Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Almighty Buck Government The Internet Politics

Internet Service Tax Moritorium Set To Expire 163

Posted by kdawson
from the one-of-two-things-we-have-always-with-us dept.
nelsonjs writes "On November 1, the ban on taxing Internet service is set to expire. The ban was originally implemented in 1998 in order to encourage the proliferation of Net access. The Senate is considering two competing bills to extend the ban: one would extend it for four years and the other would make the ban permanent. Verizon and Google, usually to be found on opposite sides of any question of Net access, are united in lobbying for the permanent tax ban. If neither passes by November 1, prices for Internet service nationwide could jump by as much as 17 percent, according to ISPs."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Internet Service Tax Moritorium Set To Expire

Comments Filter:
  • They can't tax the internet - that's double dipping! Isn't porn ALREADY taxed?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PlatyPaul (690601)
      Strangely enough, you could argue that it may be [nolo.com] (FYI, this [cornell.edu] is the cited precedent for most anti-tax situations). If you made a purchase for which sales tax would be applicable within your home state, and sales tax isn't included in the cost, then you may be responsible for declaring the purchase to the state and paying the tax accordingly.

      This all assumes that you actually paid for that porn in the first place, though.
  • that's mor-A-torium (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @07:08AM (#20753899)
    n/t
  • by Algorithmnast (1105517) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @07:09AM (#20753905)

    The politicians are unlikely to make the ban (on the tax) permanent - each time the ban is about to expire, they get to look good to their constituents without actually doing anything.

    So it'll get extended... again... and then in N years we'll hear another net-centric story propagated by a media wanting our avid attention for politicians who want our unconditional vote.

    Move Along.... nothing to really see here...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      This time around, we have a Democrat-controlled House and Senate.

      My guess? We're about to see Dem's true colors shine through: TAX IT!

      And of course, the people cheering this on are going to be the same ones who want to put health-care decisions for the entire US in the hands of the same government that brought us the TSA. :-P
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by smooth wombat (796938)
        And of course, the people cheering this on are going to be the same ones who want to put health-care decisions for the entire US in the hands of the same government that brought us the TSA.

        So you're saying that Mitt Romney will be the next president? You remember Mitt, don't you? The Republican who forced the entire population of Massachusetts to buy health insurance or pay a fine, starting with confiscating any tax refund you may get.

        You do mean the Republicans, don't you?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          "So you're saying that Mitt Romney will be the next president? You remember Mitt, don't you? The Republican who forced the entire population of Massachusetts to buy health insurance or pay a fine, starting with confiscating any tax refund you may get."

          Not sure why this is flame bait, he just pointing out that both sides of the political spectrum have had quacks with horrible ideas (even if they were well meaning). Imho, the only difference in Reps and Dems are the tie colors - both sides have smart peop
          • by bkr1_2k (237627) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @08:10AM (#20754361)
            "the only difference in Reps and Dems are the tie colors "

            Are you sure? http://www.c-span.org/images/2004vote/bushkerry3_200.jpg [c-span.org]
          • Of course it's flamebait. 'Fair and Balanced' means pointing out only the wacky, socialist ideas that Democrats have, never the same socialist ideas that Republicans have and have implemented.

            And let's not get into the whole "smaller government" thing that Republicans continually tout. That would be heresy to point out the HUGE government expansion the Republicans have done, not to mention the Big Brother-esque, all-knowing-all-seeing spying programs.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by djasbestos (1035410)
              Hence why partisanship is crap, considering the rifts in the Democratic party and more notably the Republican party. I think "small government" Republicans are at best 1:1 with neocons and religious fanatics (when they aren't one and the same). Then you've got Kucinich and Dodd in the same party where the Dems are concerned.

              Moral of the story: America, ALWAYS vote on the issues, NEVER based on the letter next to someone's name.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Firethorn (177587)
                I think that a large part of this problem with ever expanding government is the fact that people who run for office generally think in terms of solving problems through government, which leads to more government. For that matter, while in office your tool is government and thus every problem starts looking like a good candidate for a government solution. The government solution generally creates more problems, which leads to more government intervention, leading to massive inefficiency.

