Death and Taxes
OK, forget the death part for now. Let's talk about taxes, specifically, taxes on Internet commerce.
I'm sure you all like paying taxes as much as I do. Some taxes we just have to pay, end of story. Thanks to a couple of U.S. representatives, there are some we don't. I am referring to H.R.4105 (introduced June 22, 1998), cosponsored by Rep. Christopher Cox (R-California) and Rep. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), which has allowed all of us involved in e-commerce to enjoy a three-year moratorium on collecting sales taxes, among other issues.
A Reprieve from Internet Taxes ... for the Moment
The original moratorium went into effect in October 1998 and has been the subject of attacks ever since. It has become something of a political football in the posturing being done by our elected officials.
Cox and Wyden also introduced the Internet Tax Freedom Act III, but that bill didn't make it through the last session of Congress before it was adjourned for the year. It would have made the moratorium permanent, but alas, it was not to be.
Can We Make This More Permanent?
Not knowing the meaning of the word "surrender," Cox and Wyden announced a fresh challenge to the concept of Internet taxation with the introduction of the Internet Nondiscrimination Act. They seem determined to attempt to end the potential nightmare of Internet taxation. They are convinced that a permanent moratorium is in order. I, for one, agree.
Cox and Wyden successfully pushed a bill through Congress in 1999 that has the federal government pressuring the World Trade Organization (WTO) for a permanent ban on new Internet taxes applying to international e-commerce. That includes the rejection of the "bit tax," which, as you all should know, would tax electronic information such as e-mail.
Having Your Say
If you run an e-commerce site, you are in this up to your neck, and you need to keep on top of this issue. Get in touch with your own representatives to Congress and let them know what you think. And don't give me the "I'm too busy" or "I don't know how to reach them" song and dance. If you are reading this, you have every tool you will ever need to reach out and let one of your elected officials hear your point of view. I will give you a link to the U.S. Congress on the Web. It happens to be a so-so example of a search engine-driven Web site, but nonetheless, it works.
Do it to them before they do it to us. Unless you like paying taxes...
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