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As digital downloads heat up, states look for an additional revenue stream.

Despite high piracy rates, digital content services are riding high.  Some like Valve have made a lucrative business off distributing video game content such as the Half Life, Doom, and Grand Theft Auto games (the latter two licensed by id and Rockstar respectively).  Others, such as iTunes and Rhapsody have cashed in on the music business as well as TV episode content.

And though the good times may be rolling for online business, those happy times may be nearing an end.  Many states are after the $130B USD untaxed digital market and salivating at the prospective tax revenue.  While internet taxes may have been shot down at the national level, some states aren’t as forgiving.

Just a few months ago Indiana, South Dakota, and Utah all signed digital download taxes into law.  Nebraska enacted such a measure in April.  June put a digital tax law in Tennessee's books.  In all, nine states adopted taxes on digital downloads in 2008 alone.

Part of the online industry's rapid growth has been thanks to a favorable tax climate -- or lack thereof.  Most downloads in the past have not been taxed at all, as most states' tax laws predate the widespread use of the internet.  Thus some states like California have high taxes on physical purchases of music and games, but low taxes on their online counterparts.

The tech industry argues that this differentiation is vital to their business.  NetChoice who is composed of eBay, AOL, and Yahoo and others is among the groups lobbying against the taxes.  It has thus far had relatively little success.

Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice explains his stance, "With global warming and a world that's running out of oil, the last thing governments should do is add taxes on something that uses no oil and produces no carbon.  A digital download is the greenest way to buy music, movies, and software, since it requires no driving to the store, no delivery vans, and no plastics or packaging."

Stephen Kranz, an attorney at Sutherland law firm who helps the net retailers fight against tax measures, says there have been some victories.  Lobbyists in California and Wisconsin held off tax measures -- for now.

Mr. Kranz is fearful, though, that for these small victories there will be many defeats in the days ahead.  Wyoming and Washington are both reviewing their tax policies in upcoming months.  He adds, "Massachusetts has a draft bill circulating around."

The numbers are growing -- 17 states, plus the District of Columbia, tax digital downloads now, or just over a third of the nation's states.  Among these are Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Washington.  Some states like Washington are considering upping taxes as well.

The Tennessee law governs "the retail sale, lease, licensing, or use of specified digital products transferred to or accessed by subscribers or consumers" while the Nebraska law covers "sales of digital audio works (music), digital audiovisual works (movies, music videos, TV shows), and digital books".

The music industry now gets 30 percent of its revenues from the 500 legitimate download services in operation.  The International Digital Publishing Forum says online audiobook sales are up to $10B USD in Q1 2008, up 25 percent from last year.

One small ray of sunshine for E-Tailers is the legal concept of "nexus", which the Supreme Court ruled in 1992 was mandatory for taxation.  "Nexus" means that a company must have a physical presence within a state to be taxed.  So Amazon, which is Seattle based and has no offices in California, could not be taxed in the state.  Some members of Congress are trying to push through bills to block this concept, making taxation mandatory.  Mr. Kranz is at least relieved that these efforts seem unlikely to succeed.  He states, "Most of the proponents of the nexus legislation would concede that given this is an election year, it's unlikely the legislation will pass."

Many states are joining together on the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, which aims to develop a consistent framework for online taxation.  One key point is “what is digital content” and “what is software”.  Some states want digital software taxes, which could hit Valve and other online game distributors.  Others say this is a bad idea.

Dan Noble, the administrator of the excise tax division for the Wyoming Department of Revenue, says that states could tax anyways, that the laws are just a formality, in effect.  He states, "The way our statute is currently we probably could tax them, but we should probably have the legislature have the final say."

Some states like New York, whose statute states "The sale of digital music delivered electronically to customers for download on their computers... constitutes the sale of intangible property and is not subject to sales or use tax...", may find the allure of the rich tax revenues too much to resist in the long run.

Temporarily, some companies like eBay or Amazon may be able to hide behind the concept of nexus, but others like Apple, which has a store in virtually every state, have nowhere to turn.  As the online digital content industry continues to grow the issue is likely to grow as well.  With illegal downloads gnawing at its sales on one end and increasing taxes on legal downloads on the other end, it should be interesting to see if the industry is able to continue to thrive and grow.



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Tax
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/12/2008 10:41:50 AM , Rating: 3
If it moves, Tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subdidize it.

Government is just getting greedy. If you want to fix the tax situation, stop giving groups tax exemptions (Religion) or non-profit (Tax the property or offices they own).




RE: Tax
By FITCamaro on 8/12/2008 10:53:53 AM , Rating: 1
Religion I think should be tax exempt. Need to remove Scientology as a listed religion though. It's not. In every other country in the world, its listed as a cult.

Non-profit though, I'm mixed. Those that shell out the majority of the money they take in to the thing they're supporting I think deserve tax exemption. But those that are nothing more than a scam and give out hardly any of the money they take in, don't deserve the exemption. Of course how do you write a law that states this?

Your first line is definitely the current thinking though.


