×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Senator Warns of Email Tax This Fall

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the maybe-this-time-for-real dept.

The Almighty Buck 552

cnet-declan writes "State and local governments in Washington this week began an all-out lobbying push for the power to tax the Internet, according to our article at News.com. A new Senate bill would usher in Internet sales taxes, and the Federation of Tax Administrators (representing state tax collectors) advised senators at a hearing on Wednesday not to renew a temporary moratorium limiting broadband taxes that expires in November. One irked Republican senator warned that unless the moratorium is renewed, we could start seeing email taxes by the end of the year. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey blames it on the Democrats taking over, as do Yahoo and eBay lobbyists. Is this a non-hoax version of bill 602P?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

552 comments

Fine: Define email (4, Interesting)

panxerox (575545) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254511)

They still don't get it, the Internet is not this easily defined thing that you can wrap thier minds around, its not about formats or drm or even email its about information. Anything thats describable as 1's and 0's can be transmitted over the internet, its like saying everytime you call a cab over a landline phone you have to pay a tax, uh no. How many ways can you now transmit info over the net now (?) its nearly infinite.

Re:Fine: Define email (2, Insightful)

sneezinglion (771733) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254549)

I thought you DID pay a tax when you used a land line phone? For each and every call you make a small portion goes to state and federal tax coffers.

Re:Fine: Define email (3, Informative)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254665)

I thought you DID pay a tax when you used a land line phone? For each and every call you make a small portion goes to state and federal tax coffers.

In the US -- and the article is about US taxes -- most landlines are billed a flat monthly fee for local service. Taxes are charged on this service, but in proportion to the total bill, not the number or duration of local calls made. Taxes on your local service would be the same if you made 0 or several thousand minutes of local calls. If you called a cab long distance, you would pay per minute for the call and be taxed on its cost, but that's not likely.

Re:Fine: Define email (3, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254581)

Fine: Define email

They don't have to. TFAs are actually about taxing sales made over the internet, plus possible taxes on internet connections themselves. The whole email thing appears to be either a submitter or an editor invention.

Re:Fine: Define email (-1, Flamebait)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254617)

actually it was invented by a republican senator bashing the idea

a republican lying, that's a new one.

Re:Fine: Define email (3, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254769)

I stand corrected. Still, a single throwaway line about email taxes doesn't seem like it should be eclipsing the real taxation issues. Those issues are the possibly taxation of goods sold across state lines as well as the taxation of internet connections themselves. Internet access is expensive enough already without the government trying to skim off the top, and shipping fees already wipe out any savings realized by a lack of taxes and "brick & mortar" overhead on goods.

I can't see how allowing internet taxes would do any good other than to have states fight over who should collect the taxes on an item shipped over state lines.

Re:Fine: Define email (5, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254949)

From a bricks and mortar perspective, *stopping* the shipment of goods shipped over state lines would be a good thing. I can see many states setting up tax systems that are so complicated and expensive it effectively shuts down direct marketers. (internet and catalog)

The thing is, the constitution is clear on this. The states don't have a right to charge taxes on stuff shipped across state lines. Why are we even having this discussion?

Re:Fine: Define email (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255027)

The thing is, the constitution is clear on this. The states don't have a right to charge taxes on stuff shipped across state lines. Why are we even having this discussion?

Because Congress (both state and federal) likes to keep the Supreme Court on its toes? It certainly seems like it sometimes. :-/

Re:Fine: Define email (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255241)

I don't know if it is still the case, but in some states that do tax out-of-state orders, they have to tax you if you order by phone or snail-mail, but not if you use the internet. I think it these states that see the internet as a "loop hole" they want to close. Personally, I would not order from a state that charged me out-of-state sales' taxes.

Re:Fine: Define email (3, Informative)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254803)

Exactly, he is just trying to create FUD, and people all over slashdot are spreading the message "the government/Democrats want to tax my email" when it is nothing of the sort.

Re:Fine: Define email (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19255203)

a republican lying, that's a new one.

You don't think democrats lie too? You're cute. How old are you, 14?

Re:Fine: Define email (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19254631)

From TFA:

"One senator is even predicting taxes on e-mail."

Thank you for reading...

Re:Fine: Define email (1)

hpavc (129350) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255075)

Agreed the subby messed up, we need a independent investigation of such misrepresentation.

