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Japan To Tax Online Sales Of Foreign-Made Content

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the what-will-the-market-bear dept.

Government 59

Qedward writes with this except from CIO. "Japan is planning to tax sales of foreign online content such as e-books, apps and downloaded music by late 2015. Japanese who purchase electronic content from foreign firms like Amazon.com through overseas servers don't have to pay consumption tax, currently at 5% but slated to rise to 8% in April. That has made foreign content cheaper than apps, MP3 downloads, software, and e-books distributed domestically. Physical products purchased from abroad are hit with consumption tax when they clear customs in Japan, but no such levy exists for online goods. The government plans to close the loophole and make foreign vendors selling consumer goods register with tax authorities and pay the tax. Japanese corporations that buy foreign electronic content such as business software, however, will have to pay the tax directly to the Japanese tax authorities, Nikkei Asian Review reported this morning."

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good ruck, chuck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45951499)

i guess the Japanese never use p2p?

Re:good ruck, chuck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45951705)

ONG TAXES EBVIl

Re:good ruck, chuck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45953893)

Umm, what's the logic / justification for their taxation of works produced and distributed outside their country's boundaries? Is it "we want your money" or is there something more valid?

Same argument for taxation of my efforts within the country or indeed any taxation - the harder I work, the more money they want. How the hell does that make sense? Sure, take a nominal fixed amount from me which may be justified as "we provide the economic and physical environment in which you do business and that takes money" but it takes no more involvement from you, Mr and Mrs. Greedy Government Minister if I work 24/7 than if I work one hour per month and sit on my ass for the rest of the time - therefore, how do you justify screwing me?

Not to mention that you tax me when I earn the money, then tax me again when I spend it or give it to my children as inheritance when I die or buy a home or a million other natural daily activities for which you have little involvement.

How is this justified other than "Because it's the law" ?

Re:good ruck, chuck! (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 10 months ago | (#45956041)

the harder I work, the more money they want

No, that's not true. An income tax taxes you based on how much you made; whether you worked hard or not in order to make it isn't a factor. In fact, a lot of jobs at which people work very hard are not paid well at all, and therefore tend to incur lower taxes.

then tax me again when I ... give it to my children as inheritance when I die

Passing down property to heirs can be socially dangerous. It's not such a big deal when you leave some modest bank accounts or some furniture or something, but it's not good to have people inherit vast estates merely due to the accident of their birth.

Besides which, you're missing the main point of progressive taxation, which is that if a certain amount of taxes need to be raised, it's more fair for people to contribute what they can afford such that they feel the same amount of burden, rather than for the burden to be mathematically uniform but to have widely disparate effects in reality.

Re:good ruck, chuck! (1)

CaptQuark (2706165) | about 10 months ago | (#45962605)

Passing down property to heirs can be socially dangerous...

Besides which, you're missing the main point of progressive taxation, which is that if a certain amount of taxes need to be raised, it's more fair for people to contribute what they can afford such that they feel the same amount of burden, rather than for the burden to be mathematically uniform but to have widely disparate effects in reality.

Citation? Or are these just your opinions based on YOUR interpretation of "fairness"?

~~

Re:good ruck, chuck! (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 10 months ago | (#45962889)

No, they're widespread opinions. Laws usually come about because people think they're good ideas; why would legislators work to enact laws that everyone except for me was opposed to?

People who inherit wealth didn't work for it, and didn't earn it. Some heirs might be in a desperate way, and it isn't bad to help them get on their feet. Others might inherit items of significant sentimental value but which aren't fabulously valuable and that's not so bad either.

But there is no gain to society for a select few to become particularly wealthy in an undeserving manner, such as by inheritance. In fact, it's dangerous, because wealth tends to provide power, and now you've got people who have no rightful claim to great wealth also possessing great power and likely using it for ill. Certainly that's the usual way things go, and we should adopt rules for the usual case, and not for rare exceptions.

And it's not odd to see wealthy people perfectly in favor of estate taxes. Here's something from Andrew Carnegie's book:

The growing disposition to tax more and more heavily large estates left at death is a cheering indication of the growth of a salutary change in public opinion. ... Of all forms of taxation this seems the wisest. Men who continue hoarding great sums all their lives, the proper use of which for public ends would work good to the community from which it chiefly came, should be made to feel that the community, in the form of the State, cannot thus be deprived of its proper share. By taxing estates heavily at death the State marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaire's unworthy life.

