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Wisconsin Passes Digital Download Tax

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the harvesting-the-tubes dept.

Government 327

McGruber writes with news that the State of Wisconsin has passed legislation to extend sales tax to digital downloads. The new law will go into effect on October 1st. Estimates suggest that the 5% tax on "downloads of music, games, books, ring tones and other video entertainment" will bring in $6.7 million annually. "[Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle] has been fighting for the change for years. He and other state officials say it is a matter of fairness: Internet vendors shouldn't have a tax-exempt advantage over Wisconsin's brick-and-mortar retail stores." Similar legislation has been proposed in North Carolina, and we've previously discussed New York's foray into taxing sales made online in addition to downloaded purchases.

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That's it -we're fucked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942239)

Between this and the recent story about how they're going to require home routers to maintain logs, we're completely fucked. Everything decent about the internet has been shot in the ass.

Fuck, this shit sucks.

That's it -we're fucked: Film at 11. (2, Funny)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942309)

Between this and the recent story about how they're going to require home routers to maintain logs, we're completely fucked. Everything decent about the internet has been shot in the ass.

Fuck, this shit sucks.

Slashdot has been shot...Where?!

Re:That's it -we're fucked. (0, Troll)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942753)

require home routers to maintain logs

Link/care to elaborate on that?

Re:That's it -we're fucked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942801)

link [slashdot.org]

Fortunately (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942241)

You can still get your cheese tax free.

Re:Fortunately (1)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942341)

And your Linux since it isn't a purchase. ;-)

Re:Fortunately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942343)

Only if the governor gets to spray it in your face though.

I live in WI, and I say this sucks (5, Informative)

neo-mkrey (948389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942255)

In addition to this, the current legislature wants to increase the state sales tax another 0.5%, add a tax to car insurance sales and put toll booths on the Interstate. This after they voted themselves a 5.5% wage increase.

If it moves.... (2, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942469)

If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it.

A tax on auto insurance? That's a regressive one. Oh, do they want more uninsured drivers on the road? Lovely. I can see how everybody wins with that proposal.

Fine. Do I get representation in WI's legislature? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942565)

You want to tax digital downloads? Fine. Then give this Texan representation in your legislature. Otherwise, fuck off.

Re:I live in WI, and I say this sucks (0)

pentalive (449155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942713)

CA is getting a load of new taxes too.

Start up a bunch of give away programs when the state has income. When the state looses income don't stop the give away program, no, tax everyone to the tune of a new 14.4 BILLION and think of new ways to give it away.

How do they enforce this? (5, Insightful)

SigNuZX728 (635311) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942257)

I'm a little confused how they're going to enforce this law against companies that have no physical presence in the state? I did not see that addressed in the article.

Re:How do they enforce this? (4, Insightful)

doktor-hladnjak (650513) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942307)

I don't think the physical presence aspect is affected by this legislation at all. Previously, digital downloads were just not applicable to sales tax in Wisconsin, much like food or medical supplies are not taxable in certain states. If Apple or Amazon don't have a business presence in the state, their stores will probably remain sales tax free.

I'm not sure why these articles are such news. We've been paying sales tax on digital downloads in Washington for as long as I can remember. We have both an Apple (via Apple Stores) and Amazon (headquarters and all) presence too.

Re:How do they enforce this? (3, Insightful)

tmosley (996283) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942547)

If that's the case, then they are actually encouraging businesses to not come to their state, lest their internet operations be subjected to a costly tax. Large businesses like Apple or Amazon, which do such a large amount of online business, will probably end up stopping all operations in that state.

If you tax something, you get less of it. This is kindergarden economics.

Re:How do they enforce this? (1)

frieko (855745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942581)

they are actually encouraging businesses to not come to their state

Welcome to the wonderful world of taxes. I should know, I'm from New York and there's a reason our population has been dropping like a rock for decades.

Re:How do they enforce this? (2)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942615)

I like New York for two reasons, lake ontario and the weather.