Re:Fine: Define email (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19254645)

The non-technical faction who is only interested in generating revenue will charge ahead on whatever "Pointy Haired" course of action they see fit. They will ignore information from the industry, and deride is as biased.

These guys say things like "Check our our home page at senator@government.org" and no one laughs them off the stage. Recently in a hearing, 3 different members of a panel had "sites" established for the public, all with similar information and contradictory views, 2 additionally had email boxes setup.

These people can't work together to do anything with the technology and they think they can tax it?

At some point the open source world of unregulated Internet traffic will find another transport protocol to carry the same information over the same wires, and away from whatever inane monitoring measures the IRS has the NSA put in place to figure all this out.

There are a lot of smart people in Washington, someone has to keep the Internet going to the politicians.

Re:Fine: Define email (1)

jkauzlar (596349) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254885)

I didn't rtfa, but if things ever come to the point where they're taxing email, you can be sure people are going to re-invent email using http or some "non-email" protocol, and probably solving the spam problem, among other problems, at the same time. I know a lot of people have been thinking about new email protocols for a long time, and this could have an incentive for people to upgrade...

...if you want to look on the bright side of bad policy :)

Re:Fine: Define email (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255009)

its like saying everytime you call a cab over a landline phone you have to pay a tax, uh no

I don't follow your logic. Everytime you call a cab over a landline phone you have to pay a tax. Uh, yes! Telephone service is taxed. Doesn't matter you're calling a cab.

I think a better analogy is to say, everytime you make a purchase over the phone you owe the same taxes as if you has made that purchase in person (plus whatever phone taxes). (If the seller is in a different state, perhaps they aren't automatically collecting state sales tax the way it is done for in-person sales, but you still owe those taxes.) (Yes, even if the buyer and seller are in different states.)

What they're trying to do is make sure any taxes that would have been collected as part of an in-person transaction are also collected for the same transaction done via internet.

Any talk of an "email tax" (at least for now) is FUD.

Re:Fine: Define email (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255179)

I don't follow your logic. Everytime you call a cab over a landline phone you have to pay a tax. Uh, yes! Telephone service is taxed. Doesn't matter you're calling a cab.

I think the logic and comparison he was trying to make was that specifying something like calling a cab over a phone is roughly equivalent to specifying sending e-mail over the internet. The actual connection may be taxed, but the content is to diverse to accurately asses a tax for. On a related note, various people have mentioned that the e-mail tax portion is supposed to be in reference to previous debates, and that the bills being considered now would be taxes on the connections rather than on specific content.

Wait... (2, Interesting)

dreddnott (555950) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254535)

So they plan on taxing things that don't make anybody any money? Or are they only taxing commercial e-mail?

Tax the spammers (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254641)

I'm all for it if they want to only tax spam.

Re:Tax the spammers (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254775)

I'm all for it if they want to only tax spam.

      I can't wait for you to find out that your computer is infected with a bot, when you get a $450,000 tax bill...

Re:Tax the spammers (1)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255233)

I can't wait for you to find out that your computer is infected with a bot, when you get a $450,000 tax bill...

Why do you think a bot would mean you've got a tax bill?

What it means is that the company who profited by your computer's infection is committing tax fraud/evasion. The IRS will then mercilessly hunt down the company who infected your PC, and the company paying for the "advertising service," and instead of getting a slap on the wrist, involved parties get a nice cell in a Federal prison.

Preferably the one in Cuba.

But in all seriousness, historically, one of the most effective ways of bringing something that is "out of control" -- like spam is now, into balance is to tax and regulate it. It's not an ideal solution, but it has been effective in the past.

Re:Wait... (1)

NeoTerra (986979) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254781)

Since SMS *could* be considered a form of email from a government standpoint, would they charge tax on that, too?

Well then... (4, Funny)

Organic Brain Damage (863655) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254553)

we'll just tax the 1's and leave the 0's free?

If it's an out-bound tax, could it be used to make SPAM economically unrewarding?

Re:Well then... (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254799)

If it's an out-bound tax, could it be used to make SPAM economically unrewarding?

Well, they could conceivably not pay the tax. Of course then they stand to get the Al Capone treatment from the Treasury Department and the IRS for tax evasion. I'll admit, it's the only real upside I could find to this idea.

