Slowly, But Surely, Politicians Turning VoIP Into A Taxable Entity
from the and-so-it-goes... dept
Some politicians have been trying anything possible to come up with ways to tax VoIP systems, even if those taxes don't necessarily make sense. While the FCC has done it's best to stop state level taxation, it also used it's "quacks like a duck test" to decide that VoIP providers had to get up to speed on 911 services as quickly as possible. It looks like some politicians are pulling out the same test to figure out a way to add Universal Service Fee charges to VoIP connections as well. The idea behind the USF is to subsidize rural telco services, on the theory that it's too expensive otherwise for those areas to be served. The politicians backing this bill says it's necessary to tax VoIP to have the USF apply to broadband connections as well. Of course, this seems somewhat arbitrary. VoIP, after all, is just an application on the network. It's like saying they should add a special tax to every e-commerce transaction you make or every song you download (though, some are trying to do so) to support the USF. The only reason it seems more palatable when it's VoIP is because VoIP quacks like regular telephone service. This is really just some politicians' way of getting around the laws that ban the taxing of internet connections -- something that's been controversial for a long time. So, they figure, if they can't tax internet connections, why not tax the applications on top of the connection. Unfortunately, though, that opens up plenty of potential applications for politicians to tax once they realize the opportunity.