Congress Temporarily Extends Internet Access Tax Ban

Published October 28, 2015

The U.S. House of Representative voted in favor of a stopgap continuing resolution funding the government’s operations until December 11, including provisions extending the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA).

In addition to the short-term moratorium on state and local taxes on Internet access, a permanent version is under consideration by the U.S. Senate. The House approved a permanent ban in July.

Encouraging Internet Growth

Andrew Moylan, executive director and senior fellow with the R Street Institute, says ITFA must be made permanent.

“This bill would reduce disruptions to interstate commerce, consistent with Congress’ constitutional authority,” Moylan said. “In doing so, it would protect consumers from having to pay higher bills, encourage more use and expansion of the Internet, and trim about $500 million in taxes used to prop up bloated state budgets.”

Matthew Glans, a senior policy analyst at The Heartland Institute, which publishes Budget & Tax News, says making ITFA permanent would promote economic growth.

“Making ITFA permanent is a necessary step in promoting wider access to the Internet while keeping the cost down and eliminating discriminatory taxes,” Glans said. “As the Internet has become one of the driving forces behind economic growth across the United States, ensuring affordable access for businesses and consumers is crucial.”

Helping Broadband Access Expand

Permanently banning state and local taxes on Internet access and discriminatory online taxes in general would help get more people better Internet access.

“Internet access taxes place an unnecessary burden on consumers in order to do something the market is already handling quite effectively,” Glans said. “A permanent Internet access tax moratorium would help broadband access and development expand while reducing the need for government broadband spending.”

Gabrielle Cintorino ([email protected]) writes from Nashville, Tennessee.

Internet Info:

Timothy Fallaw, “The Internet Tax Freedom Act: Necessary Protection or Deferral of the Problem?” Journal of Intellectual Property Law: