Here’s some good news: Right now most Americans pay $0 in taxes to connect to the Internet.
And thanks to a bill that passed today, you will never have to pay taxes just to get online, or pay more taxes for goods and services just because they’re bought online.
But let’s start at the beginning. In 1998, Congress passed the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA). The bill does exactly what its name says — keeps Internet access free from taxes. I co-wrote the law with Republican Congressman Chris Cox.
Internet Tax Freedom saves Oregonians and most Americans hundreds of dollars a year in taxes. There’s no ban on wireless taxes and Americans pay an average 17 percent (!) tax on their mobile service.
And Internet Tax Freedom is more than just keeping Internet access tax-free — it also keeps you from having to pay more in taxes on an item just because it was purchased online. Internet Tax Freedom makes sure you don’t pay more for that Valentine’s Day gift just because you bought it on Etsy instead of in a store. It means that an online bookseller from Medford can compete with Walmart.
Unfortunately, Internet Tax Freedom had to be renewed regularly, putting your pocketbook in the cross hairs each time. That’s something that seniors and the many American families who are already walking an economic tightrope just can’t afford. It’s unfair and it’s wrong.
But that changed this week. I made sure the permanent ban on taxing Internet access was included in a trade enforcement package that passed this week. After years of pushing, Congress finally took the expiration date off Internet Tax Freedom.
I’m proud that Oregonians can know they won’t be faced with yet another tax and that America’s online businesses can rest assured they can compete on a level-playing field.