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UK Possibly Exploring "Google Tax"

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the price-of-success dept.

Government 312

The UK government is considering proposals that could hit Google and other search engines with an online advertising tax to help boost revenue for the BBC. While these proposals are still in their infancy, some are already attacking the idea of taxing a growth industry in the middle of a recession. "Sources say the proposed taxes have been discussed by officials at the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. They would also have to be approved by the Treasury before they could be introduced. The chair of the culture, media and sport committee, Conservative MP John Whittingdale, dismissed what he called a 'windfall tax' on search engines."

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wow (1)

Jesterace (914041) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816313)

Is there nothing they will go after?

Re:wow (4, Funny)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816337)

The better question is "is there nothing they won't go after?"

Re:wow (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27816951)

The better question is "is there nothing they won't go after?"

The best question of all is "when will you assholes learn to proofread?"

Proofreading! It's not only easy and trivial and trivially easy and easily trivial, but it prevents you from looking like a moron, too! Apparently the only thing easier and more trivial is neglecting to proofread and then coming up with lame excuses for why you're too lazy to do it or why you don't think it's useful. Such excuses include "it's just Slashdot, I mean after all I'll spend hours posting there and participating in discussions but what do I care if anyone actually reads it? Of course there is nothing inconsistent about my position and it's not intended to cover up laziness at all."

Re:wow (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27816363)

the bankers.

Re:wow (5, Insightful)

Loki_1929 (550940) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816467)

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

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27817221)

You could have just said, "If we don't control it, then control it."

Their attitude to taxes isn't so different from medieval barons. They want a piece of everything for themselves. They tell us anything they can to excuse it and make it sound ok, but ultimately they act just like the old medieval barons and its to help them.

Re:wow (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817347)

Humans are so damned silly. Politicians, even more so.
I wonder if they'll ever realize that control is as much an illusion as freedom is?
There has GOT to be a better way to do things than to tax the living daylights out of everything.

Re:wow (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27816535)

No.

If I were Google I'd just do my best to ban all of the UK.

Re:wow (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816933)

If they can still make a reasonable profit, why not do so?

Re:wow (2, Insightful)

Burkin (1534829) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817031)

Because it's not Google's job to prop up the BBC's revenues?

Re:wow (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817119)

I'm not suggesting that it is. I'm suggesting that businesses generally treat taxes as a cost, not as something that is morally offensive, so why expect anything different here?

Rumor is... (1)

narfspoon (1376395) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816675)

A homeless man claiming to be a "time-traveler" was arrested for failing to pay back taxes.
He claims to have repaid them fully in the year 2010.

The stolen police box [wikipedia.org] he lived in was returned to the London Police.

Re:wow (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816877)

MP's expenses...

It's a matter of national security y'know.. The kind of bath plug a minister chooses, or the type of porn her hubby/advisor prefers on their pay per view is vital information that could be of use to terrorists!!!!

Re:wow (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817093)

Erm... if by that you mean "won't go after", then maybe shrinking industries? Growth industries, by definition, are those that can afford higher taxes.

Stop it already! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27816315)

Let's not micro-tax every single thing on the Internet! They already get tax-revenue from the ISPs. Can't that be enough?!?!

Taxing growth industries ... as opposed to? (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816329)

some are already attacking the idea of taxing a growth industry in the middle of a recession.

What, so adding more taxes to dying industries is such a hot idea?

"Hey, we're making lots of profits - don't tax us!"

Re:Taxing growth industries ... as opposed to? (4, Insightful)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816495)

What, so adding more taxes to dying industries is such a hot idea?

"Hey, we're making lots of profits - don't tax us!"

How about the government for once having to do what everyone ELSE has to do in a recession? Do with LESS.

Here is how government works with respect to industry:

If it moves, TAX it.

If it survives, REGULATE it.

If it doesn't survive, SUBSIDIZE it.

I'm not saying that government should stay completely out of business with respect to consumer protection, and workplace safety, but it shouldn't be micromanaging or looking for ways to tax activity multiple times, which is what the UK is trying to do here. Google already pays taxes on earnings from their UK operations. What the government is wanting to do is essentially tax them AGAIN.