                Just imagine if we
            • by cayenne8 (626475)
              "And let's not get into the whole "smaller government" thing that Republicans continually tout. That would be heresy to point out the HUGE government expansion the Republicans have done, not to mention the Big Brother-esque, all-knowing-all-seeing spying programs."

              That's because perceptions of the today's Repubicans, have not caught up the reality that they are NOT the Reps. of old. The Republican party used to be more for small limited government, less taxation, etc. However, for some reason, today's Rep

          • both sides have corrupt/stupid people.
            There. Fixed that for you.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        [OT]

        That is true. Whereas the Republicans just want to spend it, without taxing it in the first place.

        The cost just gets passed on to the next (current) generation. Thanks a bunch, not. Hey, I know, we'll just liquidate and cancel Social Security and cut off Medic[aid/are] to anyone over 65. Carry on.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dunbal (464142)
        We're about to see Dem's true colors shine through: TAX IT!

              Yes, especially since the original bill was passed under Bill Clinton's presidency. Oh, good old Bill such a republican, wasn't he?

              Sigh. Yes I am being sarcastic.
        • Yes, especially since the original bill was passed under Bill Clinton's presidency. Oh, good old Bill such a republican, wasn't he?
          Sigh. Yes I am being sarcastic.


          Fiscally, the only thing that Bush has done that could be considered Republican was to lower the capital gains tax. However, Clinton himself lowered the capital gains tax, but also kept spending in check, balanced the budget, promoted a sound dollar. If Hillary would actually be as good fiscally as her hu
          • by Ajehals (947354)
            Assuming yo are correct the situation would end up being something like this;

            Currently the US is in a bit of a financial mess, taxes need to be raised and spending cut to deal with it, the dollar needs to be stabilised and inflationary pressures reduced. To do these things will harm the economy and increase the real cost of living *and* the tax burden, so you do that for 4 years, US finances look OK again but the voters will hate it. So after 4/8 years of hard work and belt tightening they will vote for t
      • by Pope (17780)
        As I figured out well enough back in the 1980s:
        Democrats tax & spend.
        Republicans borrow & spend,

        At least for the Dems, they know that the bills have to be paid. Either way, though, it's that common "spend" that needs to be looked after before any real progress will happen.

    • The politicians are unlikely to make the ban (on the tax) permanent

      The politicians CANNOT make the ban (on the tax) permanent. Any law automatically supersedes any previously written laws on a given issue, given proper jurisdiction (States cannot override Federal laws, though the Feds CAN override State laws).

      Theoretically, they could ban internet taxes forever tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow, impose a $1/bit tax on internet traffic. And, lo! There would be a $1/bit tax on the internet. Until a

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      This comes up periodically. The whiners are unlikely to do anything about the political environment. Each time a politician doesn't do exactly what they want to do, no matter the effort or cost, the whiners get to look good to their peers without actually doing anything. So social problems get extended... again... and then in N minutes, another whiny comment propagated by an irrational hatred for authority and media sites who want our unconditional patronage.

      Move along... nothing to really see here...
    • by wdr1 (31310) *
      Which is why it would nice if every law expired after one year.

      That way lawmakers would spend their time on real issues, instead of parading in front of constituents w/ silly things they spend their free time on, such as Schiavo & Foley.

    • by eonlabs (921625)
      Doesn't it make them look shitty if they turn down the permanent one with preference for the four year one just in an attempt to look good in N years.
      They also look shitty if they allow the tax to fall into place, unless they were going to start maintaining the network fiber themselves, which might not be a bad thing... Depending on a lot of course
  • Misnomer (Score:3, Informative)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @07:09AM (#20753907) Journal
    They can pass a bill to make the non-tax "Permanent", but it only takes another bill to tax it again. The only upside to passing the bill would be to create a bit of legislative inertia.
  • Extend it...DUH! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarkNemesis618 (908703) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @07:10AM (#20753909) Homepage
    I hope the ban is extended. I'd prefer permanently, but I'd be content with a 4 year extension...for 4 years anyway. If it's not the internet is gonna become just like cell phones. Sign up for a $40/month plan and end up paying $55 after all the taxes. C'mon congress!
    • by Colin Smith (2679)
      Stop complaining, you voted for it. 99% of Americans voted for high tax parties.
       