As for progressive income taxes, ability to pay is the best way to go. It works. People are okay with it.

An absolute flat tax is pointless unless the amount you need to raise is very very low: taxing everyone, say, $100/year will result in some people easily being able to afford it, others barely able to afford it, and quite a few simply unable to afford it. Saying that it's fair that each person should pay the same quantity doesn't help them get it in order to pay it. You will wind up with a lot of people not paying their taxes, requiring either piling unjust punishment on top of their existing poverty, probably at the expense of the state, thus requiring even more taxes to proceed, or a de facto progressive taxation system in which people who are unable to pay are allowed to slide.

A proportional flat tax similarly fails. Below a certain amount of income, people simply cannot afford to pay, even if the tax were merely 1%. Unable to get blood from a stone, you must again either punish poor people for being poor, which is the sort of thing that justifies having your head cut off by an angry mob with a guillotine, or you wind up adopting a progressive taxation scheme and merely being a hypocrite who is saddled with a stupid tax system.

Some flat tax proposals suggest including various measures to avoid this, e.g. only kicking in above a certain level of income. This means that they're not actually flat taxes, they're progressive taxes which have two brackets, and are thus simply poorly designed. An ideal progressive tax, OTOH, would probably just be a mathematical function, with the tax rates varying smoothly as income varied, but for the sake of simplicity, we tend to have a number of brackets.

As a closing word of advice, you may do well to google things quickly on your own, rather than demanding answers to cover for your own ignorance or as a crappy rhetorical device.

Re:good ruck, chuck! (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about 10 months ago | (#45966623)

In fact, a lot of jobs at which people work very hard are not paid well at all, and therefore tend to incur lower taxes

Yeah, but look at one of those jobs, for example. Let's say that person is working 8 hours per day. They pay a certain amount of tax. Now compare that to cases where their hours are cut to 4 hours per day, or expanded to 12 hours per day. Even without progressive tax tables (imagine a flat tax rate), notice how the taxes go up or down. Then imagine the real world, where there are progressive tax rates. Notice how the taxes go up or down even more extremely, as person works harder or less hard.

Hardness is definitely one of the multiplicative factors in the tax. I think you're just pointing out that there are other factors too, such as jobs' pay rates per hour (where I make more sitting on my ass as a desk, than some guy pouring hot asphalt in the summer). Take nearly any job, no matter how hard or easy) and double or half the amount of work, and you'll see a strong correlation with how much tax we take away from that person.

Re:good ruck, chuck! (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 10 months ago | (#45969055)

Hardness is definitely one of the multiplicative factors in the tax.

Not really. If that were the case, then the tax would differ between two jobs of differing hardness but equal pay. But it doesn't. Likewise, if we double or halve the amount of work done at a job, and thus the hardness of the job, but don't change the amount of pay, the taxes remain constant while the hardness varies.

What you're really identifying is that if someone's work hours are doubled or halved, this typically comes hand in hand with a doubling or halving of their pay, which is the actual factor that affects their taxes.

The IRS doesn't care if you pour asphalt or sit at your desk.

Re:good ruck, chuck! (1)

Gogo0 (877020) | about 10 months ago | (#45959983)

"economic stimulus", AKA "they want more of our money". regular sales tax will be raised from 5% to 8% in april too.
vending machine product prices will change, ill be looking for a riot to join.

Why would they need foreign content? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 10 months ago | (#45951507)

I know for a fact there's a Japanese edition of /. [slashdot.jp]

Re:Why would they need foreign content? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#45951537)

I know for a fact there's a Japanese edition of /.

Ummm ... it's right there in the summary:

That has made foreign content cheaper than apps, MP3 downloads, software, and e-books distributed domestically.

Or, are you somehow suggesting "Slashdot should be enough for anybody"?

Re:Why would they need foreign content? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 10 months ago | (#45951621)

I know for a fact there's a Japanese edition of /.

Ummm ... it's right there in the summary:

That has made foreign content cheaper than apps, MP3 downloads, software, and e-books distributed domestically.