This is why international corporations are packing up and moving operations to countries with less regulation and less taxation, and given that with anything that is internet based, you can run it from ANYWHERE, what the UK is doing is encouraging Google to remove any operation from their soil and to lose what revenue they get from them. And I wouldn't blame them for it.

Businesses do not exist to funnel money into politicians coffers, they exist to make money.

Re:Taxing growth industries ... as opposed to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27817055)

Not true. It used to take an act of Congress in the U.S. to create a corporation. They would only pass the act if congress thought it would benefit themselves or the U.S. as a whole. Corporations exist to funnel money to politicians.

Re:Taxing growth industries ... as opposed to? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816507)

What, so adding more taxes to dying industries is such a hot idea?

They may have been thinking along the lines of "don't cause another dot com crash, leave the internet alone, it's a miracle it hasn't gone down with everything else."

On the other hand, I think a twitter tax would be the nail in the coffin for twitter. If it shuts people up about twitter, that might be one of my favorite taxes of all time.

Re:Taxing growth industries ... as opposed to? (5, Funny)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816635)

If it shuts people up about twitter, that might be one of my favorite taxes of all time.

If you're so angry about it, why don't you twitter to let people know?

Re:Taxing growth industries ... as opposed to? (4, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816685)

What, so adding more taxes to dying industries is such a hot idea?

Any time government gets involved to sort out winners from losers, the result is bad. Better idea is to tax things evenly, and let the winners and losers sort themselves out.

In this case, the fact that the BBC can't find a valid business model isn't Google's fault, and shouldn't be their problem.

Re:Taxing growth industries ... as opposed to? (4, Insightful)

madprof (4723) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816843)

The BBC don't need a business model. It's funded by licence fees.

Just not seeing the connection between Google and the BBC myself though...and it isn't as if this would be a hypothecated tax.

Re:Taxing growth industries ... as opposed to? (5, Insightful)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817023)

The issue is that it is possible now to watch all of the BBC's programming on demand for a week after it is broadcast without having a TV. No TV=no TV license. And the BBC is trying to expand its tax into this new medium.

Actually the Google connection seems excessively tenuous; likely they'll just charge us £200 for the privilege of having a functioning internet connection.

Re:Taxing growth industries ... as opposed to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27817505)

likely they'll just charge us £200 for the privilege of having a functioning internet connection.

Welcome to how the broadcast tax...I mean fees work in Germany. No TV, no radio? Hey doesn't matter you still have to pay for internet-enabled devices. Of course you don't even need an internet connection to get taxed. All you need is a device that could potentially do it.

Re:Taxing growth industries ... as opposed to? (1)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817025)

The BBC don't need a business model. It's funded by licence fees.

Unfortunately, the Beeb doesn't make nearly enough from the licence fee to fund the programming they make (and, some say, to attract the talent they need) - this is why they have to pursue licensing and merchandising deals for the likes of Dr Who and stuff.

Re:Taxing growth industries ... as opposed to? (-1, Troll)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817313)

Any time government gets involved to sort out winners from losers, the result is bad.

Really? Give examples to support that claim.

Better idea is to tax things evenly, and let the winners and losers sort themselves out.

That's a great idea. A level playing field. Unfortunately, the way industries do business isn't so simple. You can't impose a level playing field on all aspects of their business. By taxing evenly, you impose a disproportionate burden on some industries that will cause them to fail.

I'm not talking about individual organizations: I'm talking about industries. And so is the government in raising the spectre of this new tax.

Information-based industries are able to change the way they do business in a heartbeat. Industries such as ... ooh, let's pick one that's in the news right now, and struggling a bit ... the automotive manufacturing industry can take a year to change the way they do business at their most rapid rate of change.

The BBC isn't just a business though. It's a British public service. The UK government is perfectly entitled to tax what are mainly foreign competitors (in that they compete for the attention of the British) to support its own public endeavours.

It's not as if it's a protectionist policy or anything. It just raises the bar a little. Quality improves.

Finalleee! (2, Funny)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816763)

Taxes at your fingertips.

Gotta love this digital age. for (x=0;xTotalPagesInDatabase;x++) {p:=IndexedPage[x]; if (p.domain=uk) p.pagerank=0;}

Re:Taxing growth industries ... as opposed to? (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817183)

If they're going to tax something, it may as well be parasitic industries like advertising and search engines. It definitely helps that they're foreign so we're not damaging any of our own industries.