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bentcd (690786)

        Stop complaining, you voted for it. 99% of Americans voted for high tax parties.
        Does this include the ~45% of Americans that didn't actually bother to vote?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Colin Smith (2679)
          Well they clearly don't care so why would anyone else care what they think?
           
          • by bentcd (690786)

            Well they clearly don't care so why would anyone else care what they think?

            True, true. Why should anyone care about a demographic that in 1996 was only a majority of US voters. Democracy is just sooo 20th century :-)

            What I am trying to get at is that whenever I see assertions of the kind "80% of Americans voted for . . ." it just screams out at me because the /truth/ is "80% of the Americans /that voted/ voted for . . ." and the difference is really very important.

            As an example, the current president is probably lucky if he can /actually/ boast more than 20% public support back o

            • by operagost (62405)
              40%? The approval rating for Congress right now is about 25-30%! That's worse than the President's!
              • by bentcd (690786)

                40%? The approval rating for Congress right now is about 25-30%! That's worse than the President's!

                I'm not referring to current polls but rather to election results. It's an intended consequence of the system we have that we only sample the public opinion every couple of years.

                Of course, even if you look at actual election results I'm probably being overly optimistic. Not having the time to actually look up the exact numbers, let's assume that congressional elections have 50% turnout (this is a bit high?) and that you need a 67% supermajority to change the Constitution (there are probably complications

            • by Omestes (471991)

              What I am trying to get at is that whenever I see assertions of the kind "80% of Americans voted for . . ." it just screams out at me because the /truth/ is "80% of the Americans /that voted/ voted for . . ." and the difference is really very important.

              How is it important? If you don't vote, you kind of voluntarily opting out of the game. Do we consider the testing scores of drop outs when evaluating a school? No. If you don't vote, it means your opinion isn't even worth enough to motivate you to some very small action. If you don't put enough stock in your opinion to do something about it, it can't be too important.

              As brought up lower down, there are valid, and temporary, reasons some people CAN'T vote, which are completely separate from people who

              • by bentcd (690786)

                How is it important?

                It is important because the whole point of modern democracy is to have a form of government that gets its legitimacy from a majority of the people. Once this is gone (e.g. the shots are called by only 20%) then the entire basis of the system is falling apart. It doesn't matter if the 50% no-shows are lazy, or disillusioned, or disenfranchised, or whatever. What matters is that the government isn't representative of the population. A government that isn't representative of the population quite simply isn't

                • by Omestes (471991)
                  A government that isn't representative of the population quite simply isn't a democratic one.

                  I'd say that the current American democracy IS representative of the population. The people who don't vote made a choice not to count in decisions (for whatever tragic reason). They don't want to have a say, and thus don't really count, by choice. Your not going to get me to say this is a good thing, or disagree that the whole system is falling apart, though.

                  But this is largely irrelevant. Throwing blame around i
                  • by bentcd (690786)

                    I'd say that the current American democracy IS representative of the population. The people who don't vote made a choice not to count in decisions (for whatever tragic reason). They don't want to have a say, and thus don't really count, by choice.

                    You do realise that what you're basically saying here is that people who don't vote aren't actually people?

                    I'm just saying that these people who don't want a voice, shouldn't expect to be heard.

                    But that isn't the point. It's not that they have a need to be heard - clearly being heard doesn't interest them. The problem is that /we/ need to hear them and them refusing to talk to us is a serious problem.