Or, are you somehow suggesting "Slashdot should be enough for anybody"?

Bingo. To be more precise, I was hinting that /. is cheap enough for everybody (as in "a great way of killing time and getting nothing in return". You don't believe me? Read this thread again)

I Registered With Your Tax Authority (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45951509)

I'm all registered, but sadly I make no sales in your country Mr. Yellow Man. Have nice day.

momkind grades us on compassion spiritual fitness (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45951533)

infinite patience is not an understatement. free the innocent stem cells....

It will never work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45951547)

How the hell are they going to police that?

Re:It will never work (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#45951589)

How the hell are they going to police that?

Same as most other governments do, make the onus of reporting on you, and failure to report illegal.

Re:It will never work (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45951939)

How the hell are they going to police that?

Same as most other governments do, make the onus of reporting on you, and failure to report illegal.

No, they'll do as Europe does. Foreign websites that sell to European customers digital goods automatically add VAT in what you pay. The end user has no reporting to do. It is all automatic.
Omly the US had a fucked up volontary system for reporting due taxes.

Re:It will never work (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 10 months ago | (#45954497)

"Omly the US had a fucked up volontary system for reporting due taxes."

That "fucked up volontary system" is due to the way our country is structured.

States cannot tax transactions that happen in other States. That's because each State is sovereign. So States impose a "use" tax (which actually is not "voluntary") on the use of the item within the State. Because it is not a tax on the transaction, and only involves inside-State use, it is a legal tax.

The Federal government, likewise, has no authority to tax on behalf of States.

That's the way our country is designed. That's the way it's supposed to be. If you don't like it, go somewhere else... don't try to mess up the government of my states and country by imposing what YOU think is a "fair" tax.

Re:It will never work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45962085)

New to the conversation, and I'm an American.

I think Congress has the power to make changes, and I would propose this.

Require states that have sales tax to create a special sales tax rate. The special rate would be the weighted average sales tax rate given net taxable sales and the various rates. There would be a special code. For businesses which have no nexus in the state, they could opt, if they so choose, to use this rate instead of the individual local taxing districts. The state Dept. of Revenue then would be tasked with dividing up the revenue coming from this special code, into the various taxing locales based on the proportion of net taxable sales they have otherwise.

For example, let's say there's normally 3 taxing locales for sake of argument.
001 charges 10%
002 charges 7%
003 charges 9%
Locale 001 has $10 million in taxable sales.
Locale 002 has $20 million in taxable sales.
Locale 003 has $15 million in taxable sales.
(Dropping the "million" from units.)
001 will have a weight of 100 percent dollars
002 will have a weight of 140 percent dollars
003 will have a weight of 135 percent dollars
(100 + 140 + 135) percent dollars / (10 + 20 + 15) dollars = 8.33%
So, the special rate will be 8.33%, and the tax revenue collected would be distributed amongst the three locales.
Locale 001 will get 10 / (10 + 20 + 15) = 22.22%
Locale 002 will get 20 / (10 + 20 + 15) = 44.44%
Locale 003 will get 15 / (10 + 20 + 15) = 33.33%
If under the special tax rate, $100k in tax revenue (not to be confused with taxable sales) is collected, locale 001 would get $22,222.22, for example.

I also think it would be neat if the feds could create a nationwide sales tax database, but given the whole ACA problems, we probably shouldn't have much faith in that.

Re:It will never work (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 10 months ago | (#45967535)

For example, let's say there's normally 3 taxing locales for sake of argument.

Part of the problem is that there aren't. There are something like 13,000 different taxing districts in the U.S., each with their own tax rate and regulations.

Re:It will never work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45973033)

You missed the point.

Each individual state would do it, and each individual state would create a special tax rate and identifying code number.

For example, perhaps Washington state looks at all the individual tax districts and finds out that averaged weighted rate (see example above) is 8.7%. Then maybe they create a special code so out-of-state retailers remit tax to Washington state. The Washington state DoR would then take this tax revenue and divide it among the hundreds of tax districts like in my example.

My use of "3 taxing locales/districts" was to make the math easier to explain.