What for? (1)

Nocturna81 (1427457) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816331)

Why would Google, or any other advertiser, pay taxes to fund a public broadcast station? I don't see other commercial advertisers doing this (note, I'm not from the UK)

Re:What for? (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817521)

That's because the UK is really fucking weird when it comes to the BBC. I think the people running the BBC are actually running the entire UK government from behind the scenes.

Doubletaxing? (1)

nmme666 (1536765) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816335)

Interesting. How many different taxes can one government come up with?? Soon they will start introducing internet tax similar to your TV license (which is old fashioned anyway) but hey, why not?!

Re:Doubletaxing? (2, Informative)

Brad Mace (624801) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816725)

If you were going to tax something, a general tax on internet service seems vastly simpler to manage and monitor than going after individual online entities. So they'll choose the latter if anything comes of this at all.

Oh, I can see the flames rising! (2, Funny)

dmomo (256005) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816349)

We love Google and we hate TAX. Dump their ruddy tea overboard!

A truly impressive feat (1)

pzs (857406) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816371)

This government is actually moronic enough to make me wish the Tories were in power.

Taxes have that effect on people (5, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816529)

This government is actually moronic enough to make me wish the Tories were in power.

On this side of the pond, I was fascinated recently to see the number of tax protests being organized by local elected Democrats. It suited the national media's agenda to portray the tax protests as some kind of right wing/redneck phenomenon, but it was clear to anyone on the ground that it cut across the whole political spectrum.

Re:Taxes have that effect on people (4, Insightful)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816939)

The government needs to learn to live within its means. I love that a recession for everyone else means that the government just has to go looking for something else to tax. Well, sorry, that's not the way it works. We aren't making money and that's why you aren't getting any money yourself. So either take a pay cut, fire some of those useless sods that are just taking up space or figure out how to repair the economy. Taking more of our money is not an option.

(Yes, I said, "our" money. What, you don't think Google will just increase advertising rates to compensate for the tax? You can't tax business. There's no such thing. The cost is always just passed down through the goods that are ultimately purchased by the consumer.)

Re:Taxes have that effect on people (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817071)

I agree. The Government has been stupid enough to try to spend more and at the same time cut taxes. This implies that they have been spending your money and a little more on state projects (roads account for a large portion of that, and defense). Now they need to cash in on the check you gave them when you voted for their tax cuts.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, so every bit of government spending must be regained in taxes. You can choose not to pay taxes, give up your citizenship and enjoy none of its benefits. That is up to you.

The way this looks from Europe is that Americans (yes I am talking about all Americans, save for a few level-headed ones) have spent way more money than they will ever earn, both personally as well as through the government. Now the card house is coming down and you will either have to pay up or suffer the wrath of your biggest lender: China.

Re:Taxes have that effect on people (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817411)

Like I say above, deficit spending is the right thing to do during a recession; it's the unpopular step of raising taxes (pissing off the right) and lower spending (pissing off the left) during a boom that is politically more difficult.

Re:Taxes have that effect on people (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817503)

The bad thing is that during the previous boom, they did not raise taxes but continued their deficit spending spree. Now the trouble bites.

Re:Taxes have that effect on people (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817369)

The idea is to raise spending and lower taxes during a recession, take a deficit, and the lower spending and raise taxes during a boom. The problem is that the last couple administrations broke that rule by raising spending and lowering taxes during booms. I have to blame the right for this: they want all the populist cachet of always-lowering-taxes, but they don't have the balls to actually cut any programs.

Re:Taxes have that effect on people (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817539)

The government needs to learn to live within its means. I love that a recession for everyone else means that the government just has to go looking for something else to tax. Well, sorry, that's not the way it works. We aren't making money and that's why you aren't getting any money yourself.

Erm, RTFS -- the bit where it says "growth industry". I think you'll find that Google is making a pretty penny.

Re:Taxes have that effect on people (0, Troll)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816961)

it was clear to anyone on the ground that it cut across the whole political spectrum

True, because there are idiots in all parties. The news portrayed it as right-wing/redneck because they can't just call people morons on the nightly news.