Well, why not just (4, Funny)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254555)

put a toll meter on one of the Tubes. Voila!

Re:Well, why not just (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254597)

"I will use my EZ Pass so I don't have to stop when driving through the internets. Nurrr."

Re:Well, why not just (3, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255105)

I will use my EZ Pass so I don't have to stop when driving through the internets

SLOW DOWN AHEAD! 35Kbps through the toll!

DAMNIT! (4, Funny)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254561)

If they start taxing Email I will just start using Gmail!

Now take that you bastards!

Re:DAMNIT! (4, Funny)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254699)

If they start taxing Email I will just start using Gmail!

One step at a time, dude. First switch to Fmail, then Gmail.

Sorry... (5, Funny)

dreddnott (555950) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254805)

That would only be one step at a time if you were starting with Ebmail or switching to F#mail, then G#mail.

At least G#mail is pretty upscale compared to Email.

Re:Sorry... (2)

TriezGamer (861238) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254915)

I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. As a music major, if I had mod points, I'd take you right up to +5 Funny

Democrats, right, of course (5, Insightful)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254593)

That makes sense because Mr. Enzi, the bill's sponser, who is listed at the very top of the bill as its sponser, is a Republican.

Yes. That's right. Republicans want big government in your computer and want big government's hand in your wallet.

Re:Democrats, right, of course (5, Insightful)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254669)

Unfortunately, this is turning out to be more and more true as time goes on. The Republican party is really losing touch with traditional conservatism: Small government, low taxes, state rights. That's why I'm leaning more towards the (weirdo-filled but well meaning) Libertarian party these days.

Re:Democrats, right, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19254789)

Really losing?!? They lost it with Reagan...

Oh wait, make that Nixon...

Oh wait, make that somtime in the early 20th century... perhaps the last sane republican being Roosevelt?!?

Re:Democrats, right, of course (1)

KiltedKnight (171132) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254927)

But President Theodore Roosevelt was one of those whose administrations saw one of the largest expansions of the federal government's power.

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • John F. Kennedy/Lyndon B. Johnson

Those four are the earlier culprits. Of course, we can now add George W. Bush to that list. But it seems to be running reasonably close with regards to Republican vs Democrat.

Re:Democrats, right, of course (1)

griffjon (14945) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255263)

is really losing touch with traditional conservatism

s/is really losing/has lost/g

Re:Democrats, right, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19254675)

Are you saying Republicans like taxes more than Democrats? What is the weather like in your part of Timbuktu this part of the year?

Re:Democrats, right, of course (1)

jkauzlar (596349) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255071)

No. Democrats know how to work a budget and see the necessity of taxes, but they're not afraid of taxing large campaign contributors. Republicans know that a good deal of their constituents, (and the Republican representatives themselves) can barely fathom the idea of 'internet'. Democrats are much hipper to the technology of the past 30 years. Case in point, the overwhelming liberal bias on Slashdot.

Re:Democrats, right, of course (3, Insightful)

DefenderThree (920248) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254711)

Yes. That's right. Republicans want big government in your computer and want big government's hand in your wallet.
Yes, but it seems a Republican brought our attention to this bill and the former Republican Majority Leader is complaining about it. Clearly a bolded generalization is in order here!

In general, yes (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254745)

Although this particular bills sponsor is Republican, if you follow the other story links the general thinking is that by one means or another a house and congress with a larger democratic population is more likley to rescind the tax break.

Yes there are also Republicans that support this, but in aggregate in previous years the Republican members have been more inclined to keep the tax break. We'll know if the speculation about the Democrats wanting to break it actually is true or not if it survives another year...

"The Internet" is not a tangible thing (4, Insightful)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254605)

nor is it a set group of people, places, etc.

Just how do they expect to enforce their levy of taxes?

Trying to tax the internet is somewhat like trying to tax other forms of communication. The best they'll be able to do is tax the businesses that provide a service to connect to the internet (telcos and ISPs).

That reminds me of something... wasn't the Stamp Act one of those "taxation without representation" things that pissed off the revolutionaries in the 13 colonies? Hmmm...

Re:"The Internet" is not a tangible thing (1)

SpiritGod21 (884402) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254785)

You are only not represented if you did not vote. If you did not vote, you have no right to complain.

If the person you voted for is doing things you don't want them to, do something about it.