                    Even if they were to start an armed rebellion (something that would surprise me, since we're dealing with apathy, not the best precondition for revolution),

                    Perhaps, but then this is not the only type of calamity that can strike an apathic "democracy". Consider that we currently have an extremely wealthy drug cartel that is the cause of much organ

                    • by Omestes (471991)
                      You do realise that what you're basically saying here is that people who don't vote aren't actually people?

                      Never claimed that, I just don't think its possible for the rest of us (voters) to possibly give them a voice if they don't want one. How can we presume to act on the behalf of someone who has no opinions (or don't find them valid enough to act up), they are by nature unknowable. I do think, on a real level, they get what they ask for, and don't really see this as a bad thing. Perhaps when thing
        • by Phisbut (761268)

          Does this include the ~45% of Americans that didn't actually bother to vote?

          Yes, because many people consider voting to not be a right but a responsibility, and the "right to vote" is tied to the "right to complain". If you didn't vote, shut up and swallow the pill.

          • I moved to a new county fewer than 30 days before the 2006 elections and promptly registered to vote in my new county. Thus, by law, I was not able to vote anywhere. Does that mean I am not allowed to complain?
    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      I hope the ban is extended. I'd prefer permanently, but I'd be content with a 4 year extension...for 4 years anyway. If it's not the internet is gonna become just like cell phones. Sign up for a $40/month plan and end up paying $55 after all the taxes. C'mon congress!

      In EU we pay VAT on services and products, so we do sign up for $40/month plan and pay $55 after the taxes. But somehow our Internet is still faster and cheaper than the US one.

      Internet tax definitely won't ruin teh Internet. The question is ra
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Internet tax definitely won't ruin teh Internet. The question is rather: why on Earth tax it in the first place.

        Well why tax anything? Why tax income, or sales, or gasoline, or any of the other million categories of items that are taxed? The bottom line is, the government needs money, and it's probably a lot easier to get it by nickel-and-diming people with taxes on everything they pay for than by raising income taxes or some other high-profile tax. Of course this simplistically assumes that all tax revenue just goes into a big pile to be used for anything, but...

        Also, in response to the other part of your post,

        • by suv4x4 (956391)
          Well why tax anything? Why tax income, or sales, or gasoline, or any of the other million categories of items that are taxed? The bottom line is, the government needs money, and it's probably a lot easier to get it by nickel-and-diming people with taxes on everything they pay for than by raising income taxes or some other high-profile tax. Of course this simplistically assumes that all tax revenue just goes into a big pile to be used for anything, but...

          Maybe you don't understand my intention. If you tax al
      • A tax may not harm the internet but it can mean some will lose their access. Right now some can barely afford access but with a tax they no longer will be able to afford it.

        The question is rather: why on Earth tax it in the first place.

        Because the money grubbing politicians want to tax anything and everything they can.

        Falcon
        • A tax may not harm the internet but it can mean some will lose their access. Right now some can barely afford access but with a tax they no longer will be able to afford it.

          That's not true. Any US citizen can afford 20 USD for his internet connection, can't he. Dial-up and the slower broadband connections still count as "access" in my eye.

          Sure, they might not be able to play HD DVD over the Internet at that speed, but I hardly consider waiting a bit more to download your movie something that can wreck socie
          • A tax may not harm the internet but it can mean some will lose their access. Right now some can barely afford access but with a tax they no longer will be able to afford it.

            That's not true. Any US citizen can afford 20 USD for his internet connection, can't he. Dial-up and the slower broadband connections still count as "access" in my eye.

            Some can most certainly lose their internet connection it they have to pay more for it. I guess you've never heard of the poor.

