People are currently indirectly taxed for using the Internet. Whether you have wireless access, high speed, or even dial-up access to the Internet, you pay for a connection to the Internet. These dollars go to the company that provided you with this service. The net income that is generated by these companies is then taxed by the federal government. Therefore, although we do not pay taxes directly to the government, tax dollars based upon use of the Internet are collected.
This is not the first time that an idea to tax Internet use has arisen. The idea of taxing e-mail has been around for a long time. I have heard ideas of taxes as small as one cent per e-mail sent to as high as ten cents per e-mail sent. Obviously, this idea has yet to become a reality, but it is not that hard to imagine.
The biggest problem that I have with taxing the Internet is not the idea of taxation but is the cost of trying to tax such a huge, ever changing entity. The fact that the Internet is a world wide program makes the government’s task of trying to tax Americans a very hard task. As such, the cost of trying to regulate and enforce the taxes that may be imposed upon Internet use may be more than the actual revenue that is collected from such taxes. As such, the entire process would be an exercise in futility.
Taxing the use of the Internet is not such a far fetched idea that it is impossible to believe that it could ever happen. However, any government program put into place to tax the Internet would go against the very ideas that where the basis for creating the Internet: the free exchange of ideas. I emphasize the word “free.” Because it is free, has so many uses, and is so powerful, the Internet has become the cornerstone in the lives of many people. As such, the government could use this fact against many people when imposing the tax.
If a tax were imposed on Internet use, there would be people who would cancel their connection to the same. However, because so many people depend on the Internet, not only for convenience, but for their livelihood, there would be many people that would be literally forced to pay the tax or find a new line of work.
The point is, there are too many negatives that taxing the Internet would create, but taxing the Internet is not outside the realm of possibility. As such, let us enjoy it while it is free because although I do not foresee an Internet use tax being imposed any time in the near future, you never really know what may happen.