RE: Tax
By TomZ on 8/12/2008 11:00:57 AM , Rating: 5
One man's cult is another man's religion. Who gets to decide which is "right" or "wrong"?


RE: Tax
By frobizzle on 8/12/2008 11:48:10 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
One man's cult is another man's religion. Who gets to decide which is "right" or "wrong"?

There is a constitutional doctrine of separation of church and state. A huge problem in this country today is that the churches are far too involved in politics. Once a church or minister (priest, rabbi, whatever) makes a political stand to his or her parishiners, they should lose their tax-exempt status.

Realistically, how do you enforce this? Simple, you revoke the tax exempt status of all religions. No prejudice is shown to or against any group. All treated fairly. This would rapidly fill the greedy state tax collectors (at least for a little while.)


RE: Tax
By ebakke on 8/12/2008 4:52:55 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
A huge problem in this country today is that the churches are far too involved in politics.

Are you insinuating that politics and religion were less mixed in the past? Because history seems to think otherwise.


RE: Tax
By Darkefire on 8/12/2008 6:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
Well they were less mixed in the past, in the sense that they basically meant the same thing. He makes a good point; if churches that openly preached political viewpoints lost their tax-exempt status, we'd see a whole lot less religion in our politics. A theoretically objective and adaptable system has no business mingling with one that holds doctrine and prejudice; a whole lot of world problems right now would be a lot less serious (or uncomplicated enough that a decent solution could be found) if we brought a little more tolerance to the table and a little less Spaghetti Monster.


RE: Tax
By borismkv on 8/12/2008 6:57:27 PM , Rating: 2
See, then you have to put a definition on what is a "Political Viewpoint" and what is not. When you do that, you start limiting free speech if you punish people for advocating certain political viewpoints in specific situations. What you're advocating is effectively that free speech should not exist for religious institutions. If you say it's okay to punish a religious leader for making political speeches at the pulpit, you would also need to punish normal individuals for doing the same thing on the side of the street, and I certainly hope you are not advocating *that*.

I will, however, admit that there is a difference between making statements of a political nature and religious groups that tell their members who to vote for and punish them for not doing so. That does happen, and it is disagreeable to me because it is in itself a denial of individual rights.


RE: Tax
By Alexstarfire on 8/13/2008 1:14:06 AM , Rating: 2
How would you punish this "normal" person? Make him pay more taxes on top of what he already pays?


RE: Tax
By borismkv on 8/13/2008 2:16:48 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, I don't know...prison or "re-education" camps come to mind. We seriously aren't too damned far from crossing some very dangerous lines these days, and the willingness to punish religions for making statements against political idealism or urging followers to follow a certain line of thought politically is hypocritical at best. Seriously, how different is what a religious leader says in a sermon from, say, a blog post blasting religious people? Why is it that some people will rail against the religious leader and cry for an end to his tax exemption status and then hold up the blogger as a standard of truth? Yes, religious groups have a special amount of freedom. But that freedom is actually guaranteed by the constitution, just as the blogger's freedom to rant is guaranteed. The removal of tax exemption should only be used in very rare situations, and with an extreme amount of due process involved. And I would *highly* recommend thinking very seriously about your position if you honestly think that punishing religions for involving themselves in politics is a good thing. Cause that's a road that will come back to hurt you one day.


RE: Tax
By Alexstarfire on 8/13/2008 3:33:26 AM , Rating: 2
You act like removing the tax exemption is like going to jail. I'm not saying it's not a punishment, but they aren't exactly the same. One is like paying a fine while the other is being sent to prison. Are you saying they are equal?

I'm not saying that removing it is the way to go, though. Religious leaders do have a lot more influence than your random blog poster. You can't deny that.

Of course, you both have points. I think the separation of church and state isn't exactly a law/rule, but more a guideline if I remember correctly. Yours is in the constitution, which is a big difference.


RE: Tax
By brenatevi on 8/13/2008 2:21:48 AM , Rating: 2
Arrest him for not paying his "speech tax." *shrug*


RE: Tax
By frobizzle on 8/13/2008 6:28:08 PM , Rating: 2
Castigate him for using bad syn-tax!


RE: Tax
By gunzac21 on 8/13/2008 2:19:19 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
What you're advocating is effectively that free speech should not exist for religious institutions. If you say it's okay to punish a religious leader for making political speeches at the pulpit, you would also need to punish normal individuals for doing the same thing on the side of the street, and I certainly hope you are not advocating *that*.


You are incorrect. it does not oppose free speech in any way, he merely states that as a religion you should lose tax-exemption (a privilege granted because they are supposed to be separate from government) said religion can decide to contribute (pay taxes) to this nation like everyone else and say whatever they please.


RE: Tax
By frobizzle on 8/13/2008 10:15:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
When you do that, you start limiting free speech if you punish people for advocating certain political viewpoints in specific situations.

As gunzac21 correctly states, it does not oppose free speech. There is a difference between punishment and withdrawal of a privilege. It is a fine line, yes, but definitely a differentiation. As it currently stands, religions are literally having their cake and eating it, too!


