price from the taxable income he makes over the next 15 years. "Under an exception in US law, buyers of sports franchises can use an accounting treatment known as goodwill against their other taxable income. This feature is commonly used by tax specialists to structure deals for sports teams. Goodwill is the difference between the purchase price of an asset and the actual cash and other fixed assets belonging to the team."
Cloud

Massachusetts May Try To Tax the Cloud 172

CowboyRobot writes "A proposed tax in Massachusetts may affect software services and Web design and hosting. If approved, the state estimates the tax may bring in a quarter billion dollars in 2014 by expanding its tax on 'canned software' to include some elements of cloud computing. The tax would cover custom-designed software and services based in the cloud. "Custom" software includes the design of Web sites, so the cost to local businesses of a new Web site would increase by 4.5% on contracts to design the site, write Java, PHP or other custom code. The cost of site hosting and bandwidth would also be taxed."
Businesses

Congress Takes Up Online Sales Tax 297

head_dunce writes "A bill introduced Thursday by a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers seeks to make it easier for states to collect sales taxes stemming from online purchases. Amazon is among the e-retailers supporting the proposal, while a lobbying group representing eBay and Overstock.com stands opposed. From the article: '"Small businesses and states alike are suffering from the inability to collect due -- not new -- taxes from purchases made online," said Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., adding the legislation is a "bipartisan, bicameral, common-sense solution that promotes states' rights and levels the playing field for our Main Street businesses."'"
Facebook

France Proposes a Tax On Personal Information Collection 196

Dupple writes in with a story about a French proposal to tax companies that collect personal data online. "France, seeking fresh ways to raise funds and frustrated that American technology companies that dominate its digital economy are largely beyond the reach of French fiscal authorities, has proposed a new levy: an Internet tax on the collection of personal data. The idea surfaced Friday in a report commissioned by President François Hollande, which described various measures his government was taking to address what the French see as tax avoidance by Internet companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook. These companies gather vast reams of information about their users, harnessing it to tailor their services to individuals' interests or to direct customized advertising to them. So extensive is the collection of personal details, and so promising the business opportunities linked to it, that the report described data as the "raw material" of the digital economy."
Google

Would You Pay an Internet Broadband Tax? 601

An anonymous reader writes "Remember the Internet Tax Freedom Act? The whole point was to prevent the government from ever taxing the Internet. But that's the proposal from the FCC — and backed by companies like Google, AT&T and Sprint. Would you pay a buck or two extra for fast access — or vote for someone who thinks you should? 'If members of Congress understood that the FCC is contemplating a broadband tax, they'd sit up and take notice,' said Derek Turner, research director for Free Press, a consumer advocacy group that opposes the tax."
Data Storage

Portugal Is Considering a "Terabyte Tax" 353

An anonymous reader writes "As a proposal to avoid becoming the 'next Greece', a Portuguese opposition party has proposed a tax on storage. The party claims that the tax will not effect the average citizen and is mostly levied at business users, but internal storage on mobile phones means a 64GB iPhone could be €32 more expensive. From the article: 'The proposal would have consumers paying an extra €0.2 per gigabyte in tax, almost €21 extra per terabyte of data on hard drives. Devices with storage capacities in excess of 1TB would pay an aggravated tax of 2.5 cents per GB. That means a 2TB device will in fact pile on €51.2 in taxes alone (2.5 cents times 2048GB). External drives or “multimedia drives” as the proposed bill calls them, in capacities greater than 1TB, can be taxed to the tune of 5 cents per gigabyte, so in theory, a 2TB drive would cost an additional €103.2 per unit (5 cents times 2048GB)."
Businesses

Indian Government To Tax Angel Funding 157

kousik writes "The Indian Government proposes to tax Angel Investment as income and is asking start-ups to pay a 30% tax on the funding. From the article: 'Ravi Kiran, co-founder of middle-India advisory Friends of Ambition (FoA) and member of Indian Angel Network told Firstpost: “There seems to certainly have been an error in understanding on the part of the Budget makers. If this is pushed through, it will spell serious trouble for the angel investor and entrepreneurship space. I feel this is an error and should be corrected quickly before it leads to confusion.”'"
The Almighty Buck

The Zuckerberg Tax 1065

Hugh Pickens writes "David S. Miller writes that when Facebook goes public later this year, Mark Zuckerberg plans to exercise stock options worth $5 billion of the $28 billion that his ownership stake will be worth and since the $5 billion he will receive will be treated as salary, Zuckerberg will have a tax bill of more than $2 billion making him, quite possibly, the largest taxpayer in history. But how much income tax will Zuckerberg pay on the rest of his stock that he won't immediately sell? Nothing, nada, zilch. He can simply use his stock as collateral to borrow against his tremendous wealth and avoid all tax. That's what Lawrence J. Ellison, the chief executive of Oracle, did, reportedly borrowing more than a billion dollars against his Oracle shares to buy one of the most expensive yachts in the world. Or consider the case of Steven P. Jobs who never sold a single share of Apple after he rejoined the company in 1997, and therefore never paying a penny of tax on the over $2 billion of Apple stock he held at his death. Now Jobs' widow can sell those shares without paying any income tax on the appreciation before his death — only on the increase in value from the time of his death to the time of the sale — because our tax system is based on the concept of "realization." Individuals are not taxed until they actually sell property and realize their gains and the solution to the problem is called mark-to-market taxation. According to Miller, mark-to-market would only affect individuals who were undeniably, extraordinarily rich, only publicly traded stock would be marked to market, and a mark-to-market system of taxation on the top one-tenth of 1 percent would raise hundreds of billions of dollars of new revenue over the next 10 years."
Businesses

Bipartisan Internet Sales Tax Bill Introduced 548

jfruhlinger writes "Four senators, including both Democrats and Republicans, have introduced a bill that would allow (but not require) states to collect sales tax on items purchased by residents online, even the seller has no physical presence in that state. Sellers would be able to pay through either the existing Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement or a new alternative tax simplification plan. Battle lines are being drawn predictably: brick-and-mortar retailers love the idea, Internet-only sellers hate it."
Government

Amazon Pushes For National Internet Sales Tax 392

SonicSpike writes "The Governor of Tennessee struck a deal with Amazon.com to allow their operations to move to TN in exchange for Amazon.com not having to collect TN sales tax for the next 2 years. However the Governor noted in his press conference that he is working with Amazon.com to push the US federal government to impose a national Internet sales tax."
Businesses

Amazon Drops California Associates to Avoid Sales Tax 623

PCM2 writes "Residents of California who participate in the Amazon Associates Program received an email warning them that the program will be terminated as soon as a new California law goes into effect. The law, which CA governor Jerry Brown signed, would require online retailers to collect sales tax on purchases. According to Amazon's statement, 'We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors.'"

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