Taxes are what is really annoying. I claim zero dependents with only 35,000 a year salary and i still owe NY state taxes.

Re:How do they enforce this? (1)

oliphaunt (124016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942819)

exactly. They've passed the law, now let's see them enforce it.

Re:How do they enforce this? (1)

jimmyhat3939 (931746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942347)

Also, I figure a lot of people who live in that state will just list a friend's address in another state. Since nothing physical is being delivered, there's no effect on the actual purchase if one does this.

Re:How do they enforce this? (1)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942401)

But on credit card purchases, in order to combat fraud, a lot of vendors are requiring billing address and "shipping address" to match.

Re:How do they enforce this? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942433)

Then they change the billing address of one of their cards, and pay it online.

Re:How do they enforce this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942495)

[citation needed]

Re:How do they enforce this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942785)

[citation needed]

I have yet to see this used in a Slashdot discussion where the one using it wasn't making it obvious that they're a complete moron. Memes are cool/interesting/funny/applicable -- this is none of the above. Give up, already.

Re:How do they enforce this? (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942457)

I am guessing (am hoping) that total revenue from a business must be above a certain amount to collect download tax. Small businesses on the Internet cannot afford the time or money lost to bookkeeping expenses.
Retailers like Amazon and Apple can- they have armies of accountants who can take care of the paperwork.

Re:How do they enforce this? (0)

volxdragon (1297215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942545)

Small businesses on the Internet cannot afford the time or money lost to bookkeeping expenses.

I call bullshit. If the guy running a hotdog stand on the corner of any major city can collect and pay sales taxes, so can an Internet business. If it is 'cannot afford the time or money', then it shouldn't be in business in the first place. Hell, if they aren't already keeping accurate enough books that they could do this, they're probably already in a world of hurt when it comes to corporate tax (even a S-corp has to file) and personal income tax (or do you suggest they should get a free pass and be able to dodge those just because they're doing something magical with the Internet??!?)

Re:How do they enforce this? (5, Insightful)

dedmorris (1137577) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942719)

The hot dog vendor only collects tax, and more importantly has the expense of filing in only one location. The small internet vendor could potentially be held liable to collect, file, and understand the tax laws of thousands of taxing jurisdictions. It's more than just the states. Could Madison attempt to enforce a download tax? What about the Dane County High School Football Stadium levy? Historically, out-of-state businesses have been protected in the US by nexus requirements. There are tens of thousands of taxing jurisdictions in the US.

Re:How do they enforce this? (1)

JoshHeitzman (1122379) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942911)

The guy running a hotdog stand only has to know the sales tax codes applicable that single location and submit receipts to the government entities with jurisdiction over that location. On the other hand a company doing national business over the internet would need to be familiar with thousands of sales tax codes, since many localities have additional codes beyond state sales tax codes, and make submissions to every single jurisdiction they've had a customer in.

Re:How do they enforce this? (1)

virtualnz (1187667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942549)

I agree, the other problem is that does this apply to businesses located in other states selling to people in Wisconsin or vice versa, businesses selling to people located in other states or overseas. How do they regulate it and how do they distinguish if the buisness is based in Wisconsin, but sells from a "branch" or "Headquarters" located somewhere else?

Re:How do they enforce this? (4, Insightful)

KingFeanor (950059) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942811)

The Wisconsin Income tax form has a spot on it for WI residents to report "use" tax for items they purchased which should be subject to sales tax. A WI resident is supposed to pay the "use" (really sales) tax on any items purchased online which would have been subject to sales tax in a WI store. So this bill just expands that to the digital downloads. For the most part this is just an "on your honor" tax. Most of us will never pay it given we don't like it and they really can't figure out that we owe it.

Really its easy to enforce. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942869)

Technically in most states anything you purchase in another state and bring home is subject to your state's taxes too. So really this is already in place.

