ALEC: No ‘Net Tax

Published September 1, 2007

In a joint resolution of its Telecom and IT and Tax and Fiscal Policy task forces, the American Legislative Exchange Council in late July called for a permanent moratorium on Internet access taxes.

The current moratorium, instituted by the U.S. Congress, expires November 1.

“This resolution recognizes that taxing Internet access would slow broadband deployment, particularly in rural and low-density areas, would decrease telework opportunities and widen the digital divide,” reads the resolution summary.

The text also specifically calls for including in the ban any taxes on Internet backbone access, which would be paid by carriers but ultimately passed on to consumers.

With the moratorium deadline approaching, a number of states–including Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania–are looking at ways to impose a tax, said Deborah Bierbaum, director-external tax policy at AT&T.

Supporters of the ALEC resolution say they also hope it separates the issue of Internet access taxes–which are assessed on the purchase of Internet services–from the payment of sales taxes on purchases made over the Internet. The original moratorium “muddled” both, said Steve DelBianco, vice president of public policy for the Association for Competitive Technology.

“We want to create a clear definition,” DelBianco said.

Steven Titch