Of course, this hinders on Congress making a law requiring that out-of-state businesses collect and remit sales tax to states in which they have no nexus. My idea is to provide relief for said businesses so they don't have to keep track of thousands of taxing locales. Just the states they have a nexus in, and the special rates for the states in which they don't have a nexus in.

As for what is and isn't taxable, that's tricky. It's more likely uniform across the state, but if different tax districts, within the state, have extra things subject to tax where other districts don't, well, how about this? Under that special tax rate for the state, for out-of-state businesses, clearly mark what is and isn't taxable. If there is still any question, tax it. Just tax it. The resident can always contact the DoR and get a refund, I think.

Re: It will never work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45965439)

So you are saying that other nations should not impose taxes on the US corps because the US is a sovereign state? How typically American you are.
Don't you understand the nations in which those US corps are making profit are as sovereign as the US, thus fully entitled to wield their sovereign right?
Oh, and no "they have their HQ in the US" bullshit, please?

Re:It will never work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45961977)

they'll do as Europe does. Foreign websites that sell to European customers digital goods automatically add VAT in what you pay. The end user has no reporting to do. It is all automatic

Wait a minute, let me get this straight. If I, an American, decide to sell a file to a European for 1.0 BTC, they're going to"automatically" convince me to charge 1.05 BTC instead, and then also "automatically" convince me me to send 0.05 BTC of that sale to .. shit, I don't know, I guess these governments will all have public well-known Bitcoin addresses.

Even if their argument is really good, it seems like if anyone else is selling an equivalent-value file for 0.98 BTC, then to remain competitive, I'm going to reduce the amount of voluntary tax I pay to a foreign government, rather than reduce my margin instead. Even really good arguments for taxes are going to be pretty weak whenever we talk about foreign governments and my own livelihood. Don't most people, the world over, tend to have a predictable response to simple us-vs-them decisions?

Everything you said, suggests that the American system is "better" (from the point of view of getting the taxes collected). If they threaten my customer with violence or enormous fines if he's ever caught buying files without paying tax, their threats against their own citizens are a lot more credible than their threats against me (thousands of miles away), aren't they? Sure, there's "deep pockets" vs "shallow pockets," but on the Internet, there's also "near pockets" and "far-away unaccountable pockets."

Re:It will never work (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 10 months ago | (#45951627)

How the hell are they going to police that?

They don't need to perfectly police it. The largest 10% of vendors sell 90% of the goods. As long as you collect from Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay, and so on, you will get all the revenue.

The funny part is that this actually gives a competitive advantage to small stores to little to notice. Until they become big enough to be noticed...

Re:It will never work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45951709)

The easiest solution would be to require the bank (or other card issuer) to add the tax to all payments where the receiver isn't already registered with the tax authorities.

There would be ways to avoid it, but few people are likely to risk prosecution for the sake of 8%.

Re:It will never work (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#45952147)

well.. they make apple and amazon do it for them - or face potential blocking.

paying VAT on such buys is the norm in eu pretty much already.

Re:It will never work (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 10 months ago | (#45952165)

The same way that the police it in Europe. The money is paid using local credit cards, so they can get the money off the bank before it reaches them if needs be.

Good idea ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45951581)

Good to see Japan taking a stand against the flood of "junk culture" coming from the USA.

Re:Good idea ... (1)

Gogo0 (877020) | about 10 months ago | (#45960117)

any culture other than their own is "junk culture" to many. the japanese govt has initiatives to repel things like hanryuu (korean wave) and make people more interested in japanese culture/content and thus creating a demand for more. hard to do when K-Pop groups are releasing albums in japanese (does that make it J-Pop?) and the fact that japanese tv sucks (not all, but most) to the point that no one overseas would want to watch it even if they could understand it. i know more than a few early-20s girls that are watching 'The Walking Dead' and are more interested in reruns of 'Dr House' than the new (second) season of 'Doctor X'

2014 has been tough on Jeff Bezos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45951599)

Kidney stones, Newegg having the balls to beat the patent trolls Amazon caved to, and now this.

Re:2014 has been tough on Jeff Bezos (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 10 months ago | (#45953301)

You do realize there's an amazon.co.jp, right?