No one claims it since its hard to track so we all feel safe ignoring it. However, its easy to track these purchases if you use giant services like paypal, or master-card to pay the bill. The small time operators taking money orders will sneak past, for now.

Not too hard to ditch... (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942261)

Option 1: Start using PayPal with an out-of-state relative's address
Option 2: Get a PO box over state lines, and open a bank account there while you're at it.

...or Option 3: Move to Oregon, where we don't have a sales tax.

I am curious, though - they expect to make $6.7m per year... how much of that will disappear into enforcement and accounting? Doesn't really seem like there's enough return on it to balance the hordes of pissed-off constituents.

/P

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (2, Insightful)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942303)

Option 4: http://thepiratebay.org/ [thepiratebay.org]

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (2, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942561)

Option 5:
Pay the 4cents to keep your local government solvent.

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942935)

Option 5:
Pay the 4cents to keep your local government solvent.

Why should a government not be forced to lay people off when the economy is? Besides, if the economy contracts, there's less paperwork and accounting and everything to be done, as well as less tax revenue to spend, so there should be no problem getting rid of jobs.

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942379)

You forgot to mention that gas is about 25 cents per gallon in Oregon because self-service gas stations are illegal. Or were you planning on surprising them with that little tidbit when they got out there?

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942429)

*an extra 25 cents per gallon -- haven't had my coffee yet.

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (1)

TheNucleon (865817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942481)

I'm in Oregon and I'd like to see some numbers to back up your claim. I wouldn't be surprised if gas was a little higher, but 25 cents/gallon? I am skeptical. Also, be sure to factor in that different states of the US have wide variations in gas price, and as far as I know, just Oregon and one other state (can't recall) are the only ones that have this provision.

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (1)

volxdragon (1297215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942555)

New Jersey...

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942611)

And guess what? We have some of the cheapest gas in the country - the full-service law (which adds jobs, however bad they are) comes with a decrease in fuel tax.

Cheapest gas on the eastern seaboard, NJ has.

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (1)

geniusj (140174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942703)

My fiancee is from NJ. She used to make this gas price argument until I pointed out that, sure, the gas is cheap. But with all the tolls, I think it's at best, a wash.

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (1)

great throwdini (118430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942575)

As far as I know, just Oregon and one other state (can't recall) are the only ones that have this provision.

New Jersey also requires "full service" gas stations.

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942597)

We have both types of gas stations out here. The cost difference is so negligible (2-3 cents a gallon?) that I go to full service stations any time the weather is inclement and I need fuel.

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (2, Funny)

somanyrobots (1334451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942437)

You forgot to mention that gas is about 25 cents per gallon in Oregon because self-service gas stations are illegal.?

Can we ban self-service stations here in the Northeast, too? I'd love 25 cents a gallon...

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942505)

You forgot to mention that gas is about 25 cents per gallon in Oregon because self-service gas stations are illegal. Or were you planning on surprising them with that little tidbit when they got out there?

25 cents per gallon of gas AND no sales tax?! What else can you tell me/.

OSDL, which has a datacenter in Oregon, made news in 2004 when they hired Linus Torvalds, developer of the Linux kernel.

You guys ALSO employ one of my two personal gods (the other being, of course, the flying spaghetti monster )?! What a state!

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942829)

You forgot Intel, which has a HUGE R&D investment out here...

(the other being, of course, the flying spaghetti monster )

Oh, wait, no you didn't. my bad :)

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942517)

The average price of gas in Oregon is $2.113 dollars. The average prices of gas in Washington state is $2.199 dollars. Your argument is invalid.

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942543)

I filled up yesterday at 1.769. Why is the cost of gas in Oregon nearing a half dollar more?

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942499)

The key is to sneak the tax in early, when it doesn't make much money, so the early adopters get used to it. Then, as its use increases exponentially, the tax is just accepted as the way it is...