John Stewart's coverage--via field reporter John Oliver--however, was pretty much perfect.

Re:Taxes have that effect on people (2, Interesting)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816971)

Personally, I hope the tax protests are the first step in a revolution. Most people here in the US despise the way our government is going (big government, more bureaucracy, more waste, etc.) and we are sick of these politicians (People like Barney Frank and Pelosi especially come to mind) acting like all the money we make automatically belongs to them and that we are simply allowed to keep what is left over after they have taken what they want from us as tax. Government needs to be reminded that they serve US, not the other way around.

Re:Taxes have that effect on people (-1, Troll)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817387)

Um, people in the US actually show a higher approval rating for their government than they have in years. You may want to stop drinking the talk-radio Kool-Aid.

Re:Taxes have that effect on people (0)

$1uck (710826) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817111)

Citation? Everything I've witnessed the "tax protests" were all carefully orchestrated by the GOP. Additionally they were rather retarded attempt to criticize the current administration which wasn't in any way shape or form responsible for the taxes being paid on the day of protest. Its even more ironic to not that since the tax policies of the current administration have actually gone into effect, my taxes have gone DOWN.

Re:Taxes have that effect on people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27817425)

If you'd remove that tin foil hat of yours, you might have seen pictures of kids waving signs showing how much in debt they're in. Now, you might say "when do kids pay taxes?". They don't, not for income or the like. The problem is that, when they get out of school, and get a job, 8-10 years down the road, they'll going to have to pay for the massive spending going on *NOW*, under *THIS PRESIDENT* and *THIS CONGRESS*. The debt is projected to increase by trillions over the next few years. Somebody has to pay it off.

That's the problem many of the tea party protestors are focusing on. Sure, April 15 is over for taxable year 2008. But there's 2009, 2010, and beyond. And someone has to pay off this debt. Government may have bailed out failing banks, mortgages, and who knows what else, but once they money comes due, somebody has to pay for it. That's why they're out there.

** Please note, when I say THIS CONGRESS, I mean just about every one of them in there, all parties, who threw fiscal responsibility to the wind. And gave themselves a nice payraise to boot.

Re:Taxes have that effect on people (4, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817553)

Citation?

oh, please. Push yourself away from Internet message boards for a day and join the real world.

My wife works for a radio station. She had to cover this as a news story, so she reached out to the organizers of the local protests and found their party affiliation to be pretty much split down the donkey/elephant middle -- especially since we live deep inside a "blue state." Her colleagues at other radio outlets owned by the same corp concurred: not left, not right, just angry people.

But, because it's anti-government, the pro-government shills worked overtime to paint it as some kind of partisan conspiracy. Much the same way the government shills tried to portray the anti-war protests as being manipulated by pro-left media outlets.

Y'know, as scary as the right-wing lockstep horse-blindered jack-booters were under Bush -- and they were pretty scary -- the lefty apologists are shaping up to be no less the fascist tools. I guess, as the man said, "power corrupts."

Re:Taxes have that effect on people (1, Interesting)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817401)

the whole political spectrum

...which in the US ranges from conservative to ultraconservative.

Don't you ever dare tell a socialist that Obama somehow matches their political ideals.

Re:Taxes have that effect on people (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817545)

Actually, I'm pretty sure Susan Roesgen is actually stupid enough to believe what she was saying.

Backfire? (2, Interesting)

TTURabble (1164837) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816417)

Couldn't Google et al just block the UK instead of paying the tax?
I wonder what would happen if the entire island was unable to access any search engines.

Re:Backfire? (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816481)

Ha - Nice!
How much is enough? Surely they're already taxed for data center/office real estate and utilities, income tax, and probably scores of other taxes that come with running a company with a global presence.
But, since google is US based, most of those taxes probably go to the US gov't

Re:Backfire? (2, Interesting)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817021)

Don't forget VAT. Any time you buy anything other than food, books, children's clothes, or a smattering of exempt items, you pay a "value added tax" of 15% over the base retail cost of the goods. And it's going up to 17.5% in the not too distant future.

And I thought that California's sales tax was high...