            Falcon

  • Unfair taxing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by packetmon (977047) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @07:19AM (#20753961) Homepage
    You know, this is insanely stupid bill. Let's take two people, Farmer Joe in Oregon and City Jake in New York City. Farmer Joe has Internet access for mundane tasks and will usually go online maybe 3 times a month to check weather stats, maybe check out the prices on Cattle feed. For his access he pays say 20.00 a month. City Jake in New York City - to make a long story short - lives online spending in excess of 12 hours daily. He pays 20.00 a month. Why should Farmer Joe now have to pay an Internet tax if he should, why should it be more than City Jakes taxes. What I can see happening is less usage over time as consumers will be less likely inclined to pay high fees for what is almost always in the home segment iffy service at best (how many times has your cable provider went down... DSL had issues). If this should happen it would mean less consumer spending throughout the country and world (why should I spend a 17% tax when I can walk to the mall). Politicians are just plain e-stupid
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      Might as well ask why he has to pay the same $20 in the first place. We -used- to have usage-based fees on our internet access, but the overwhelming majority of the market demanded unlimited access for a set cost. Now you'd like to go back to usage-based cost.

      Your example is poor, anyhow, since City Jake doesn't have $20/month access, he has $50/month because he prefers the speed. His livelihood is based on the net (or he couldn't afford to spend 12 hours a day on it) and if he used a slower line, he'd s
      • 17% extra is $105 a year more than I currently pay. I'd rather be free to spend that (or save) $100 as I see fit, not as some politicians out of touch with reality see fit.
    • Jake is actually easier to provide access to than Joe, living in a very dense urban area where millions of customers can offset the cost of laying fiber. I don't know whether this offsets the cost of his increased access, but it is something to consider in your example.
    • Why should Farmer Joe now have to pay an Internet tax if he should, why should it be more than City Jakes taxes

      Perhaps because it's more expensive to provide that internet service to Joe?

      Perhaps because the net benefit to society of cheaper access for urban consumers is greater than the benefit of cheaper access for rural consumers?

      Many 'economic development zones' have a reduced tax burden to encourage businesses to move there. Why should it be any different for residential zones where development is wa

      • by dabraun (626287)

        I'm willing to pay a surcharge to live in a less-populated area (which I do, by paying higher property taxes, and by paying more for my property).

        While I agree with the rest of your comment, I don't really understand how you pay more for your property to live in a less-populated area. Certainly land costs less in less-populated areas as a nearly universal rule.

        It's interesting, a few years ago I would have found the idea of taxing internet service to be totally outrageous in a 'how dare they stick their fi

        • I don't really understand how you pay more for your property to live in a less-populated area. Certainly land costs less in less-populated areas as a nearly universal rule.

          It's not just the cost of land, it's also the cost of the building, etc. If you look at median (or even mean) housing costs, you'll find that a lot of suburban and rural suburban areas are far higher than urban areas. Yes, there is more land, bigger homes, etc, but our purchasing choices are limited by what's on the market. Since mini

        • to the extent that the government is responsible for building and maintaining that network

          The government is NOT responsible for building and maintaining the network. It is the responsibility of the providers to build and maintain their own part of it. Of course this hasn't stopped the government from giving these businesses billions of taxpayer dollars to buildout the network. Since this is the case it should be the corporations that received money who should be taxed. They should also be made to hav

      • I'm in favor of tax incentives for people to live in urban areas. I'm willing to pay a surcharge to live in a less-populated area (which I do, by paying higher property taxes, and by paying more for my property).

        You made a mistake, property cost more in urban areas, not less. And since the value is higher urban landowners pay more in property taxes.

        What I wanted to address was that the taxation is upon the cash transaction, not on the services provided.

        Since the government does not provide the ser

        • You made a mistake, property cost more in urban areas, not less. And since the value is higher urban landowners pay more in property taxes.

          I live in NJ. More urban areas have deifinitely lower median and mean home prices. Yes, you get more physical property in the more rural areas, BUT it doesn't really matter, since your housing choices are limited by what's in inventory -- never mind the fact that those living in urban areas also gain intangible benefits like reduced commuting time. Example: three bed

          • I live in NJ. More urban areas have deifinitely lower median and mean home prices. Yes, you get more physical property in the more rural areas, BUT it doesn't really matter, since your housing choices are limited by what's in inventory -- never mind the fact that those living in urban areas also gain intangible benefits like reduced commuting time. Example: three bedroom row house in Irvington, NJ (Newark suburb, very urban) might cost 300,000. Very small three bedroom house in High Bridge NJ (much more rur

            • That may be true in NJ, but I can go, if I had the money, to the middle of nowhere Montana and buy an acre for under $10,000.