Won't work very well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45951649)

"--make foreign vendors selling consumer goods"

you need the cooperation of the foreign vendors for this to work. and alot of them will either say 'nope, can't sell to you in japan, use a proxy'. Or 'Nope, we haven't sold anything to anyone in japan, fuckoff' There is no 'online customs' to enforce this. They are relying on the foreign companys to comply.

You're creating more work for foreign companys... And not giving them anything in return. Or even any incentive to cooperate with your rules.

And anyone who DOES comply will just pass that extra cost onto their japan customers. Who will now have an incentive to use a proxy when dealing with outside sources.

Re:Won't work very well. (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 10 months ago | (#45951795)

Well, Japan *does* still manufacture stuff, unlike the U.S. Maybe forcing people to buy locally isn't an unwanted outcome.

The U.S., to my knowledge, is the only country that kowtows to the corporate to the degree that they don't even try to promote local manufacturing anymore. There is nothing wrong with protecting your country and its livelihood... it's one of the things governments are SUPPOSED to do.

Re:Won't work very well. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#45951877)

What year in the U.S. has the most value of manufactured goods?

Manufacturing jobs have no bearing on amount of manufacturing.

Re:Won't work very well. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 10 months ago | (#45951889)

Well, Japan *does* still manufacture stuff, unlike the U.S. Maybe forcing people to buy locally isn't an unwanted outcome.

Senator Smoot? Representative Hawley? Is that you?

It would be nice if someone learned a lesson from the last time countries started trying to protect local industries from competition, but the evidence is that they haven't....

Re:Won't work very well. (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 10 months ago | (#45954883)

This isn't even closely related. Smoot Hawley was principally about exorbitant tariffs imposed upon imported goods. This is about making provisions for the common sales tax to be imposed upon all sales rather than solely domestic sales.

Re:Won't work very well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45952095)

Protectionism however is actually bad for consumers since it is a legalized monopoly.

Look at the automobile industry, Japanese manufacturers ate Detroit's lunch with more efficient processes and higher quality all while using the same worker pool. If we had been slapping a huge tax on them to protect US companies we would have gotten far worse cars, worse safety features and completely unreliable junk.

Re:Won't work very well. (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 10 months ago | (#45953623)

And at the same time, they're paying good money to their workers in Japan.

Are you sure you want to stick with your hypothesis?

Re:Won't work very well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45953673)

Incorrect. Japanese companies did it by importing vehicles from Japan. The production of vehicles by Japanese companies in the United States started in the 80s, well after they had already cornered the market on more fuel efficient cars, which is the reason they were successful in the United States after initial failure. The first wave of cars where of Yugo quality, but this is often forgotten. The same story with Japanese electronics. The companies re-tuned, came back and won over the American buyers.

Re:Won't work very well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45953917)

all while using the same worker pool.

Except they didn't. There are no Detroit Honda factories. The Japanese automakers built theirs in non-union locations because they didn't need the union scapegoat to cover for their management incompetence.

Re:Won't work very well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45952107)

"--make foreign vendors selling consumer goods"

you need the cooperation of the foreign vendors for this to work. and alot of them will either say 'nope, can't sell to you in japan, use a proxy'. Or 'Nope, we haven't sold anything to anyone in japan, fuckoff' There is no 'online customs' to enforce this. They are relying on the foreign companys to comply.

You're creating more work for foreign companys... And not giving them anything in return. Or even any incentive to cooperate with your rules.

And anyone who DOES comply will just pass that extra cost onto their japan customers. Who will now have an incentive to use a proxy when dealing with outside sources.

No you don't need the cooperation of the foreign vendors. You need the cooperation of the merchants that handle the credit card transactions. Once they have the necessary backend to add local taxes automatically that is it. The vendor has no say about it. And the end user gets to see the price of the item + local tax automatically. If you have a credit card it is normally issued in the country where you are working/living hence the country where you pay taxes. The system controls where the credit card was issued and bingo taxes added. Really it is a simple system. And Europe has been using it since oh 2003. So it is no magic. You just need the political will to do it.

Protectionism at its finest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45951805)

Have you seen the price of a blu-ray in Japan? Or the criminal penalty for pirating one? The Japanese entertainment industry is ruthless.