Re:Backfire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27817143)

In Portugal it's called "IVA" and is at the present day 20%, it was 21%, so nothing new...

Re:Backfire? (0, Offtopic)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816553)

I wonder what would happen if the entire island was unable to access any search engines.

My guess is that our (American) conservatives would find some way of blaming the entire Iraq/Afghanistan mess on Blair.

Re:Backfire? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816583)

Then I'd set up a search engine for the UK and pay the tax, on the basis that there's no longer a heft 100 ton gorilla (i.e. Google) to compete with.

Re:Backfire? (2, Insightful)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816623)

Couldn't Google et al just block the UK instead of paying the tax?
I wonder what would happen if the entire island was unable to access any search engines.

They could just shut down their UK specific service, leaving their users there with the option of google.com.

This would put the UK government in the position of ordering websites that refuse to pay them taxes to be firewalled out of the country. Which would have the effect of cutting them off the internet completely.

Re:Backfire? (5, Insightful)

zarthrag (650912) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816643)

It won't go that far. Google will simply pass it on to UK advertisers. Google marches on - end of story.

Re:Backfire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27817267)

Your sig is broken.

I traded my Wii for a 360 - Why? - Because I want to play more expensive games by myself.
Now it is fixed.

Re:Backfire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27817361)

Wouldn't happen considering they have offices here.
It would take more than that to consider blocking off the UK.

And considering that the UK makes up a massive chunk of their users too, it would hurt them quite badly.
The tax would probably be tiny compared to cutting off all UK traffic.

Note that i do not support this stupid tax, or any form of tax that pays for BBCshit.
They should be made to find their own damn income.
To hell with them.

Tax is possibly more broad (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816427)

After reading the article it sounds like the potential tax might be more broad based. The article mentions taxing broadband connections and that the online advertising tax may hit newspapers and commercial broadcasters who advertise online. The article also mentions that the tax would be used to fund broadband roll out along with public TV.

Re:Tax is possibly more broad (2, Insightful)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816873)

Say NO to Tax.

They'll use this as an excuse to do it the first time and then it'll stay on come hell or high water. The only way to get rid of a tax is through revolution.

Daily Mail crap (1)

patch0 (1339585) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816429)

Typical Daily Mail headline rubbish, brought to you by the same newspaper that considers benefit fraud to be perpetrated solely by immigrants, etc etc.. You can easily confuse Daily Mail readers by telling them that asylum seekers are the natural predators of paedophiles.... I doubt there is any truth in the article. A government dept considering a thing is far from the same thing as doing it.... why should they not consider all options, even the stupid ones like this one?

Re:Daily Mail crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27816501)

Sadly our government is retarded enough to make this quite believable.

Re:Daily Mail crap (1)

andyfrommk (1021405) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817541)

A government dept considering a thing is far from the same thing as doing it....

I think they leaked the proposal to gauge the public's appetite for taxing on-line ads.
They don't have the balls to come out with something just in case they look foolish so they leak, gauge reaction then decide wether to go with it.

why should they not consider all options, even the stupid ones like this one?

I thought my taxes were for the underprivileged and less-well-off, the BBC doesn't strike me as such.

The mind bogles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27816437)

I wouldn't put anything past governments, but how in the world are they going to tax the search engines? I can't imagine the legal nightmare associated with it. Especially the cross boarder aspects; who gets the bill when the viewer is in England, but the product's company is in china and the engine's base in the US? I'm sure there are a lot more legal hoops that could things interesting.

And isn't it a bit stupid to be taxing the encouragement of people to actually buy goods or services which are much easier to tax? Not to mention that it is goods and services that drive the economy of most countries not the advertisements. My advice is start cutting the budget instead of taxing people into oblivion.

I don't know what's worse... (2, Insightful)

BlueKitties (1541613) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816443)

This or doling out huge fines to boost revenue. Maybe every major corporation will pull the plug on their UK operations and let them feel what freemarket can do; I'm normally not the type to get bent out of shape over taxing companies (I even voted for Obama) but the UK is getting on my bad side; especially after the huge funding they've decided to dump into spying on the Internet. If they're really needing more money, they should cut massive spending projects that do nothing but violate privacy.