              Well, then you're in an entirely different market... and comparing prices across different markets get very tricky...

              the city or county sets it's own tax rate. Which is based on the value of the property, two properties of the same value in the same tax district will pay the same tax.

              I think NJ is a bit of an anomaly, but municipalities are the only property tax assessors. Furtherm

              • I think NJ is a bit of an anomaly, but municipalities are the only property tax assessors.

                The state of New Jersey doesn't tax property? Nor do the counties, or the equivalent? I didn't know that.

                Also, tax rates are not uniform even within a municipality -- many use a factoring system where property value is only one part of the tax assessment equation. IE, property value != assessment value for taxes.

                What other factors do they use? It seems property value would be the best seeing as how the value

                • The state of New Jersey doesn't tax property?

                  Nope. State taxes are sales and income (for individuals. not sure for corps, as I'm not incorporated in NJ). No county property tax either.

                  As for other factors, I believe dwelling type makes a difference -- condos will get a different rate than detached homes. Also, some municipalities may vary rate based upon what % of the property is built on (independent of land value, a house that is 40% covered by buildings will be assessed higher than a lot that is 5%

    • by nomadic (141991)
      Why should Farmer Joe now have to pay an Internet tax if he should, why should it be more than City Jakes taxes.

      Seems fair, since City Jake is heavily subsidizing Farmer Joe through his taxes.
  • If you want lower taxes, fight for lower taxes across the board. There is no reason to tax the brick and mortar establishments and give a blank check to the internet companies.

    Why should the mom-and-pop diner that ekes out a living by selling coffee and donuts be forced to comply with the onerous burden of collecting and remitting taxes on every cup of joe they sell while the multi-billion dollar sale companies like Amazon get a free ride?

    Long time ago it was considered too difficult for small interne

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by faloi (738831)
      If you fight to keep the special treatment of internet companies over brick-and-mortar companies, you are no better than the vested special interests that you often criticize.

      A valid point, perhaps. Except that the article is in regards to additional taxes put on Internet services, and has nothing to do with taxing goods sold across the Internet. This is, essentially, an effort to hold down any additional fees that might be assessed for Internet access. Similar to keeping all the odd state and federal
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TinBromide (921574)
      The websites and the brick and mortar shops both have to pay local state sales tax, provided that the customer is in the same state as the website's product point of origin (For a service, its the main/local office that determines if you pay sales). Thats why newegg customers have to pay tax in NJ and a few other states, they ship products from there. That's to prevent the diner from setting up a web kiosk to order coffee and allowing the waitresses to be merely couriers of the product ordered over the web.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by rawtatoor (560209)

        And as it turns out, there is a reason that you don't have to pay taxes for goods from another state.

        Not that something like The Constitution of the United States of America has really mattered in reality for a long time, but I quote:

        "No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State."
        (Art 1, Sec 9, clause 5)

        So, no it doesn't really have anything to do with supporting anybody over anybody else, just respect for the law.

    • by Dunbal (464142)
      If you fight to keep the special treatment of internet companies over brick-and-mortar companies, you are no better than the vested special interests that you often criticize.

            So you suggest that in order to "fight taxes across the board" we should accept a tax on internet services, since everything else is taxed? I have a pastor friend who is looking for help with a new church, and I think we just found the right candidate for the job...
    • by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @07:48AM (#20754175)
      If you fight to keep the special treatment of internet companies over brick-and-mortar companies, you are no better than the vested special interests that you often criticize.

      Yeesh. As has already been pointed out to you, this isn't about sales taxes on the goods that happen to be ordered online. This is about taxing the service you're buying which connects you to the internet. Much like your cable and phone services are already being taxed.