Re:Not too hard to ditch... (3, Insightful)

cortesoft (1150075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942573)

Yeah, this seems strange that you would go as far as to commit tax fraud, but you seem to be against downloading a free copy from file sharers. I am curious; is there a moral reason for this duality (maybe you think it is wrong to not pay an artist but not wrong to not pay the government?), or do you just enjoy thinking up ways to get out of having to do something someone is trying to make you do?

economy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942267)

Glad to see that WI is working to help stimulate the economy by pulling more money out of it!!

Re:economy (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942439)

Hey, California just passed enough tax increases to cancel out the Obama-stimpack. And when the economy here dies a little more, and revenues shortfall again, they will raise taxes again. Rinse and repeat. And big government fans think this is rational behavior and cheer it on. And people wonder why I'm considering retirement options overseas.

Re:economy (1)

Dolohov (114209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942553)

And big government fans think this is rational behavior and cheer it on.

There aren't really any big government fans. Just "government by our side" fans who don't mind the government being too big. Witness the last sixteen years, where each party suddenly loved small government the instant it lost power.

Re:economy (1)

nicklott (533496) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942595)

Diddums. Tax is a zero sum game, it might hurt you but it's not going to hurt the economy overmuch: tax goes up, public spending goes up. For lower tax regimes than the US you might want to limit your search to Africa and some of the more war-torn regions of the planet. As a rule of thumb, anywhere with ADSL is going to be more expensive than where you are now.

Re:economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942779)

And people wonder why I'm considering retirement options overseas.

It's not going to help you. They recently passed legislation that prevents you from taking your money out of the U.S. without paying a huge tax penalty. Damn if you do, damn if you don't.

Re:economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942569)

As a former and future resident of MN, I am all for WI driving more efficient businesses outside its borders in an effort to make things "fair" for their less efficient B&M stores.

Re:economy (1, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942695)

"Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Take his fish away and tell him he's lucky just to be alive, and he'll figure out how to catch another fish for you to take away tomorrow!"

I guess the governor of Wisconsin has read the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates.

Why now? (4, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942271)

Has something changed recently that makes all these states think Quill Corp. v. North Dakota no longer applies? Are they just following New York's lead and hoping the opinion is reversed? This is 17 year old case law; I don't see what would have changed to warrant reversing the precedent.

Re:Why now? (2, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942369)

Quill doesn't prohibit that kind of taxation, it just requires that the seller have a nexus in that state. Apple could easily be taxed, as they have Apple stores in Wisconsin. I think, but am not sure, that Amazon might have some brick-and-mortar presence in Milwaukee.

Re:Why now? (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942511)

Amazon has a presense in WI. They own ShopBop.com, and I believe the store "the bop" on state street, Madison, that goes with it..

Re:Why now? (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942733)

And do they make more money from those interests than it will cost to implement a single-state sales tax? Because if they don't, I can't imagine they'll still have those interests by October.

Also, here in the UK, I'm fairly sure that my local Apple store is actually a franchise. I don't know if that's a common feature, or not.

Re:Why now? (1)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942513)

"I think, but am not sure, that Amazon might have some brick-and-mortar presence in Milwaukee."

They certainly have a presence here in Massachusetts. The local Amazon warehouse/distro center is in Springfield. A two hour or so drive from where I live in Boston.

Even if the Commonwealth does get around to legislating a sales tax on Amazon purchases here, it's still cheaper to use Amazon, and enjoy, in many instances, next day/second day delivery at no extra cost.

Re:Why now? (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942523)

Quill doesn't prohibit that kind of taxation, it just requires that the seller have a nexus in that state. Apple could easily be taxed, as they have Apple stores in Wisconsin. I think, but am not sure, that Amazon might have some brick-and-mortar presence in Milwaukee.

If that's the case, then Apple and Amazon should be collecting sales tax now, no new legislation required.

Re:Why now? (1)

droopycom (470921) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942871)

They do already on physical items (ie: books, computers) but not on downloads (songs, ebook, ...)
because, obviously, it was not required in Wisconsin yet. It is required in other states, and they do collect on those items too.