Re:I don't know what's worse... (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817027)

If they're really needing more money, they should cut massive spending projects that do nothing but violate privacy.

Exactly. It seems that politicians are always under the impression that their citizens have all of this money just laying around and no idea how to use it. Fortunately for us they know exactly how our money would be better spent! Food? Rent? Don't be ridiculous! I'm going to buy you these nifty new CCTV cameras and then build an Internet activity tracking data warehouse. It'll be great! You'll wonder how you could have ever possibly lived without them before. Odd how projects like that march on regardless of economic considerations but schools and health care are always underfunded. (and by "odd" I mean they realize that those are the only two reasons anyone will ever vote for a tax increase so they never fund them.)

Source (5, Insightful)

CodeArtisan (795142) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816521)

The Daily Mail is a right wing (slightly upmarket) tabloid who attack the Labour government on a regular basis. While the idea of such a tax may or may not be true, you can be certain this particular newspaper will try to spin in in a manner that is comensurate with its Conservative politics.

Of course, the current Government has given them plenty of ammunition, so it's quite possible that such an approach being considered. The source, however, can be compared to a news outlet such as Fox News.

Re:Source (1)

ProfYaff (1529295) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816645)

You speak the truth sir. Their politics combined with a general hatred of all things BBC mean this has to be taken with several pinches of salt. I'm also genuinely surprised they didn't manage to work Jonathan Ross or Russell Brand into that article.

Re:Source (2, Funny)

madprof (4723) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816891)

Apparently Jonathan Ross made house prices fall and Russell Brand gave Jade Goody cancer.

Won't the search engines move abroad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27816523)

It's not like they actually need to be hosted in the UK in order to operate. I reckon even a small tax would drive most of the larger ad-funded sites abroad, and drive the smaller ones out of the market. ...Just noticed TFA is from the Daily Mail - not exactly a reliable source!

new government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27816559)

Man this shows how grossly mismanage the government is. They spend and dont make. Governments by design are the serve the peoples interest. Seems like the people need to overthrow there own governments to figure out where the money is going to so they can cut the crap spending.

Now about public tv, they could easily run bbc tv on youtube. i wouldnt mind that or veoh which is abit faster than youtube.

Reality Check (5, Informative)

mpk (10222) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816585)

* This is the Daily Mail - a notoriously unpleasant and right-wing newspaper which leaps at any chance to run "shock horror" stories about things like this even if they aren't actually necessarily 100% true, because it sells newspapers to their target market (right-wing anti-government types).

* The Daily Mail doesn't like the BBC either.

* "Ministers are considering" is generally code for "Someone suggested this in passing". It doesn't mean at all that there's any actual policy there or anything else. Hell, it might just mean someone talked to someone in the pub who suggested it in passing.

In summary, take this story with a pinch of salt. It might become a more concrete proposal at some point in the future, but I think that'd be unlikely.

Re:Reality Check (1)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816693)

It's still worth raising hell over, just in case someone does think it's a good idea. This is Labour we're talking about, a government notoriously fond of the shotgun approach to taxation.

I for one, would rather not rely on the good intentions of politicians.

Re:Reality Check (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27816907)

I'm sure the Labour government lets leaks like this out on purpose to guage the media and public reaction. If it's ferocious enough they'll say "there were never any official plans for this anyway" and blame the newspapers. Otherwise they try and implement their dumb policies (won't even attempt to name them all, but I'm sure you know some of the few hundred I'm talking about).

Re:Reality Check (2)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816981)

Things ministers have "considered" and things the Daily Mail in particular reports they have considered [google.co.uk] . No point here, it's just interesting how often the term is used, especially when it's something controversial. Like science, it's never "John Smith", the newspapers preferring to imply that the entire profession says/thinks so.

Re:Reality Check (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817535)

That's exactly the secret of the Daily Mail hit-pieces, too. "Considering" is such a vague word, as is "ministers." What it could mean is that some little old lady from their constituency wrote a letter to their PM, the PM responded, politely, that they were "considering" their suggestion, and *boom*, the Daily Hate makes it sound like the legislation is on the way.

For those who think this keeps the "gummint" in line: what if we did this to corporations. "Oil industry executives are considering using human remains as a fuel source." "Pharmaceutical industry heads are considering a plan to get doctors to prescribe heroin to kindergarteners."