RE: Tax
By borismkv on 8/13/2008 7:46:55 PM , Rating: 2
Well then, how about that good ol' religious freedom. I'll let Mr. Thomas Jefferson explain.

quote:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened (burdened) in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities .


That is article 2 from the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. That's law in the state of Virginia. You should read that document. Very enlightening. Even condemns the very idea that people should be forced to consider political viewpoints with a mind separate from their religious beliefs. I'd also mention that Thomas Jefferson was also the primary writer of the laws concerning the separation of church and state.

But hey, I guess you'll just interpret it to mean whatever the hell you want, regardless of the fact that it says pretty simply that forcing people to believe a certain way is wrong.

quote:
that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow-citizens he has a natural right


But hey, who cares about what a bunch of old dead racist bastards thought, right? Let's just ignore the documents and beliefs that were the very foundation of the United States and make up our own rules so we can do what we want, when we want without having to deal with the consequences or with people who disagree with us. Let's be "progressive." Even if it results in the complete destruction of the Constitution and all the other documents and laws written at the very birth of this nation.

And as an actual response to your statement, frobizzle, there are a lot of religions that are having their cake, and giving it to people who don't have any. But then I guess all the homeless shelters, humanitarian aid, disaster relief efforts, and welfare systems instituted by some of the larger organized religions don't matter anyway, huh? What you guys fail to realize is that when you tax religions, the *vast* majority of that money is tax deductible anyway. You'd be lucky to pull maybe 1% of the money that goes into religious organizations back out.


RE: Tax
By Guyver on 8/13/2008 11:09:33 AM , Rating: 2
You are correct. The forefathers had no problem with religious influence in government.

The History Channel has covered this quite clearly as well.


RE: Tax
By frobizzle on 8/13/2008 6:30:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You are correct. The forefathers had no problem with religious influence in government.

Where do you come up with this stuff?? Maybe you need to read the Federalist Papers to see how dreadfully misguided you are!


RE: Tax
By borismkv on 8/12/2008 6:40:36 PM , Rating: 3
You realize that by doing that, you would effectively be hindering the welfare and disaster relief efforts of the larger organized religions and placing it squarely in the hands of the US Government which has proven itself, if not completely incompetent then horribly inefficient at this, right? Removing tax exemption for religious institutions will no more to harm our society than it will to bolster the coffers of our government.

Further, it is arguable that religious tax exemption is a very big part of the separation of church and state. But then, I suppose you only care if religions influence politics, not if the government decides to punish religions for not preaching what it deems acceptable. You know those inalienable rights protected by the constitution? Yeah. One of those is the right to believe what you want and say what you what, when you want. Why do I feel like that right is starting to disappear?


RE: Tax
By Guyver on 8/13/2008 11:08:09 AM , Rating: 2
Historically speaking, "Separation of Church and State" was a one-way street. In the last 50 or so years, it has been reinterpreted as a two-way street.

The reason our forefathers created the concept of "Separation of Church and State" was to avoid another Church of England. It was about not allowing the existence of a government-run religion or having any government influence in people's preferred religion. Our forefathers had absolutely no problem with religion (of any kind) having any influence in government (hence the one-way street).

It's the more liberal and secular among us who have fought for a more literal and absolute reinterpretation of the meaning of "Separation of Church and State", hence the two-way street reinterpretation in the last 50 or so years.

That being said, I'm agnostic so don't accuse me of being a religious person if you happen to be an atheist.

As for taxes, I'd do away with all income taxes (since a rich person can take a year off and make no money and legally be considered poor by the IRS's definition of poverty). I would replace that with a consumption tax. A lot of liberals don't like the idea of that because they argue the poor would be forced to pay taxes on many of their BASIC needs.

It was also proposed though that if a fair tax was employed, there is already a government agency (can't remember who) that keeps tabs on what it costs a person or family of x number of children to survive with the BASIC necessities of life. Every family could get coupons / food stamps / etc. equal to their family size cost quota. This would cover every person's BASIC needs for life. Any overage is out of their pocket (i.e. steak, caviar, sports cars, etc.).

So if a fair tax (consumption tax) were employed, then this whole debate would be moot and electronic downloads would be consumed by the consumer and then eligible for a tax. Either way, the government gets their money, but at least as consumers you have much more power to vote with your wallet. Just my two cents.


RE: Tax
By frobizzle on 8/13/2008 6:37:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The reason our forefathers created the concept of "Separation of Church and State" was to avoid another Church of England.

And what we have now is all that much improved? We have that loon in the White House that proclaims that all his actions are decided right from God's mouth to his ear.
quote:
Our forefathers had absolutely no problem with religion (of any kind) having any influence in government (hence the one-way street).

Wrong! You really need to stop using TV and the History Channel as your sole source of knowledge!
quote:
So if a fair tax (consumption tax) were employed, then this whole debate would be moot and electronic downloads would be consumed by the consumer and then eligible for a tax.

