The Tax Man Discovers Technology

from the tax-everything! dept

Apparently, the committee that writes US tax laws has suggested it’s a reasonable option to think about taxing all kinds of communication services from internet connections to VoIP — just because it can. It’s based on a law originally put in place to pay for the Spanish American War that taxes telephone service. However, realizing that people are starting to use the internet to get around traditional phone calls, the idea of just taxing anything communications related is suddenly looking good — even if there’s no real justification for it other than “the government needs more money.” Of course, these are just recommendations, and one theory is that this extreme “tax bleeping everything” plan is to make the “tax VoIP” plan not seem quite so bad. Update: Over on Dave Farber’s Interesting People List, there’s an interesting note putting this information in context, suggesting that it’s not nearly as bad as it sounds from the original article.

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Comments on “The Tax Man Discovers Technology”

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cheep squirrel says:


and government. the only way to truely kill something is to starve it. so the natural thing that must be done to government it to starve it of one thing that makes it go, which is taxes. this has never worked, of course, but one has to try.

I doubt that tax everything communications can work either though the number of users of the internet is a smaller number than the dumb masses that would cry out if you taxed them, so probably putting a tax on the internet connection and various other ways will work. there are sufficient technological ways to disguise most any specific part of what is on the interenet and get around taxation, so taxing at the lowest level is probably the only way to get it. It’ll probably kill off the internet to do so, however, as the masses that see no problem paying the $20 / month that pump in millions will fade away if is suddenly costs $30 or $40, other than to feed some dips**t in DC. And though some core users will be stuck needing the internet, fact is that people ran on direct T1 lines privately for a hell of a long time before the internet grew to what is was, and it could just as easily be made to wither with idiots trying to tax it. as well as regulate it, but the posting didn’t mention that.

Ed says:

Re: taxes suck the life out of the economy

Umm, I’m living in France right now, and if you don’t want big government this ain’t the place for you. 40% income tax, plus VAT. Bureaucracy is a French word, but even if they didn’t invent it they’ve pretty much perfected it here and have quite a large cadre of government workers and state mandated functions. It’s a nice place, really, but not an example of lean government.

Unfortunately I’m a US-based employee so I don’t get the benefit of the state mandated 35 hour work week with additional paid time off to encourage employers to hire more people. But I’m not paying 40% of my salary to the government, either.

Steve Mueller (user link) says:


It’ll probably kill off the internet to do so, however, as the masses that see no problem paying the $20 / month that pump in millions will fade away if is suddenly costs $30 or $40, other than to feed some dips**t in DC.

That’s one of the most ridiculous comments I’ve read in long time.

How many government utility taxes approach the 50-100% tax cited in your example? A more likely rate would be under 5%, which would be $1 more for a $20 Internet bill.

Do you really think the Internet will die because people have to pay $21 instead of $20 (or $63 instead of $60 for high-speed broadband)? I don’t.

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