 

Re:Why now? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942689)

Quill doesn't prohibit that kind of taxation, it just requires that the seller have a nexus in that state

That decision is going to hurt in the long run. Here in the UK there are problems caused by exactly this kind of law in the EU. When you buy something in the EU, you pay VAT in the seller's jurisdiction. Companies like play.com exploit this by having their offices in the channel islands. The energy cost of buying from them is significantly higher, because their goods are all shipped out to the channel islands and back again, but the total cost is lower because they don't charge 15% VAT on top. It's hard for other businesses to compete with them because of this, unless they can also ship from Jersey.

The only good solution to this is to harmonize tax rates across the free-trade zone, so you charge the same VAT or sales tax in every EU member state, and in every US state. This will probably happen in the EU over the next ten years. I can't see it happening the the USA though; state legislatures are happy to give up their independence over matters of personal freedom, but they'll should loudly if you remove their control over their income.

Re:Why now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942693)

That's an Apple Hardware Inc. store, so sorry, not an Apple iPod Music store... No taxes for jooo.

Re:Why now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942407)

At least in the case of iTunes, Apple probably has a physical presence in most states, which could distinguish its situation from Quill Corp.

ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942295)

have fun taxing my torrents you money hungry pricks.

Order out of state (1)

Anonymous Showered (1443719) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942299)

What if you order/download something from another state? Do the taxes still apply?

Re:Order out of state (2, Interesting)

crashnbur (127738) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942383)

I believe Wisconsin internet vendors can only tax Wisconsin buyers. Out-of-state taxation would basically be taxation without representation, which is what previous legal precedents have disallowed... that is, until the federal government decides to pass a law enabling states to cooperate on internet sales taxation.

And just wait until the federal government gets involved directly. For only pennies on the dollar, an eBay sales tax could fund Social Security and Medicare for through the baby boom crunch. (Or could it...?)

Re:Order out of state (1)

geniusj (140174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942747)

In California they call it a "use tax" instead of a "sales tax" and therefore have managed to evade the whole brick and mortar problem. You can't bring a new car into CA and have it registered unless you pay the difference in sales tax, for example. Oh, I mean "use tax".

Is there ANYTHING you won't complain about? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942301)

Whine, whine whine.

If you don't like it and are in the minority so you can't change it, move.

Re:Is there ANYTHING you won't complain about? (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942727)

Because it's so easy, in a down economy with high unemployment and a crappy housing market, for someone to leave their job and sell their house and move to a new state.

they should be taxing faggots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942337)

everytime they take it up their ass.

faggots are a drain on society. they get diseases and they fight like little sissies. we should allow them to be in the military though... as targets. live faggots running down the rifle range so real men can put bullets in them.

Re:they should be taxing faggots (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942389)

Got issues?

Re:they should be taxing faggots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942503)

I don't get it. You trying to be funny?

Do they tax out of state mailorder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942387)

It's only 'fair' if they also tax Out of State Mailorder.

Usage Tax (1)

cob666 (656740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942423)

What's really interesting about this trend is that in most states where sales tax is charged, the taxing department calls it a sales and use tax. The consumer is actually responsible for paying the 'use' tax on most items purchased either out of state where a lesser tax was paid or on items where no sales tax was paid.

It seems like some states are trying to force the collection of the usage part of the sales and use tax onto the retailer.

Fine By Me! (1)

Ignatius D'Lusional (1010911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942441)

I live in Wisconsin, and I gotta say, this doesn't bother me at all. After all, 5% of $0 is still $0. I mean really, who pays for downloads these days?

On a more serious note, I think this is just fine. If your state has a sales tax, it should apply to all purchases, not excluding online purchases. Seeing as how commerce is quickly moving from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping, I think it's only fair that the state get their cut.