And the churches would be screaming to be exempt from that tax as well!


RE: Tax
By Yawgm0th on 8/12/2008 5:16:24 PM , Rating: 4
Scientology as an institution has repeatedly broken a wide variety of laws in the United States and many other countries on a level no other organization -- even organized crime -- can even dream of reaching. The Church of Scientology has consistently and incontrovertibly demonstrated that its sole purpose is to drug and brainwash people into loyal, unquestioning, and, most importantly, paying followers -- followers who will throw away their lives, break laws, and do whatever else is necessary for the Church. Scientologists over the decades have done almost everything imaginable to subvert American government in any way necessary to further their agenda -- an agenda which by no metric can be considered in the best interest for most Scientologists, for the United States, or for humanity.

Certainly, an immeasurable volume of similar offenses have been committed by members of all religions and by almost every religious institution. However, virtually all of those institutions have proven that (at least in modern times) they serve clear purposes beyond the collection of funds and conversion of non-followers. Virtually all religious institutions seek to help their members in some tangible way and oftentimes act as a force to help those who are not involved in their religion. Religions generally focus on a given way of life that is, from their perspective, the best for their followers. In general, most modern-day religious institutions help people more than hurt, despite their many, many flaws.

Scientology, conversely, has done nothing of the sort. Even the Papacy of yore cannot be reasonably described as being nearly as institutionally corrupt and inherently evil as the Church of Scientology. We're talking about a religious institution which advocated Crusades and holy wars which have killed countless millions over the centuries. Such an organization still has more legitimacy than the Church of Scientology.

Even perceived cults at least seek to further a given way of life -- one the members, leaders, and founders see as the correct way.

Scientology does not do this. Scientology exists for the sole purpose of obtaining money. The ridiculous way of life and story of creation that accompanies it happen to be what Hubbard went with and what effectively brainwashes would-be followers. The spread of Scientologist ideals serves entirely as a means to the Church of Scientology's end (money).

Most modern religious institutions with any legitimacy use their stories and donated money as a means to their ends, which is that religion's given way of life. Most cults do this, too. Scientology has it backwards, and for a reason.

Scientology is neither a cult nor a religion; it is a business. Hubbard made almost no effort to hide this. I fail to see why, in his absence, we should be so quick to forget this and revert to childish, pseudointellectual discussions -- such as the question of who the authority on morality is.


RE: Tax
By ImSpartacus on 8/12/2008 6:23:00 PM , Rating: 4
Are other religions that much different?

I constantly hear about priests doin it with little boys on the news. If they are willing to do something like that, then I can't imagine what else is possible.


RE: Tax
By Yawgm0th on 8/12/2008 7:58:28 PM , Rating: 2
As I stated, many members of religious institutions engage in questionable conduct. In fact, the sexual abuse of youngsters pales in comparison to the wholesale corruption that once was the Catholic Church. And certainly, one large shortcoming of the Catholic Church does not justify the wholesale attack on society for which Scientology is responsible.

But that's a minor anecdote that indicates a clear moral problem with the way the Catholic Church works -- not a complete an utter damnation of Catholic practices and ideals. The very nature of Scientology does just that to the Church of Scientology.

So yes, despite your anecdote, other religions are that much different.


RE: Tax
By TomZ on 8/12/2008 8:27:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But that's a minor anecdote that indicates a clear moral problem with the way the Catholic Church works -- not a complete an utter damnation of Catholic practices and ideals.

It's interesting how you surgically separate the two.

But I disagree with you - I think there is something wrong with "Catholic practices" when the leaders of that religion engage in widespread sexual abuse of childen - which is reprehensible by itself - and then on top of that by engaging in a systematic cover-up that permitted the abuse to go on for decades.

I can't even imagine learning "Catholic practices and ideals" from such an organization, sorry. They have no basis for any moral authority in my book.


RE: Tax
By Yawgm0th on 8/13/2008 1:57:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I can't even imagine learning "Catholic practices and ideals" from such an organization, sorry. They have no basis for any moral authority in my book.

I won't disagree with this statement. Certainly the Catholic leadership has a high degree of corruption. It is not a group I would be interested in spiritually.

But there is some legitimacy. Not all -- dare I say most Catholic priests, bishops, cardinals, Popes, and so on have their hearts in the right places and keep their hands off the wrong ones. Those who do follow them have not been drugged or hypnotized -- perhaps brainwashed from birth by their parents, but that is a parenting issue. Church members are not required to pay, and the Catholic Church and Catholics in general to plenty to help the unfortunate -- occasionally without trying to convert them.

Again, I do have plenty of disagreements with the Catholic Church, but I am not a Catholic. My point is that the sins of the Papacy over the last two millennia are not, in my opinion, as damning to the legitimacy of religion as the sins of Hubbard and friends in the last few decades. Catholicism is still a religion, if one that has been riddled with sin and corruption at high levels. Scientology isn't just riddled with sin and corruption at very high levels; it is inherently corrupt; it is sinful as an idea.