Re:"The Internet" is not a tangible thing (1)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254905)

1. Why do you assume I'm from the US? (I am in the US, but that's a coincidence...lots of other people aren't)
2. I was thinking of all the millions of people on the internet who *aren't* citizens of the US... even though they aren't taxed directly, this would effectively be a burden on their communication with people in the US.

Re:"The Internet" is not a tangible thing (1)

TriezGamer (861238) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254999)

What if the person I voted for did not win the election?

Re:"The Internet" is not a tangible thing (2, Insightful)

SpiritGod21 (884402) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255053)

Write letters, join or form activist groups, make your voice heard, and if all else fails, run for office.

I refuse to accept that all is hopeless just because the person I vote for loses. Not saying you're advocating that stance, but a lot of people do.

And if you're not from the US and this would cause a burden for you, then write to either your ambassador(s) or your own government so they can lobby the US and point out how this will hurt international business. If you think other countries don't lobby the American congress any less than American corporations, you are incorrect.

Re:"The Internet" is not a tangible thing (1)

lisaparratt (752068) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255101)

Why does voting give you the right to complain?

You chose which flavour lube - don't start complaining when you get fucked.

Re:"The Internet" is not a tangible thing (1)

SpiritGod21 (884402) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255183)

If I vote for someone based on their position and they do not abide by that position (because they lied or got bribed or whatever the case may be), I feel that I have the right to hold them accountable to that.

If I vote for someone other than the person who wins, I still retain my right to voice my opinion and speak out against their policies.

Re:"The Internet" is not a tangible thing (1)

MollyB (162595) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254929)

[...]Just how do they expect to enforce their levy of taxes?

Trying to tax the internet is somewhat like trying to tax other forms of communication. The best they'll be able to do is tax the businesses that provide a service to connect to the internet (telcos and ISPs).[...]
I would suppose they'll strong-arm those US telcos they can reach by leaning on the states in which they are based by withholding highway funds (a time-tested form of federal coercion). I don't see how they'd deal with non-US providers.

In a perfect world, I'd be happy to pay a cent or two for sending email if it meant the death of spam, UCE, or chain-letters!

Re:"The Internet" is not a tangible thing (1)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255073)

In a perfect world, I'd be happy to pay a cent or two for sending email if it meant the death of spam, UCE, or chain-letters!

Unfortunately, it won't. Postage doesn't keep credit card companies, sweepstakes, and other junk mailers from sending you stuff. In fact, the USPS makes it easier/cheaper for them with the bulk mail rate. If the govt tries to enact a digital stamp, you can be sure there'll be a big discount for corporate e-mailers.

Well... (2, Informative)

boilerbrown (1006617) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254609)

maybe this would be an opportunity to take out some spammers a la Al Capone. Hit em with some tax fraud for all the wonderful pharmaceutical, mortgage, personal advices, etc. that everyone seems to need so desperately.

The problem... (4, Insightful)

RealBothersome (838593) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254619)

Is the people need to stop electing idiots.

Re:The problem... (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254717)

Is the people need to stop electing idiots.

      No, the problem is only idiots run for election.

Re:The problem... (2, Interesting)

allscan (1030606) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255099)

You're both wrong. The problem is the majority of Americans just don't give a damn anymore. Look at the percentage of citizens in Iraq that went to vote and then the percentage of Americans that vote. Remember the Iraqis were threatened with death if they showed at polling locations.

I saw/read something where a commentator mentioned that Americans have 24 hour amnesia, meaning they wake up in the morning and remember jack about the last day. Learn some of America's history and for God's sake vote (or don't bitch as was mentioned in a previous reply).

Problem? What problem? (1)

dreddnott (555950) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254873)

It looks to me more like the plan that these guys [governmentwedeserve.org] are carrying out is working like a charm!

It almost makes me ashamed that I didn't vote for any of those clownboats.

Politicians are not the problem (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255131)

The problem... Is the people need to stop electing idiots.

Are you sure politicians are idiots? They do exactly what they were elected to do. People vote for whomever will favor their special intrest group with power or money taken from others.

If you expect Politicians to have integrity and to do-the-right-thing, then voters would have to value those ideals and vote accordingly. So if anyone is an idiot, it's your fellow voters.