      That being said: A small mom-and-pop retailer that takes an order over the phone, or through the mail, or by fax, or off of an auction site, or from their own web site is - JUST LIKE AMAZON - not obligated to collect and remit sales tax if they happen to ship out of state. Conversely, companies like Amazon DO have to collect and remit sales tax if they're shipping into a state where they have a business presence. So, if Amazon operates a warehouse/distribution center in Maryland, then they're on the hook to remit Maryland sales tax on any orders they ship to Maryland addresses.

      Very large companies, increasingly, DO have offices, operations, or other "nexus" in more than one state, and are increasingly on the hook to collect such taxes for those state governments. Further, you've got places like California, which has been known to lean on out-of-state retailers to remit CA sales tax whether they have a presence there or not. Their leverage? The tell retailers that if they don't, they'll be blacklisted from any purchasing done by any agency of the CA state government. And while that may not matter to Uncle-Jim's-Fly-Rods-dot-com in Idaho, it definitely matters to retailers that sell office supplies, truck fleet parts, computer hardware, etc. It hits big companies, and the mom-and-pops the same way.

      Your example of the diner is a particularly bad one. There is no un-taxed competition shipping competing omlettes and cups of hot coffee in from out of state. If your point is that there are large businesses (in other lines of work) making money by doing business with the residents of a given state, and not collecting sales tax... remember that it's the CONSUMER'S responsibility to pay sales and use taxes on stuff they buy from out of state. Don't like that the sale isn't taxed up front? Don't sweat it... it's the people who live in YOUR state that are then supposed to pay those taxes on the goods they buy from out of state. Otherwise, you've got businesses that aren't even IN your state having to do insane amounts of paperwork with your state government. Some states have sales tax rates that vary by zip code, and which depend on the type of goods being purchased, and which change seasonally. Should every retailer in every state have to keep track of, and remit all of that nonsense to every other state government around the country? Or should your fellow state citizens simply pay up when they buy something big ticket from out of state?

      And lastly: how about simply making your state a more attractive place from which to OPERATE a large retailer? That way you get WAY more cash flow into the state coffers... income taxes on the employees, corporate incomes and real-estate taxes, taxes on all of the services and utilities that the company uses in the state, taxes on all of the services and items that the employees consume in that state, taxes on the incomes of all of the third-party vendors and service providers that support the company in your state. What you SHOULD be doing is asking your legislators to find ways to make your local infrastructure and circumstances very attractive to the next Amazon.
    • by kimvette (919543)

      Why should the mom-and-pop diner that ekes out a living by selling coffee and donuts be forced to comply with the onerous burden of collecting and remitting taxes on every cup of joe they sell while the multi-billion dollar sale companies like Amazon get a free ride?

      Amazon does not get a free ride: they have to charge and remit taxes in any state in which they have a physical presence. If you live in say, Nebraska and an Amazon vendor has a physical presence in NE and you purchase from them, you will be cha

    • by vertinox (846076)
      Fight for lower taxes across the board, fight for better spending efficiency by the government. Slashdot readers are tech savvy people who can avoid sales taxes by ordering online. If you fight to keep the special treatment of internet companies over brick-and-mortar companies, you are no better than the vested special interests that you often criticize.

      That doesn't make much sense because most brick and mortars have store fronts these days. In reality, if internet companies want to avoid sales tax, they'll
  • Could be a boost to the 'failed' attempts at establishing 'free' wifi in urban & other areas, many of which originally intended to help the poor who - as often - were missing out on an important part of modern society.

    Also for sites that encourage listing 'free' hotspots and help you with establishing your own. Too many to list here - Google is your friend, (uh, if you're logged out and using Noscript etc.)

