U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) today introduced legislation, the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act, to make permanent the existing ban on Internet access taxes and on multiple and discriminatory taxes on e-commerce. The Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA), originally enacted in 1998 and extended three times, is currently scheduled to expire November 1, 2014.
“As the Internet Tax Freedom Act enabled and promoted Internet access and adoption across America, the Internet became a platform to facilitate global commerce, sparking nothing short of an economic revolution,” Wyden said. “It facilitated the development and growth of the digital economy and has created new industries and the good-paying jobs that come along with them. Consumers, entrepreneurs, and innovators can breathe easy knowing that a permanent extension of ITFA is on its way.”
“Use of Internet technology is one of the key drivers of economic growth, innovation, and information in our 21st century economy,” said Thune. “Keeping the Internet accessible to consumers encourages innovation and investment in our global economy. Our legislation would make permanent the prohibition on Internet access taxes, would prevent multiple and discriminatory taxes on Internet commerce, and would promote Internet access throughout the country, which is especially important in rural areas of South Dakota.”
In the early days of the Internet, state and local jurisdictions sought to impose multiple and discriminatory taxes on the new medium. This practice threatened to stifle innovation and economic growth of this economic platform. In 1998, Senator Wyden co-wrote the original ITFA to place a moratorium on such taxes and successfully reauthorized the law three times in the intervening years. This legislation would make those protections permanent, giving online innovators and entrepreneurs the stability they need to grow their businesses.