New protocol could kill spam (4, Interesting)

Lt.Hawkins (17467) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254629)

If one protocol is taxed, we can push another protocol to take over. Imagine, if email is taxed, having the entire industry shift to a better system that is not regulated, and having the opportunity to design much-needed controls and authentication in to eliminate spam.

Re:New protocol could kill spam (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254755)

To really have a tax kill email so we could switch to something better would require a world-wide tax from all governments. Not gonna happen.

Simple, a sales tax (1)

simong (32944) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254637)

Here in Europe we pay VAT on our ISP charges, but I'm sure our forthcoming Great Leader will have his glass eye on trying to find another way to extract coins from the tubes.

When a spammer spoofs my e-mail address (3, Insightful)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254639)

Do I get hit with a $70,000 tax bill?

What happens when I'm in a coffee shop using an anonymous mailer?

Do I have to attach my credit card number to each e-mail and, as a corrallary, can I not send e-mail 10 days later when all credit cards are canceled until further notice?

Pass new laws that fuck over honest people (3, Insightful)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254647)

Spammers won't give a shit or report their activities. So, they won't be the ones paying the tax - even though they do the majority of emailing.

However, legitimite businesses and users would be more likely to attempt to pay this tax - which would mean keeping track of outgoing emails.. to how many people.. resends.. attachments.. sizes?

Come on Congress! Get a fucking grasp of the ideas you're trying to make into law before you even talk about acting on them. Congress seems to be full of a bunch of morons making snap decisions based on ideas they cannot begin to comprehend.

The only thing Congress should even talk about taxing is Internet-based sales.. Taxing data that essentially costs ZERO should be taxed at a flat rate, to be fair, which would mean ZERO tax income. They could even set the rate at 500% for all I care.

Re:Pass new laws that fuck over honest people (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254841)

"Congress" isn't considering taxing e-mail that we've ever heard. One Republican is getting all hyperbolic and trying to grab headlines (quite successfully) by exaggerating the issue the way politicians are prone to doing.

Of course, this immediately prompts a swarm of "lying Republicans" posts...but hey, this is the internet. All Republicans lie here. Apparently Democrats don't.

Me, I prefer to rant about lying politicians :)

Re:Pass new laws that fuck over honest people (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254889)

You must be new to the U.S.

I'm all for outrage, but what have you done to be sure your Federal/State/Local representatives are representing honest people?

One doesnt justify the other (2, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254671)

The republicans are throwing up smoke. Right now ALL retailers and people are required to pay sales tax on out of state items (depending on your state), most do not though because of varying loopholes and other features which benefit the businesses but lower sales tax revenue. What seems to be going through is a streamlining of the tax laws to take out all of those loopholes that businesses where using.

There is no mention or even hint that this is going to be used on email. The republicans are only saying that because it DOES effect their big backers, big business, with a vested interest in making money. This is going to effect a number of people like Amazon, but for others like Apple, who already DO charge and pay state sales tax, this is going to mean nothing.

Re:One doesnt justify the other (4, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255001)

"Right now ALL retailers and people are required to pay sales tax on out of state items (depending on your state)"
Ummm... Huh?

States are forbidden from taxing interstate commerce. In some states if you buy something from out of state you the customer are supposed to pay the tax.

How can ALL the Retailers be required to pays sales tax on out of state items (depending on your state)?
1. I don't think you know what the world ALL means.
2. It isn't true. You must pay sales tax if you have a presence in that state. If you have a store, sales rep, office, or warehouse.

Obligatory... (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255163)

"You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Sorry, I just couldn't resist. :)

data is data (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254679)

if you tax email, folks will IM.
if you tax IM, folks will do something else.

Are you going to tax each sentence I type into an online game?
Each thing I type in an online meeting?

You could tax on total bytes transmitted but to try to tax based on the type of transmission is just asking for trouble and probably impossible given how malleable data is.

I do pay for email.... (1)

methodic (253493) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254683)

It's called my DSL bill, which also includes all the incurred taxes, so please leave me alone with this. kthx.

Re:I do pay for email.... (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255255)

In my state at least (Texas), there is no charge on internet service. There is tax on my phone bill, yes, due to the other components, but the internet service portion is not taxed.

Now, Texas does have a tax on internet gaming, passed before the tax moratorium. Thus I am charged tax on my World of Warcraft and (before that) EverQuest accounts set up with a credit card while I lived in Texas. Our first EQ account, set up while we still lived in Tennessee, never was charged the tax.