    Finally, if you're near a border, or have a rich friend that's just a little too far away, you ca
    • How do you think they pay for those "free" services? Through taxes. There is no such thing as a "free" government service. Your Wi-Fi may be "free" but you'll end up paying more at the store, or on your property taxes, etc. Government is supposed to be a zero sum game. If you add something you have to taking something from somewhere else. And honestly, having done contract IT work for State and Federal agencies for almost seven years, I'm not sure I'd want to use a municipal WiFi service (not a knock
      • What's wrong with that? Should the poor be made to pay for street lighting?

        I'm no fan of big gov. or taxes, (as a self-employed consultant living in a high-tax country - believe me, I'm REALLY not!)
        Like you, I've worked with gov. agencies and I'm pretty sure I'd still have my own ISP - like my kids go to private schools.

        Yet I accept that some of my tax dollars are and should be used to help people less fortunate than I am. Plus, I'm sick of having to re-buy access, at exorbitant rates and with indifferent
    • "many of which originally intended to help the poor who - as often - were missing out on an important part of modern society."

      Because we all know the most important thing that poor folks need is internet access. You do realize that they already have this access if they chose to go to a library.
      • Because we all know the most important thing that poor folks need is internet access. You do realize that they already have this access if they chose to go to a library.

        Hell YES!, The poor can get just as much use out of the internet as someone who can afford net access. Heck they can even use the net to find a job, or a better paying job, just like those who can afford it. I knew homeless people who had a cellphone just for this reason. Sure some may be able to use the library, but if you're looking

  • Appears this might just be a United States thing.
    Wikipedia article regarding the tax-free Internet act: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Tax_Freedom_Act [wikipedia.org]
  • What is the tax for? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by foniksonik (573572) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:13AM (#20754983) Homepage Journal
    Taxes are typically set in order for the government (State or Federal or City) to aggregate some money to DO SOMETHING. What will they DO with this money? If they will build out Municipal networks with the money, extend fibre to neighborhoods that don't currently get it because it's not profitable enough for the private company to invest, then I am FOR the taxes. If it's just going to go into a slush fund that will pay bonuses or something then I am AGAINST the taxes.

    Does anyone know what these taxes are for?
    • by moeinvt (851793)
      "Does anyone know what these taxes are for?"

      They cover the cost of the government agencies monitoring all Internet traffic.
    • More likely is they would say that the taxes are used for providing networks to those folks, maybe provide them, then 20 years from now when the taxes are STILL on the book, take the money and borrow against it to fund "Pet Project of the term" stuff. Or they skip the 20 years, place an IOU in that tax account and use the money for general funds.

      I remember the argument when the gaming boats came to Missouri that their funds would create "300 Million in new revenue a year for education in the state". (No

      • I agree that accountability is needed. Who are these people who are abusing the legislation that the people have passed? Vote them out. I'd say that taxes should have a 1 year date on them.... with maybe a 2 year ramp up period to collect enough money to get something done... if they aren't being used for the intended purpose then they go away or are reduced or expanded as needed. That's how corporate budgets work (yes that also gets abused but in a different way), if you don't accomplish something useful w
  • by GarfBond (565331) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @09:36AM (#20755207)
    This is a ban on Internet SERVICE taxes, not state sales taxes. This would prevent a collection of sales and other taxes on your monthly ISP bill, such as what occurs with your cell phone and usual cable bill.
  • Get people hooked, ( by getting it into everyday mainstream business as nearly a necessity ) then raise the costs incrementally until people balk. Then back down just enough so people can keep buying the drugs..
  • I have cable service for internet and digital tv. If I watch "Heros" from the tv feed, I pay a tax on the tv service. If I watch the same show after downloading it from nbc.com, I don't have to pay a tax on the internet service. Both downloads come over the same cable in digital form. Please explain why one should be taxed and the other not.
  • by MarsDude (74832)
    you pay for internetaccess but no tax on that???

    and now maybe americans may have to pay taxes for their internetaccess ???? you mean... like for every other service/product ?

    crybabies

Riches: A gift from Heaven signifying, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." -- John D. Rockefeller, (slander by Ambrose Bierce)

Working...