Re:Protectionism at its finest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45960403)

agreed, theyre serious about this shit.
there is a giant billboard (20 sq ft) inside my home train station about Copyrights and how they "create innovation".
of course, when youre charging the equivalent of $90 for a new popular video game and $30-60 for a bluray movie (depending on popularity), the desire in consumers to obtain content more cheaply is going to be much stronger.

And how will they impose this tax? (4, Informative)

SailorSpork (1080153) | about 10 months ago | (#45951873)

The reason consumers are buying digital merch from other countries is because it is cheaper. Entertainment moguls have an even tighter stranglehold on Japan's entertainment business and pricing than even the RIAA in the US and prices for music, movies, games, etc are all much higher, on the order of 50-100% higher. If you try buying a song in the Japan iTunes store for instance, a song that is 99 cents or $1.29 in the US app store is ~$2 in Japan.

So I'm sure what the Japanese people are doing, as an example, is switching their iTunes "home" location to another country and buying iTunes cards from those countries, saving costs and getting equivalent merchandise.

This scheme does not make for easy tracking and taxation on the Japanese side...

Re:And how will they impose this tax? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45952579)

They could add a levy to other services (such as your internet provider), sort of like the Private Copying Levy we have here in Canada that adds a tax on all blank media (whether you are going to use it to pirate media or not)

It really would be impossible to charge individual transactions but slapping a tax on the pipe? I could see them doing that.

Re:And how will they impose this tax? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 10 months ago | (#45953341)

Or the Japanese government could just stop spending like a drunken sailor on shore leave with terminal cancer.

Re:And how will they impose this tax? (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about 10 months ago | (#45952757)

So I'm sure what the Japanese people are doing, as an example, is switching their iTunes "home" location to another country and buying iTunes cards from those countries, saving costs and getting equivalent merchandise.

That's exactly what they're doing, or they're having their friends in the US and Canada send the stuff to them. I regularly send movies, cards, and games to my gaming buddies in Japan, because I can get it much cheaper...and surprise I have no qualms about it, neither do they. They're getting raked over the coals, but it has all to do with amount or lack of taxation they're able to raise because the average worker age is now 41(unlike the late 20's to early 30's in the Americas). Then again, I would have moved there years ago and taken up a job in the law field if they didn't have a stick up their ass over foreigners, even those of us who are first generation kids.

It's not a pretty picture on what's going to happen there in the next 20 years unless they dig their heads out of their ass.

Re:And how will they impose this tax? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 10 months ago | (#45955083)

Sales and use tax is like trying to capture a quantity of dye after it has been poured into the river. It is stupidly inefficient and increasingly ineffectual. Even worse it disproportionately impacts people with a lower income. Gather the dye before it has been poured out with an income tax and be done with it.

Re:And how will they impose this tax? (2)

olau (314197) | about 10 months ago | (#45956525)

The way it works in Denmark, and I imagine other EU countries, is that companies with a revenue from Danish customers above a certain threshold (250,000 EUR/year I think) must register with the Danish tax authorities and collect the 25% VAT from Danish consumers in the same way as Danish companies do (the VAT threshold for Danish companies is about 6700 EUR/year). So it's the responsibility of the company to do the tracking and taxation.

If you fail to do that as a company, I'm not sure exactly what happens, but I guess you will get a taste of the rough end of the Danish legal stick. I think it's unlikely a company the size of Apple could get away with not collecting the VAT, although I'm sure some of the small fish get through.

Bitcoin could be a problem here (3, Interesting)

beltsbear (2489652) | about 10 months ago | (#45952123)

What if a seller (legal in it's own country) sells mp3's/videos through a website that allows worldwide customers and takes Bitcoin for it. The seller never registers with the government of Japan. The buyer avoids the tax, the seller saves credit card fees and chargebacks. Only the government of Japan looses.

Re:Bitcoin could be a problem here (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#45952749)

well, if amazon starts taking bitcoin, it will take the vat off from that transaction.

i guess the thing in your comment is "the seller never registers with the government of japan".

but the transaction to buy the bitcoins on your japanese credit card would still point to something.. making you to pay tax on the bitcoins the very least.