Email via IM (1)

tb()ne (625102) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254701)

It would be interesting to see the ways that people would circumvent an email tax. I can see email riding over IM connections with the localhost email client using the IM client as a mail server on P2P email system. Worst case would be a per-byte tax on internet connections. That one would be hard to beat.

Data compression (1)

ohearn (969704) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254863)

Thats ok if they start taxing the internet based on bytes sent (or even packets sent) it will just push people to use more data compression more and free up some bandwidth.

Wow... that's cheap tax (1)

trogdor8667 (817114) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254735)

If most people only have 20% in landline tax, I'm getting screwed somewhere. My service is $12 a month, and I pay $10 a month in taxes, which means I'm paying about 80% in tax rates. I can't imagine my Comcast bill going up to have even 20% of taxes too... I wouldn't be able to afford it for sure. It would take us from $42.95 a month to $52 a month...

Re:Wow... that's cheap tax (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255147)

That's because of your $10 in "taxes", only a couple bucks are actually tax. The others are fees imposed by your carrier to cover their costs of complying with various regulations. Like the "number switching fee" charged by cellphone carriers, it's not actually a tax, it's an arbitrary charge by your carrier to cover the cost of something they have to provide, while avoiding raising your base service charge.

Interested way to remain in power (1)

mulhollandj (807571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254741)

Look at campaigns like Ron Paul which are seriously questioning those in power. These efforts are growing rather quickly. The Internet allows a much cheaper platform for these people to compete. Is this an effort to keep certain types of people in power?

Stupid Democrats (-1, Troll)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254749)

With democrats like these, who needs republicans? Spineless SOBs Backed down on Iraq, Giving big concessions to the airlines and the chemical companies over pensions and safety. Has anybody learned the lesson??? Hell no! Good show gang.

Welcome to Carl's Jr. Would you like to try our EXTRA BIG ASS TACO? Now with more MOLECULES!

Re:Stupid Democrats (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254855)

yet you keep voting for them... WHEN will America realize that you should start taking a long hard look at some of your OTHER parties and independents?

Re:Stupid Democrats (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255109)

yet you keep voting for them...

Not me! I quit when I realized I'm talking to the hand. Just like now with the stupid moderators. To any of you looking for conspiracies, you only have to go next door to find the conspirators that are taking away your freedom and destroying the country. Enjoy the taco.*

*not you personally. Don't know if you're in the states. If you are, then with the corrupt Americans voting for corrupt politicians, you should save yourself, get out now before your IQ adopts an inverse relationship to the rising global temperatures.

Re:Stupid Democrats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19255247)

yet you keep voting for them... WHEN will America realize that you should start taking a long hard look at some of your OTHER parties and independents?

I am looking. I like what I hear from Ron Paul, who is running as a Republican, but is very much a Libertarian. I am looking at the Libertarian party. I am waiting for the Pirate Party to get itself organized. I am looking at others.

How about this. Why don't WE run for office? Why is there not someone from the tech industry running for office? Surely there are those of us that do not fit the stereotype of dwelling in our mother's basements, although it is fun to joke about that.

I am looking at running for office. Would I win, barring something absurd, no. Could I educate some people along the way, yes. That is what is needed. More of US should be running for office. If enough of us get some sort of word out then maybe we could bring things back a few steps.

For the record, I have never voted down party lines. I have always voted for someone I agreed with or I voted present by signing my ballot and not voting for races in which I did not agree with any candidate.

-Zon

Dump Trucks (2, Funny)

Octopus (19153) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254761)

If Al Gore had invented the Internets as a bunch of dump trucks, it would be much easier to implement a tollbooth system. With all the maintenance it takes to clear up the tube system, it makes the true cost more abstract and difficult to quantify.

However, look at it this way - it will help create more government Internets jobs. Emails have to be cleaned because video packets leave color smudges on the envelopes; so many germs are passed on online money transactions and those UV cleaners have to be maintained; phishing sites are constantly scanned by Fish and Wildlife; and pr0n doesn't create itself.

This could be a good thing in the long run.

Looks like standard political plays (2, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254767)

All the articles state is that it's more likely to happen that the tax moratorium may end under the Democratic controlled house and senate, than if the government was composed of more Republican members.

