To tax or not to tax? That is the question. Taxing access to the Internet, access to email and the like has been looked at by the government for several years now but so far has escaped their grasp. A new bill dubbed “The Internet Tax Freedom Extension Act of 2007” was introduced in the Senate yesterday. If passed, this bill would extend the current ban on Internet access taxes for another four years.
The current Internet Tax Freedom Act has been in place since 1988, a bill that was signed into law by President Clinton. The law bars federal, state and local governments from taxing Internet access and from imposing discriminatory Internet-only taxes such as bit taxes, bandwidth taxes, and email taxes. The law also bars multiple taxes on electronic commerce.
Senator Tom Carper, D-DE, one of the drafters of this new bill says, “Our bill would ensure that consumers continue to enjoy tax-free access to the Internet, including e-mail and instant messaging. In the meantime, we fix many problems with the current law so that as future services, such as cable television, migrate to the Internet, we don’t completely erode the tax base of state and local governments.”
The new bill would also close a loophole in the original 1998 moratorium that would potentially allow an Internet Service provider to bundle Internet access with other services and make them all tax-free.
Another Senator who is obviously a supporter of the new bill made the following statement, “”If we could liken the Internet to a mall, a place where you can go in and purchase goods and services, and also liken it to a library, a place where you can go and pull a book, pull a resource, and obtain some information, why would we tax a person upon entering a mall or why would we tax a person upon entering the library?” That is sound advice indeed. Let’s hope for a continued tax free Internet. Now if we could only do something about property taxes. I’ll save my opinion on that for another time and another place.