Re:Reality Check (2)

Cathbard (954906) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817349)

"Humphrey? Couldn't we divert the press's attention by leaking that idiot proposal to tax Google?"

"Yes, Minister"

Prepare your pinch of salt... (4, Informative)

NoNeeeed (157503) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816859)

This is a story from the Daily Mail, a rag that makes Fox news look like quality journalism, a notorious hater of the BBC, and a supporter of the Conservative party (the current opposition).

Also, the story is based almost entirely on quotes from a member of the opposition.

So while I'm no fan of the current government (oh how I wish they would just give up and resign), this is almost certainly not what it appears.

It is pretty common for civil servants to come up with a bunch of ideas, most of which fail the giggle test or a chucked out almost immediately, but are included to that they can say they considered the options thoroughly.

This idea only just passes the giggle test and has probably been discounted, but is being revived by the opposition and the Daily Fail to help stir up their frothy-mouthed readers.

Re:Prepare your pinch of salt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27817109)

It is pretty common for civil servants to come up with a bunch of ideas, most of which fail the giggle test or a chucked out almost immediately, but are included to that they can say they considered the options thoroughly.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the ultimate objective of every politician's endless stream of "new ideas" isn't recognition or even re-election, but simply money. At the top of the power pyramid, as long as money passes through your hands, you win. For a limited time, you own the chance to exploit that revenue for your own gain. It doesn't matter if you "succeed" or "fail" -- what matters is that money passes through your hands.

There's a reason why all governments only get more expensive over time, and it's not because the people in the business of government are primarily concerned with recognition or re-election. Those are only stepping stones to the real goal, which as history shows, is simply money.

Did I just commit the cardinal sin of suggesting that government works in self-interest, just like everybody else? You're damn right I did.

Re:Prepare your pinch of salt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27817235)

Yeah, I'm in agreement - doubt this will ever see the light of day.

But as regards some of the more loony anti tax statements in this thread, people should note that tax from corporations is needed to fund healthcare, education and assistance for those in need.

We don't abandon the poor in this country and that's down to tax. If someone does business here, or profits from being here, they should pay their fair share towards the country. It is a moral obligation and one that only the most selfish and money grabbing of people argue against.

A Conservative proposing new Taxes?! Madness! (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 4 years ago | (#27816925)

What kind of bizzaro-land is this, where the Conservatives are proposing new taxes? I thought that was strictly the realm of the Liberals!

Re:A Conservative proposing new Taxes?! Madness! (3, Funny)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817317)

It's called Europe. Where liberals are conservatives and conservatives are liberals.

Department of culture, media, and sport? (1)

Mister_Stoopid (1222674) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817009)

Is is just me or does the very existence of the department of "culture, media, and sport" indicate a government gone off track?

Only thing left is a tax on taxes.... (1)

nicodoggie (1228876) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817341)

Things going the way it is now, it's just a matter of time until the UK government starts asking people to pay 10% tax every time they pay taxes...

Why Not Just Advertising? (3, Interesting)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817501)

Why specify online advertising? Why not tax advertising in general?

Advertising is hypothetically good because it increases the quality of information available to the consumer to make purchasing decisions. In practice, it typically does the opposite -- creating artificial demand -- particularly in industries like medicine and law where it is more difficult for the customer to be informed. It still serves a purpose, but it does have a negative external cost to society in reducing the quality of purchasing decisions. So, recapture that external cost the same way we recapture the external cost of pollution. A tax is a way to offset the negative externality.

More simple option; just remove advertising from deductible expenses.

See Also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality [wikipedia.org]

Disclaimer: I work in the advertising industry, and a tax on advertising like I propose would actually hurt the company I work for. So, selfishly, I'd rather you ignore the rational basis for this post.

So long, London.. nice knowing you! (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 4 years ago | (#27817519)

Is it just me, or do I get the funny feeling the UK will be nullrouted out of our existence Real Soon Now (tm) ?

It seems like every day, they come up with a new, dumber idea that harkens back to the turn of the century... back when the UK actually mattered in the global political arena. Today they're just a funny little piece of history, stuck in the past and fighting the future.

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