RE: Tax
By Myg on 8/13/2008 6:19:03 AM , Rating: 2
- "But I disagree with you - I think there is something wrong with "Catholic practices" when the leaders of that religion engage in widespread sexual abuse of childen"

practice - habit; custom
From: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/practice

Heres the Catholic practice (or anti-practice I suppose) that they are bound to (including the "leaders"):
(Directly from the "Catechism of the Catholic Church")
http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a6.htm#2337

"2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young."

"2356 Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them."

So, im curious how does that way of thinking perpetuate this whole "widespread sexual abuse of childen"

- "I can't even imagine learning "Catholic practices and ideals" from such an organization, sorry. They have no basis for any moral authority in my book."

Unfortunatly for you TomZ, they are the moral authority and have been since Christ, and if your writing from the western world this specifically applies to you; Do you think the west was founded upon the whims of the Greek and Roman philosophers or great leaders who hacked their way through countries for perceived glory?

No; it exists because of the unshaking foundation of the Church, which is a spiritual foundation, not a physical. The phsyical just exists to serve the spiritual; just like a body exists to serve the souls' desire for God.

The point being, the USA is founded upon reformer/protestant ideals, which only exists because the Catholic Church provided the foundation, Literature (They compiled, wrote and edited the Bible) and reason for it to exist (Internal corruption - Even if thats not a good reason).

Thus all "Christian" nations, even those that arnt aligned to the Catholic Church owe their source to it. Which means in essence, this whole idea of "Seperation of Church and State" is a governments desperate bid to distance themself from moral responsbility and their roots so they can act more "freely" to their whims.

Anyways, back to the topic at hand, no? :-)


RE: Tax
By frobizzle on 8/13/2008 10:38:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So, im curious how does that way of thinking perpetuate this whole "widespread sexual abuse of childen"

The Catholic Church has known about the transgressions of its clergy for centuries and instead of dealing with it swiftly and sternly, they have simply turned their backs on it and acted as though it never happens. This is called giving tacit approval for these actions and by lack of serious remediation, the Catholic Church is in this way approving these actions.

You may try to counter that by saying that there are numerous cases today where the church has taken action against one of theirs (usually just a slap on the wrist and bundling the priest off to some other part of the world) but that is only because there is more publicity being disclosed by victims today than ever before in the past. Do you think this child molestation is something new to the church in the last 50 years? I doubt it! It has undoubtedly been going on for centuries but as I previously stated, the church, in full knowledge of this simply swept it under the rug.
quote:
The point being, the USA is founded upon reformer/protestant ideals, which only exists because the Catholic Church provided the foundation

Exactly...the ideals of the church. In practice, the church has veered so far away from these ideals that they are barely recognized any longer!
quote:
Which means in essence, this whole idea of "Seperation of Church and State" is a governments desperate bid to distance themself from moral responsbility and their roots so they can act more "freely" to their whims.

I cannot believe anyone could make such a ludicrous statement such as this! By your definition, governments, in their bid to separate church and state to distance themselves from moral responsibility, should then repeal every law and regulation. Let the anarchy begin!


RE: Tax
By Myg on 8/13/2008 2:30:15 PM , Rating: 2
- "The Catholic Church has known about the transgressions of its clergy for centuries and instead of dealing with it swiftly and sternly, they have simply turned their backs on it and acted as though it never happens"

By that logic, the Church is approving every single sin and transgression (legal or no) by not condemning and sharing what is said in confessions.

Which also means that everyone in the United States who turns their back on the abortion issue is also accessories to genocide, just like the German citizens in the 1940s, no?

Its all about forgiveness and second chances really...

- "Exactly...the ideals of the church. In practice, the church has veered so far away from these ideals that they are barely recognized any longer!"

The ideals of the church havent changed at all, your welcome to look them up and show me otherwise.

- "I cannot believe anyone could make such a ludicrous statement such as this! By your definition, governments, in their bid to separate church and state to distance themselves from moral responsibility, should then repeal every law and regulation. Let the anarchy begin!"

Well, removing references to God in public schools is a good start. Lets see how many other laws they can change before the century is over, then discuss this further :-)


RE: Tax
By Guyver on 8/13/2008 2:42:18 PM , Rating: 2
No more "approving" than of a mother who has a son who is a murderer but doesn't turn him in.


RE: Tax
By frobizzle on 8/13/2008 6:02:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
By that logic, the Church is approving every single sin and transgression (legal or no) by not condemning and sharing what is said in confessions.

No sir, that is not what I stated. You are comparing apples and oranges here. We are spealing of members of the clergy, not the parishoners. You need to try to be a bit more concise in addressing my points.
quote:
Which also means that everyone in the United States who turns their back on the abortion issue is also accessories to genocide, just like the German citizens in the 1940s, no?