Looks like it's just a cheap call to try to get some votes and cheap political points in. After all, the next round of elections will probably be heavily Internet based, and they're only a year away. What better way to rally people who haven't decided yet by saying their precious Internet is not going to be the tax-free haven it once was? (Especially given how the current Republican in power is potentially making life difficult for Republicans in swing states. Might as well try to score some cheap political points amongst bloggers and stuff when they post "OH NOES, INTERNET TAXES!!!!" when it's just a bill being discussed, and chances are better that the moratorium may end under a Democrat-controlled senate. They never actually said what chances are, after all. If it was likely to end with a 1% chance under Republicans and 1.5% under Democrats, well, chances are better (but no way it'll pass)...

You may now resume your "OH NOES, INTERNET TAXES ARE HERE!!!!" posts. ;-)

Anybody else want this to pass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19254795)

So the United States is stuck in it's own little system while the rest of the world passes it by. I forsee a day when it will be a better choice economically for a country to just ignore the US than bow to it's petty demands. It's almost as if the politicians know we are fucked and are in some desperate cash grab before they burn this country to its core.

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19254847)

Could someone please explain to me, what is there to tax on the Internet, that's so special? I am not from the U.S., but I guess it's similar there. When I buy a connection to the internet - a service - I pay VAT. When I buy something from an e-shop online, I pay the price including VAT. And when I buy/sell something from/to someone whom I've found online, I don't pay any additional tax, but this is the same as if I would buy/sell something from/to someone whom I met at a party (for example). So what's there so different that an additional tax should be created?

Spam bots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19254891)

Well one good thing will be that the real owners of Spam Bots will find out that they have been 0wned ... when they get the invoice for all the spam they unknowingly sent.

RTFA (5, Informative)

SpiritGod21 (884402) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254899)

I just skimmed the bill linked in the summary... is it just me, or does this 1) not appear to apply to email whatsoever (it's not mentioned anywhere in the bill, though VOIP is) and 2) only applies to business doing $5 million USD or more in business a year.

Simple solution... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254931)

FTA: If that doesn't happen, other taxes may zoom upward instead, warned Sen. Michael Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, at a Senate hearing on Wednesday. "Are we implicitly blessing a situation where states are forced to raise other taxes, such as income or property taxes, to offset the growing loss of sales tax revenue?" Enzi said. "I want to avoid that."

Well here's a simple idea... SPEND LESS MONEY!

Wow, imagine that, if you don't waste as much money, you wont have to tax the public more. Whodathunkit?

-Rick

The only thing they can put a tax on (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254943)

Is raw traffic, starting at the ISP. I.e. for example charge you 5 cents per GB, or something like that.

Unfortunately this means you miss on opportunities to charge low-traffic and high-value messages, like email. Or chat, but that's life.

If they tried to tax email, people would just ignore it.

Familiar (5, Insightful)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254947)

It's similar to what the Dems pulled with the "bringing back the draft" BS they tried to claim Republicans were planning during the 2004 election (Dems were the ones who proposed twin bills for it, but then voted against it cause it was just a campaign tool to get college students to pledge votes for Kerry).

Now Republicans seem to be doing the same thing. Propose a BS bill, then claim "it's the Democrats' fault!"

I F-ING HATE POLITICS

You read crap like this (1)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254961)

and you wonder how the RIAA gets away with things? These morons have no idea how things work, they just listen to the deepest pockets.

Internet Legislation (1)

duckle (738287) | more than 6 years ago | (#19254967)

While we're at this trend of making decisions about topics in which we have no place, let's have all the male computer scientists settle the abortion debate! Maybe have kids under the age of 7 decide the new drinking age? Hell, let's just give every toddler the vote.

Why are politicians such professional dickheads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19254983)

Yeah, I understand they need to justify their jobs by constantly introducing legislation, but please stop fucking up *everything*! ugh. I suffer outrage-exhaustion. I welcome the killer asteroid. Thankfully it'll do some good, as measures to stop it will never be funded. 2009 here we come.

As a Democrat, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19255003)

I can say unequivocally that I will not vote for anyone who votes for this, regardless of how crazy the other guy is.

Everyone calm down... (5, Informative)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255005)

There are two separate things going on here.

