Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act

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Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act
Great Seal of the United States
Full title To permanently extend the Internet Tax Freedom Act.
Introduced in 113th United States Congress
Introduced on September 12, 2013
Sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R, VA-6)
Number of co-sponsors 4
Effects and codifications
Act(s) affected Internet Tax Freedom Act
U.S.C. section(s) affected 47 U.S.C. § 151
Legislative history

The Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 3086) is a bill that would amend the Internet Tax Freedom Act to make permanent the ban on state and local taxation of Internet access and on multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.[1]

The bill was introduced and passed in the United States House of Representatives during the 113th United States Congress.[2][3]

Background[edit]

The Internet Tax Freedom Act first became law in 1998 and has had to be reauthorized several times since then.[4] The bill was originally passed to help protect the newly developing technology.[5] Without another renewal or permanent change, the measure will expire on December 31, 2014.

Provisions of the bill[edit]

The Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act would amend the Internet Tax Freedom Act to make permanent the ban on state and local taxation of Internet access and on multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.[1]

Congressional Budget Office report[edit]

H.R. 3086 would make permanent a moratorium on state and local taxes on Internet access and some taxes on electronic commerce. Under current law, the moratorium is set to expire on November 1, 2014. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that enacting H.R. 3086 would have no impact on the federal budget, but beginning in 2014, it would impose significant annual costs on some state and local governments. The bill would not affect federal direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.[6]

By permanently prohibiting state and local government from collecting certain types of taxes, H.R. 3086 would impose an intergovernmental mandate as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). CBO estimates that the mandate would cause some state and local governments to lose revenue beginning in November 2014; those losses would exceed the threshold established in UMRA for intergovernmental mandates ($76 million in 2014, adjusted annually for inflation) beginning in 2015. CBO estimates that the direct costs to states and local governments would probably total more than several hundred million dollars annually. The bill contains no private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA.[6]

Procedural history[edit]

The Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act was introduced into the United States House of Representatives on September 12, 2013 by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R, VA-6).[2] The bill was referred to the United States House Committee on the Judiciary and the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law. On July 3, 2014, it was reported alongside House Report 113-510.[2] On July 15, 2014, the House voted in a voice vote to pass the bill.[3]

Debate and discussion[edit]

The bill would end a grandfather clause in the original Internet Tax Freedom Act that allowed states and localities to keep charging an internet sales tax if they had already been doing so in 1998.[4][3] This bill would end that grandfather clause, resulting in a handful of states losing about $500 million a year in combined taxes.[4] Those states are Hawaii, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.[5] Rep. Goodlatte responded to the criticism of the removal of the grandfather clause by arguing that the clause was only meant to be temporary, allowing those states to find other sources of revenue, and that 16 years has been "time enough to change their tax code."[3]

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) wrote an op-ed in The Hill arguing strongly in favor of the bill. Goodlatte said that in "our new digital economy" a "computer and internet access serve as a gateway - if not a necessity - for the American Dream. Millions of Americans now rely on the internet to run their businesses, to educate themselves, to seek new opportunities, to research and write, and to communicate with family and friends."[7] According to Goodlatte, the bill was necessary to protect the American people and their ability to access the internet from the high monetary barriers that would be created if states were allowed to tax internet access.[7] Goodlatte later said that "this legislation prevents a surprise tax hike on Americans' critical services this fall."[5]

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities criticized the legislation, calling it "harmful" and claiming that it "would cost states up to $7 billion in potential annual revenue."[5]

Some Democrats criticized the bill, arguing that the internet no longer needs tax protection, that more people do not use the internet in untaxed states versus taxed states, and that the bill infringes on states' rights.[5] According to one commentator, the argument about whether this bill is an example of federal overreach "puts many politicians into a quandary by forcing them to take a stance on which they hate more: taxes or the federal government telling states what to do."[8]

This bill does not deal with internet sales tax, the taxing of goods bought and sold over the internet.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "H.R. 3086 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "H.R. 3086 - All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e Gross, Grant (15 July 2014). "U.S. House approves permanent ban on Internet access taxes". PC World. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Snell, Kelsey (15 July 2014). "Internet access tax vote hurts sales tax bid". Politico Pro. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e Volz, Dustin (15 July 2014). "The House Just Voted to Ban Internet Taxes—Forever". National Journal. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  6. ^ a b "CBO - H.R. 3086". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  7. ^ a b Goodlatte, Bob (15 July 2014). "Make Internet access tax ban permanent". The Hill. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  8. ^ Erb, Kelly Phillips (20 June 2014). "Will Congress Keep The Internet Tax Free?". Forbes. Retrieved 16 July 2014.

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Government.