No. Just because your personal beliefs are that abortion is wrong doesn't necessarily mean that my beliefs should follow suit. If you want to address the abortion issue specifically, it is a matter of choice for the woman and no one else! If this runs contrary to the Catholic (or any) church, so what?
quote:
Well, removing references to God in public schools is a good start. Lets see how many other laws they can change before the century is over, then discuss this further :-)

If you and all of your neocon buddies are so distraught over this, the answer is simple. Send your kids to a Catholic Church run school! This country is, by history, a melting pot. There are people of every religion (or no religion at all) sending their kids to the public schools. Why should (for example) a Native American be force fed references to a religion he or she does not belong to, nor believes in?

If someone does not like a law and if there are enough like-minded folks, then, being as we live in a democratic republic, we have the option to change the law or if our elected official is contrary to that change, we can show our displeasure by voting them out of office. If the Catholic Church is calling the shots, that option is not available. I didn't vote for anyone in the hierarchy of that church and I damn sure don't want them dictating their version of morality to me.

And keep in mind, historically speaking, more people have been killed in the name of some deity than for any other reason


RE: Tax
By Guyver on 8/13/2008 11:22:31 AM , Rating: 2
Regardless of religion, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I don't know where the Catholic religion promoted those deviant acts. If it did, the worshipers of said religion were completely unaware of those practices.

The problem lies in that the Church out of embarrassment or having members being in the "Good Old Boys Club" tried to cover up the mess.

Heck, with your kind of logic why hasn't anyone tried questioning why the church has somehow attracted so many homosexual pedophiles? Or for that matter, if you want to truly talk about the evils of "The Church", why not extend it to those who happen to be homosexual as well? Bird of a feather flock together, no? I mean all those guys happen to be Catholic AND Homosexual. Why limit your argument to just Catholicism? Homosexuals should be just as guilty in your eyes with your kind of logic.


RE: Tax
By TomZ on 8/13/2008 12:42:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Regardless of religion, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Apology not accepted - try telling that to the child victims of sexual abuse through the years. I think we should be able to hold a church to a high moral standard, don't you? What is unreasonable about that?

But I think you're missing the point, which is that, how can the leadership of the Catholic church - priests, bishops, and the pope - claim any moral authority to be able to teach and lead their members when they have proved themselves completely devoid of reasonable morals.

You asked why the Catholic church has "somehow attracted so many homosexual pedophiles?" I'm not an expert, but I think the church created them. Sexuality is an unavoidable part of the human condition, and by continuing to deny priests the ability to marry, I think the church has in effect created, and will continue to have, the abuse problem. In other words, the root cause has not really been eliminated, in my view.

And for the record, homosexuality doesn't bother me at all. What bothers me is when children are involved. Children are in a diminshed capacity to make these types of judgements for themselves, and so they are easily victimized by an authority figure like a priest.


RE: Tax
By Guyver on 8/13/2008 2:36:47 PM , Rating: 2
LOL.

No apology was given.

The act done onto those children was unacceptable.

You just seem to come across as though it's a religious thing. I do not see it that way.

I personally think the Catholic Church took a monstrous black eye over how they handled the whole situation (and rightfully so). Hopefully they lost a lot of followers over this matter because they deserved it.

What I don't do is fault an entire religion for the actions of deviants. It's not something the religion promotes. However, I wouldn't say covering it up is promoting it either... BUT they should reap the consequences of such acts if they turn a blind eye to what one of their own had done to an innocent child.

I think castration, life imprisonment, being listed as a sex offender and losing all rights to preach would be great for starters. But the Church didn't do that. They tried covering it up and helped pay for legal representation for their guilty that they got from tax-free offerings. And for that, the individuals running "the Church" should be held responsible (even if they didn't commit the act themselves).

As for the Church "causing" homosexuality, surely you don't believe such a thing. That's too funny. The point being is if you want to label those specific "Catholics" as pedophiles, then we should use every profiling adjective we can so as to avoid another atrocity. They happen to be homosexual as well. So let's be crystal clear. It was homosexuals. But more specifically Catholic homosexuals. If you want to get to the root of the matter, you want to look at everything they have in common.

This is merely an extension of your logic. And just like I wouldn't fault every Catholic, I wouldn't fault all homosexuals of this crime either.


RE: Tax
By TomZ on 8/13/2008 3:56:31 PM , Rating: 2
You need to work on your reading comprehension.

First of all, I am not faulting the religion; I am faulting the church, specifically its leaders. That is why I specifically called out "priests, bishops, and the pope." I also said they are unsuitable moral leaders. Clear?

I didn't say that the church caused homosexuality. I said that the church caused the abuse. I don't frankly differentiate or care whether it was homosexual or heterosexual pedophelia - that's your hang-up, not mine. Clear?

I didn't say the church "promoted" the abuse. I said that the church possibly caused it in the first place (which is not important for this discussion), but then they facilitated it for decades by covering it up instead of rooting it out. This caused the scale of the abuse to become widespread and for a large number of victims to be affected. I think we agree on this point.
quote:
This is merely an extension of your logic. And just like I wouldn't fault every Catholic, I wouldn't fault all homosexuals of this crime either.

You failed to understand my logic or my post. Read it again and try to understand. I am faulting the leadership of the church, period.