Re:Fine By Me! (1)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942627)

How so? In theory, the sales tax is levied based on the state providing the opportunity to make the sale (police, business regulation, etc.). Sellers from out of state aren't subject to its laws, nor do they benefit from the state's services. If anything, sales tax should apply in the state of incorporation, but in that case, every online retailer would reincorporate in Delaware and Oregon. Both of which would be happy to host them because they'd get the income taxes off the new employment brought to the area, without having to actually do any real work.

What about peer to peer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942443)

So does that mean anyone downloading torrents are now have a legal charge of tax evasion to worry about? What about a file I send to to a relative? Do they pay tax to download it?

Here come the internet police

Re:What about peer to peer? (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942781)

Think for a minute. It's a sales tax, not a bandwidth tax. If you're "selling" something for $0, 5% of that is still $0. This is not a hard problem.

is it a sale if you don't own the music? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942459)

Given that the RIAA/MPAA's position is that you don't actually *own* the music and movies that you "buy", one could argue that no sale took place, and therefore a sales tax should not apply.

Re:is it a sale if you don't own the music? (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942749)

You still pay tax when you hire something, don't you?

Re:is it a sale if you don't own the music? (1)

Ashriel (1457949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942913)

You're technically buying the license.

no one wants to pay taxes (1, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942479)

Things have to be paid for, and if money is not available, things cannot be bought. As a growing business model, internet purchases should not be taxed. But the model is pretty mature. the players that are competitive and make money are clear. Those that did not have a good model have pretty much gone. If the only advantage of an online shop is the tax savings, then that online shop is not really saving any money. All they are doing is leeching.

This have further fascinating implications. For instance, the US goes into a situation that drives the US national debt up to 10 trillion(for the rush fans out there, we are talking the total debt, not the yearly deficit: on in this case the total debt is about 80% of GDP which happens when you run a 5% yearly deficit for 8 years, assuming that you start with a 40% debt). Every one complains that the soldiers in the situation do not have enough equipment, but they really can't because at the same time we are spending too much money, we are also cutting the taxes(another note for rush listeners, the DOE is about 13% of the budget, while military and terrorism spending is spread along 3 departments, about 25% of the budget, including a new spending item, department of homeland security, which was added by a conservative government to the tune of 2% of the budget).

Now, if we as people would reduce out garbage so it could be picked up every other week(food wastes for composting picked up every week) or our driving of big cars so the roads would not get so torn up, or sent kids to school with supplies and computers and food so that schools would not have to provide these items, then maybe we could complain about taxes. But since we like to spend the money, then we have to pay the money. That is the true conservative model. Not the foo foo french model where only the peasants pay the taxes, and the aristocracy gets to buy a new pair of silk stocking every day of the year.

Dear Wisconsin... (3, Funny)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942483)

Good luck with that.

Love,
anyone who ever used the internet *ever*.

Congrats, to the NWCN (0, Offtopic)

hAckz0r (989977) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942501)

It seems that the the National Wireless Community Network (NWCN) has just been born. Comcast, At&T, eat your heart out. So far there have been a hodgepodge of wireless community networks, and many competing dynamic mesh routing protocols to choose from. With this news things are sure to get standardized now. Once there is a decentralized mesh network of WiFi onion routers, the legislators only recourse will be to make all the WiFi networks illegal or to force the source of the download (e.g. China, North Korea, Cuba) to collect US taxes for each US, State, and local Government all while tracking the private US Citizens SSN's for tax purposes. What a choice. I'm glad I'm not a politician.

Lets be honest... (1)

basementman (1475159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942525)

It's not like cheese is capable of downloading things from the internet anyway.

Interstate Commerce Clause (1)

mattfata (1038858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942541)

Doesn't this violate the Interstate Commerce Clause? States do not have the power to regulate commerce between states. The only downloads this should apply to need to be originated and terminated in Wisconsin, in which case I believe that normal sales tax would apply.

Double tax? (1)

david_morgan (5148) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942641)

Ok it's not technically a double tax but...