First, the bill in the story has nothing to do with taxing internet email. It has to do with, specifically, sales taxes on goods purchased over the internet.

The second part of the story is about the temporary moratorium limiting broadband taxes which limits taxes on items such as email, web surfing, etc.

Needless to say, these things are completely different. Leave it to crap|net to mix them all up to get your feathers ruffled.

In the first case, the bill being sponsored by Mr Envi, I kind of understand where he is coming from. States and local governments get a lot of their revenue from sales tax. Since there has been an increasing number of purchases made online, state and local governments and losing out on that sales tax money, which means they need to raise other taxes (e.g. property, fuel) in order to compensate. This hurts everyone, even those that do not own computers, and especially hurts the elderly who live on limited income. This bill also simplifies how states collect taxes for retailers to reduce paperwork, and has an exemption for e-tailers that earn less than $5 million a year doing internet sales.

On the temporary moratorium limiting broadband taxes, this is something that has been renewed every couple of years for the last several under the Republican-led congress. The idea is that general broadband services are not taxed, such as email and web surfing, at the federal and state levels. It does not appear this will be renewed which means *new* taxes could (and probably will) be added to Internet users.

Now that it is clear...

While some may point out that Mr. Enzi is a Republican raising taxes, he's not so much raising taxes as he is 1) simplifying sales taxes; 2) ensuring the "current" level of taxes imposed by states; 3) thus reducing property taxes; 4) helping maintain state governments who are having financial problems due to lack of sales tax revenue.

On the other hand, the Democrats, if they do not renew the ban on broadband taxes, will be creating new taxes that will impact every internet user. These are not taxes that are being avoided or taxes that are being suppressed.... these are NEW taxes.. and we all know how the Democrats love their taxes!

Don't be fooled, Republicans want this too (1)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255019)

Republicans at the state level want this too. It's even in TFA, if you care to RTFA. Of course, the blame will be shifted to Democrats, because we all know that Republicans never [hnn.us] raise [washingtonmonthly.com] taxes... [wikipedia.org]

How is this news? (1)

giminy (94188) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255035)

What next, an article on slashdot detailing the dissimilarities between the internet and a truck?

A senator warned about email tax? Senators say a lot of stupid and crazy things that aren't true. Until there is actual legislation on the table, the title of the article certainly isn't slashdot-worthy (can you say 'FUD'? I knew you could).

Internet sales tax is maybe slashdot-worthy, but it really isn't about internet sales tax. It's really about interstate sales tax -- telephone orders, even in-person orders that get delivered elsewhere would be subject to the same legislation.

At the very worst, you'll see a lot of internet sales companies move their 'operations center' to Delaware on paper or something...

Reid

two things (1)

Ep0xi (1093943) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255049)

1: Free email accounts are wiretapped. Once i had an hotmail account (paid) and it was wiretapped too. SO the tax is used to get money "without" wiretapping? 2: The tax is applicable to every internet account worldwide or just to the US? I hope they are not just to say that the TAX would be used to ensure the safety of the citizens because they already should DO THAT by using correctly the CIA and not WIRETAPPING our INET habbits

Hahaha Yanks (0, Troll)

ztransform (929641) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255117)

Hey, sure, let's tax e-mails. And while we're at it, how bout we let any mentally disturbed idiot obtain guns and go shoot his school mates!

(We'll politely ignore the fact that the innocent school girls whom the NRA assume carry guns to protect themselves are thankful guns are so easy to obtain).

YOU ESS AYE.. YOU ESS AYE!

(Americans on average are really dumb. British on average are really selfish.)

sales tax already required (2, Insightful)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 6 years ago | (#19255195)

In some states you are required to declare out of state purchases (Internet purchases) in some form or another. A lot of people ignore it though or argue the interpretation. Wisconsin also requires out of state purchases to be declared on income taxes.

http://www.revenue.wi.gov/faqs/ise/usetax.html [wi.gov]
http://www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/pub79b.pdf [ca.gov]
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-perfin18mar1 8,1,6878957.column [latimes.com]

Should we really listen to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19255225)

a man named Dick Armey? I mean seriously...what the hell are we thinking. Dick Armey, seriously your name is Dick...Armey, no no no I'm sorry..I uh just..well I just want to make sure that I'm getting this right. D - I - C - K Armey? hahaha...uh yeah ok...sorry.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...