June 11 2014

Greedy Taxman Eyes Internet

Charlotte Hays

The internet is a great success of our time, offering users, innovators and communicators unprecedented freedom and opportunity.

If the Internet Tax Freedom Act expires, however, the internet could be burdened with taxes and thus become as sluggish as other sectors of the economy.

The Internet Tax Freedom Act (IFTA) was put in place in the 1990s, and it is coming up for renewal. I urge you to read Amy McLean’s article on why we can’t let this act expire. She writes:

We should all be concerned about what happens if ITFA is not extended.

In a paper released last week by The Phoenix Center, Dr. George S. Ford estimates that allowing state and localities to levy communications taxes on Internet connections will have a “sizeable adverse effect on broadband adoption, likely erasing all reasonable estimates of the gains to Internet adoption from the billions of dollars spent to date on federal, state and private-sector programs.”

Translated: State and local taxes will lead to giant steps backwards from where we are today with so  many Americans relying on Internet access to run their businesses, do their homework, monitor their health, find jobs, etc.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international group that’s reporting the U.S. mobile broadband penetration rate is 96% (299 million active mobile units). Dr. Ford estimates that if ITFA is not extended, there is a “plausible loss” of 30 million wireless lines, and the U.S. would drop from 7th in the world in mobile broadband penetration to 9th – putting us behind Estonia and Norway.

Congress can take action right now to prevent this from happening by making permanent the Internet Tax Freedom Act. Please take a moment to speak up and let your members of Congress know you’d like them to support the Internet Tax Freedom Act.

 

 

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