Who should get the Internet tax money (assuming that an Internet tax will be charged for outgoing emails and downloading web pages)?Who should get the Internet tax money (assuming that an Internet...

Who should get the Internet tax money (assuming that an Internet tax will be charged for outgoing emails and downloading web pages)?

Who should get the Internet tax money (assuming that an Internet tax will be charged for outgoing emails and downloading web pages)?

Expert Answers
belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sadly, I can easily see this happening in the U.S. if we don't take steps to prevent it. We have become an increasingly taxed society; everything that can be taxed already is, and remember that you pay taxes on your money before you ever get to pay more taxes on your purchases! If the tax were put in place, I foresee three events:

  1. The creation of a new underground market: non-taxed wi-fi broadcast and reception solutions. These would be software and hardware designed to invisibly connect to hotspots without alerting the bandwidth monitors.
  2. Bandwidth capping: in response to the enormous drain of non-paying users, providers would cap all their paying customers to ensure that no one is using more than their fair share.
  3. Revolt: assuming the government doesn't make it illegal to form your own ISP, dozens of tax-free services will pop up, and if the market is allowed to run its course, all the taxed ISPs will go under while the tax-free ones -- even if they are no more than dial-up! -- will flourish.

The process to limit Internet information and access has already begun; the SOPA bill seeks enormous freedom in defining and litigating the legalities of Internet use. As of Dec. 1, 2011, it is still in discussions and is widely regarded as a bad idea.

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Interesting responses to this question.  Strangely, some are OK with an Internet tax if it goes to what they perceive as "worthy causes."  Giving it to the cable companies so it can expand, though?  Paying down the federal debt? Why would anyone want to give money to those who caused the fiscal problem in the first place? Rewarding them with money induces them to continue to be fiscally reckless.

Forcing a tax on the Internet, like all questions of supply-demand, will create underground black markets or "blacknets." I suppose if government is allowed to  continue to ever-expand, it will use its newly-found tax resources to seek out and destroy those entities, and should the tax be high enough, we will regress towards how things were done before.

I can think of no better way than to cripple an already crippled economy.

The government should be in the business of safeguarding Rights, not figuring out new ways of taking our money.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While I can't see this every really happening, I can image some agencies that would love to see it come to fruition.  In the US, I would image this type of tax would be fought over between the federal and state agencies as well as the Internet providers.  I don't think the Internet providers or the larger companies like Google would be able to charge a tax in this country.  The don't have the right to charge a tax although they could charge a fee of their own.  I don't image it would be worth charging a fee for each message or download because someone is going to have to monitor that.  It's just not worth it.  I also don't see the federal government or the state government charging a tax.  Taxes imply that they are doing something in return.  We pay a gas tax to help assuage the cost of road repair.  Since the government doesn't maintain cables or other Internet related infrastructure, I don't think they can claim the right to a tax on it.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That is a great question. As you know there is no such thing right now. If there were ever a tax for Internet usage, I suppose there will be three potential sectors who would want the tax revenue. First, I can see Internet/cable companies wanting a piece of that money, because they are putting down the Internet/fiber optic lines to make everything work. Second, I can see large non-infrastructural Internet companies wanting money (like google) that create the software for the Internet to work. Finally, I can see the government wanting money to offset their balance sheets.

In my opinion, if there is going to be a tax, which would be absurd, I think the people who create the infrastructure of the Internet should get it to make the Internet more effective. For example, the United States lags in this area as compared to other countries, like South Korea. It would be great to have more wireless areas.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Let me add that this kind of a tax would become an outrage to the world at large.  First, the internet is international.  America currently has some of the most lax Internet "rules" (if you can even deem they exist at all) and likely the highest number of users.  How in the world could such money be allotted on a global scale?  Assuming then, that this tax was imposed only on American websites or for American Internet users, imagine how many people would make a business out of getting out of paying it.

If such a tax ever did come into existence, i would hope that it would eliminate Internet fees everywhere, and for that matter, cable and cell phone fees as well.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the question is: who do you think will say that they have a right to collecting the taxes (if ever collected). If this "can of worms" is opened, there will be many companies fighting for their piece of the pie. I certainly agree that those who are responsible for the services should have a right to a portion of the money.

Outside of that, I would love to see the money go towards programs which need financial help right now. The only example I can think of would be to disperse it in the same fashion as monies derived from casinos. While this is a stretch, I know, it would be nice to see some of the schools getting the money they have been promised for so long.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I hope this never happens. If it ever does become a possibility, I would agree with the second poster that whoever bears the costs of building and sustaining the internet should benefit from any "tax." I suspect that if any government entity (such as the federal government) ever got its hands on any such revenues, they would be wasted. If I could be convinced that such revenues would only be used to pay down the federal debt, I might be more willing to consider such a tax.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can't see this ever happening.  Much more likely is a universal sales tax for things bought and sold on the internet.  This was money that used to be spent in stores, in person, and that money went to city and state governments to help fund basic programs like police, fire service and education.  I'd be fine with them getting that money again from an internet sales tax.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with BrettD.  This just isn't happening.  If it were to happen, though, the money should be put in the general funds of the governments that collect the tax.  There is no reason that internet taxes should be dedicated to anything in particular.