Here's just a thought to get people talking. If you purchase an iTunes card with a value of say $50, you will pay sales tax on that as well. Being from the Midwest, I know that everyone already here wants to tax anything plastic as well under a guise of "green" since it lasts forever in a landfill. So you may end up paying a tax on that as well.

Now the average rate for sales tax in the Midwest is about 7.25 depending on where you are. So let's start doing a little math.

$50 for the card, plus 3.63 for sales tax. Plus if there's a green tax they tend to cost about 1% so that's an extra 50 cents. Out the door roughly $54.13 for that card. Now when I use it, or if I give it to someone else as a gift and they use it in Wisconsin they'll pay the 5% per download. Let's just assume $1 for each download, and we have each song costing $1.05. You get about 47 and a half songs with that gift card I just gave you there. Wisconsin did nothing for the upkeep of any of the infrastructure to get me that download. Probably did nothing to help the artist in anyway, and odds are have done nothing in general to said person to listen to the music (other then telling them to turn it down while in the car!)

I guess IMO states, nations, etc that tax the transaction to purchase something more then once annoy the crap out of me and really are just saying "WE NEED YOU TO FUND US IN EVERY WAY. YOU'LL PAY OR ELSE!"

Re:Double tax? (2, Informative)

slash.duncan (1103465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942771)

AFAIK, gift cards/certificates/checks, etc, are NOT initially taxed, precisely /because/ the tax is paid when they're redeemed. I know that's the way it has been around here, anyway. They're handled straight across. A five dollar bill gets you a five dollar gift check/card/certificate/whatever.

It's also worth noting that the business doesn't book the sale of the gift check/card/certificate, either. It's considered the equivalent of a cash for cash transaction, a five dollar bill for five ones, or whatever. The sale is booked only when the gift is redeemed, or in areas where it can expire or if there are service fees attached (as there are to gift Visa/MC cards most of the time), at the time of expiration or charge of said fees.

So no double taxation.

Re:Double tax? (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942807)

Are you sure on that original point? When I bought gift cards for other stores at my local grocery store, I was not charged sales tax on them, even though Chicago has the highest sales tax in the country.

just not going to work, "well" anyway... (1)

thecolor (1332871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942645)

aside from those that just don't want to deal with easy workarounds; diff addys, rerouting your purchasing traffic, etc., I'm surprised we're not just used to being taxed to death. In WA, we're taxed on so many things I can't tell what we're not supposed to be taxed on, etc. So when I see no tax, I'm amazed and delighted. :)

If you didn't vote Libertarian, you ASKED FOR THIS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942667)

Anyone who voted Democrat or Republican, shut up and go sit on the sidelines.

You've already demonstrated that you want an intrusive, activist, fiscally irresponible government and you have no room to complain now. You ASKED FOR THIS!

Bob-

Vestiges of King George (1)

scorpivs (1408651) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942711)

When I grow up, I wannabe the middleman in an economy based on making the same money twice. If I live that long.

Golden Goose (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942837)

Goose, meet axe.

FAIRNESS? (1, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942843)

He and other state officials say it is a matter of fairness

That is such bullshit. If you want to make it "fair", eliminate the sales tax on brick & mortar operations.

What? That wouldn't be fair to the State you say? Well, how about you find some fiscal responsibility so you won't need so much tax revenue in the first place. If you want to talk about fairness, that would be a far better place to start than simply finding another taxation opportunity.

Bloodsucking leeches, all of them. Although I'm not really being fair to the leech. At least that little bloodsucker will give you an effective anticoagulant in exchange for a bit of your circulatory fluid, maybe help prevent a heart attack or a stroke. Goddamn tax-intoxicated politicians, on the other hand, are far more likely to cause a heart attack.

Yay! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942859)

Finally, a legal excuse to steal music!

Seems perfectly fair to me (1)

kno3 (1327725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942891)

Can someone point to one good reason why digital download sales should be tax exempt? Seems ridiculous to me. Quit whining and pay your darned taxes! its only fair.

You FaIL It (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942939)

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