RE: Tax
By Guyver on 8/13/2008 4:01:39 PM , Rating: 2
Geez! Talk about reading comprehension. I just told you the homosexual thing was an extension of your logic. LOL.

Great, so we can agree that it was individuals responsible for said acts and their leaders (even though you felt I was somehow making an apology). LOL. Got it.

No, I don't have a hang up with homosexual Catholics. LOL. I was extending what appeared to by your logic.


RE: Tax
By Guyver on 8/13/2008 4:20:13 PM , Rating: 2
To shed some light on your lack of understanding, I too was faulting individuals of the Catholic church, but you felt my explanation was an apology of sorts.

You also do not seem to understand what should have otherwise been a rhetorical question pertaining to the Catholic Church attracting homosexuals. LOL. And for this I have a hang up? :)

Lastly, an extension of your logic is not quoting you. Nor is it when I say "seems" or "appears". What what EXACTLY did I accuse you of saying?


RE: Tax
By frobizzle on 8/13/2008 6:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
OMG! I never thought the day would come that I would agree with TomZ! LOL!


RE: Tax
By Guyver on 8/13/2008 11:14:38 AM , Rating: 2
The mistake you make is you are confusing deviant behavior of a Catholic priest / individual which is not promoted / condoned by the religion to that of what the other poster describes as Scientology's ulterior motive.

There is no moral equivalency.


RE: Tax
By frobizzle on 8/14/2008 8:39:58 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The mistake you make is you are confusing deviant behavior of a Catholic priest / individual which is not promoted / condoned by the religion to that of what the other poster describes as Scientology's ulterior motive.

But it is condoned via tacit approval! The church was aware of it and unless pressured did nothing, zero, nada about it.


RE: Tax
By althaz on 8/13/2008 11:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, a lot.

A priest is not the church. That doesn't make one's actions less despicable, but you can't blame the Catholic Church for the behaviour of one member any more than you can blame the entire United States of America for the guy in the ski mask that robbed the local 7-Eleven (btw, anybody know why it's called that?).

That's not to say people won't still cast blame where it doesn't belong, because they will, but they shouldn't.

You can certainly say the issue was handled horribly by the Church and that is their fault (were I in charge I'd require all priests to be citizens of The Vatican (legally a country I believe) so that they could be tried and convicted in court and then executed).


RE: Tax
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 8/12/2008 11:02:19 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Religion I think should be tax exempt. Need to remove Scientology as a listed religion though. It's not. In every other country in the world, its listed as a cult.


And some people think Christianity is a cult, so what's the difference -- the fact that more people practice it? I agree, Scientology is pretty far out there and I think it's pretty bizarre, but there are some aspects of Christianity that are also a bit "out there".

Granted, Christianity is more believable than "thetans", aliens, and whatever else Scientologists believe in, but every "religion" has its "You've got to be kidding me" aspects.


RE: Tax
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/12/2008 11:24:45 AM , Rating: 5
Priest Maxi: Yes, I have returned with the Holy Document of Vatican Law, so can we PLEASE, change it now to say, "It's NOT okay to have sex with boys"?
Italian Cardinal: Wait wait-a, the pope-a wants-a to say something. The pope-a says we shall ask the highest source.
Priest Maxi: Oh my.
Italian Cardinal: The holy one! Behold the great Queen Spider!
The Clergy: Hail Queen Spider!
Priest Maxi: Queen spider?


RE: Tax
By FITCamaro on 8/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: Tax
By UppityMatt on 8/12/2008 2:32:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Christianity isn't based around charging people for services. Nor is any other major world religion. Scientology is. It's a business. Not a religion.


Are you serious? All Religions are a Business. I know some churches around me who actually sit you down when you join their church and evaluate your income to decide how much you should contribute. I'm sorry but you are totally wrong and i say tax them all.


RE: Tax
By Myg on 8/13/2008 2:36:37 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, Ive been to tons of different Churches and never had that ever happen, nor even heard of it.

Closest I got was quite a forceful old lady teaching me about one of the Saints who was on the Stained glass :-)

I suppose the US was asking for this by allowing "Religion" to become a legal document.


RE: Tax
By BansheeX on 8/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: Tax
By sviola on 8/12/2008 2:41:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yup...selling a place in heaven is by far the most lucrative business in history...


RE: Tax
By PWNettle on 8/12/2008 4:04:56 PM , Rating: 2
Religions are businesses. Tax them. Or as Zappa said, "Tax the churches, tax the f#$@ out of churches."

Religions are man made fantasies that pull in big money - just another form of entertainment. Tax them.

It'd be nice if the rich and corporations were taxed fairly too instead of having lots of escapes or exemptions.

Anyways.

It's only a matter of time til governments tax digital purchases the same way they tax most all other purchases - they're just slow to get a digital clue.

It's probably better for them to tax via sales (ie, people buying luxury items or otherwise consuming) rather than tax EVERYONE via higher income taxes.