Re:Bitcoin could be a problem here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45956703)

If it's anything like the USA, they don't need to pay taxes on bitcoins when buying. Only when "realizing" the asset by buying something (dollars, widgets) with the coins.

We should (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 10 months ago | (#45953991)

We should tax all foreigners not living in our country.

How do you define a foreign made digital good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45955985)

So it was designed in the US, coded in India using art/sound/assets from China, and served from a computer in Taiwan only to be bought by a person in Japan. Don't even get me started on where these electrons are from!

Ouch (1)

Windwraith (932426) | about 10 months ago | (#45956669)

I know enough Japanese people to know that a lot of western media is very difficult to come by in Japan via conventional mediums. You'd be surprised at the number of videogames, movies and the likes that are commonplace in the US, Europe, etc, but not in Japan.

Companies like Capcom and Square Enix actually localize some western games in there, with usually tacky, poorly translated scripts, bottom-of-the-barrel voice acting (if any) and overly inflated prices. Most videogame players that like western-style stuff such as FPSs and the likes, usually have to deal with importing. I bet this situation sounds familiar to any fans of Japanese gaming.

Knowing this little, apparently obscure fact, also shows a lot about the gaming tastes in Japan. A lot of them are only exposed to the big stuff like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, that get a lot of publicity, while other classic titles that shaped our gaming culture are practically unheard of except by the most hardcore gamers.

And now they will be punished for liking those already obscure, hard-to-obtain and overpriced games and movies. It sucks to be into anything lately. I am pretty sure someone I know will hate this with a passion, and it might get in the way of our mailing each other "common-here-but-rare-there" stuff.

This seems to exist in Spain already, though. Receiving mail from the US/Japan with multimedia stuff on it (in my case it was multiple separated copies of a regular $25 DVD of a popular show and random stuff without special value or hazard, and one game from also a popular franchise, was a budget edition so it wasn't worth that much) has a mysterious unnamed customs tax of 60â to be paid or your mail was to be "disposed of". I was told by the all the six mailmen that came after this mysterious, unheard of tax appeared, and all said the same thing: It was a thing to discourage importing. However I haven't seen anyone else mention it, although I don't read many forums in Spanish and none of my local acquaintances is into importing, so I can't confirm this is an actual thing. The mailmen seemed annoyed by the extra steps so I don't think they were making it up, though. (and I was of course screaming for paying more in taxes than in the actual content of the mail..., but there isn't really nowhere I found to go complain to, so...I guess I gotta suck it and pay ransom anytime I want to get something unobtainable here. As usual, legit customers suffer more than pirates)

Re:Ouch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45960687)

its strange that you can go to Book-Off/Tsutaya/GEO/etc and they have large areas dedicated to foreign movies, tv, and music, but if you go to their video game area, there is no foreign stuff. I tried to sell a mint condition GBA SP to Book-Off last week and they said they cant buy foreign game stuff even if its region-compatible, though theyre happy to buy CDs.

Re:Ouch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45962023)

It seems like the people of "East" and "West" need to start doing a better job of talking and working together. One thing I've noticed as I try to diversify my Usenet servers, is that they're really not very jurisdictionally spread out. It's pretty much just USA and Netherlands. I would fucking love to find a Japanese or Korean or even Indian NNTP server. (Or Chinese, holy crap!) You make it sound like the people living in those places, might be just as happy to subscribe to US and Netherlands servers. Then everyone's downloads would have fewer missing blocks, needing fewer par2 repairs.

Anyone in Asia wanna trade some account subscriptions? I can't find jack shit about Japanese providers.

Re:Ouch (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 10 months ago | (#45962971)

Well, from a fellow Iberia hermano, there are several ways to avoid the stupidity of the custom tax. Either you buy it online and download it, or a friend in the US buys it and forwards it as a gift. Some chinese stores also bend rules and send it for you with a receipt of a much lower cost to rid you of taxes, already happened to someone I used to know. Normally here if you have just a DVD or a book, it also goes bellow radar, or used to be that way. When you start buying more than 3 or 4 in one go, they inspect it. Another alternative is buying from amazon uk, or bookpool for books, which are inside the EU and dont pay taxes.

so download for free! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45961221)

8% of 0 yen is 0 yen.

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