RE: Tax
By jeff834 on 8/12/2008 10:44:51 PM , Rating: 3
You made the simple and common mistake of assuming organized religions aren't scams. You can say Scientology is a cult, but that doesn't mean Christianity isn't. Or Judaism. Or Islam. I think Scientologists are crazy, but I think all those other people are just as crazy so tax the hell out of them, and in the mean time make drugs and prostitution legal and tax the hell out of those too.


RE: Tax
By lebe0024 on 8/12/2008 11:03:07 AM , Rating: 2
Are you seriously talking about taxing financial donations to charity? A lot of money is given to good charities who do a LOT of good for the country and the world (much more than governments). Besides, the workers of those organizations do actually pay income tax for their donation-fed salaries.

I've heard a lot of ideas for tax - some good and some bad, but that's the first time I've every heard someone suggest that!


RE: Tax
By rollakid on 8/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: Tax
By TomZ on 8/12/2008 11:26:24 AM , Rating: 5
What are you talking about - all Apple products already carry the "Jobs Tax" - are you not familiar with that?


RE: Tax
By rollakid on 8/12/2008 8:02:40 PM , Rating: 3
I'm referring to it as a religion.


RE: Tax
By cornelius785 on 8/12/2008 11:52:49 AM , Rating: 2
Taxing Religious institutions (aside from scientology) or non-profit organizations could EASILY send many under. The benefit of increased revenue from taxing these organization does not out weigh what many of these organization provide to people and the community. I don't think you understand what some non-profit and Religious institution actaully do in terms of giving back to people and the community. I sure don't have to look far to see the effects in my life or in my community from those organizations.

I wouldn't be surprised if the money to benefits out is higher with Religious institutions and non-profits compared to the government, but that is only looking at who has 'more stuff' (cars, TVs, land, individually owned property, private spending money) of say politicians compared to people 'employed' by the church (or other organizations). I say 'employed' loosely because many donate time and expect no money in return.


RE: Tax
By TheSpaniard on 8/12/2008 12:21:07 PM , Rating: 2
You obviously have never been to Florida...

Queen Mary Mother of the Universe in Orlando? If that isn't a gross waste of money I don't know what is. And even in lesser areas of Miami: St. Kevin's has outdoor speakers installed all around that they can give mass in an portion of their compound and let entering people know what portion of the mass they are in.


RE: Tax
By FITCamaro on 8/12/08, Rating: 0
RE: Tax
By Alexstarfire on 8/13/2008 1:18:18 AM , Rating: 2
He didn't say tax the hell out of them. I don't think he intends to tax 50% of what they bring in.


RE: Tax
By onwisconsin on 8/12/2008 12:27:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Government is just getting greedy


I will say this...if we as a country slip it will be blamed for a collective greed...especially in gov't-whether at the local level or Federal.

I wouldn't tax non-profit organizations because they would struggle as many are already - and it wouldn't help too much IMO (unless you have statistics supporting your idea not from an anti-tax or "shirk government to (the size) that you can drain it down a shower" as one of the WI state congressmen once said).

Sadly, if we want all the Medicare, medicade(?), defense, etc, we have to pay for it . And Bush's tax cuts aren't helping at all...

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: I'm not supporting raising taxes or more stupid taxes


RE: Tax
By theapparition on 8/12/2008 10:10:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Government is just getting greedy

In all fairness........this is, and always has been, a current law. This isn't something new, you've always been legally obligated to pay tax for online purchases. This is not the government getting greedy. Rather, it's the states implementing a system for collecting tax on out of state purchases.
Another way of saying it......It's not that you never had to pay tax before (you did), but the states didn't know how to collect and regulate it.

FYI,
Every single state income tax form includes a line for tax due for out of state purchases. States that don't have a income tax system still have paperwork that you're legally required to file. This is not something new, just that they're going to enforce it.


In Europe we've paid for over a decade
By Nyu on 8/12/2008 2:24:23 PM , Rating: 2
In Europe we've been paying for over a decade for anything digital, including web hosting, MMO's subscription, and any online services, ranging 16-25% over the price.




RE: In Europe we've paid for over a decade
By bodar on 8/12/2008 3:30:32 PM , Rating: 2
25%??? Wow, sounds fun. Please tell me there's an upside to all that tax?


RE: In Europe we've paid for over a decade
By Pirks on 8/12/2008 4:15:43 PM , Rating: 2
I guess it's mostly wasted on welfare & sh1t like that, but at least in Germany they spend their uberhigh taxes on the highways, hence Germany is the only country in the world that has NO SPEED LIMIT on its highways. I wish the US and Soviet Canada were spending taxes as smart as Germans do. Imagine how much faster your could go between cities in North America if our (Canadian and US) governments were not so dumb.


RE: In Europe we've paid for over a decade
By djc208 on 8/12/2008 5:46:45 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, that's exactly what I want. Half the population trying to see where the airodynamic limits of their cars are while the other half drive like there are no other cars on the road.

And let's not forget the Ms. Hilton wanna-be in the next lane driving her Escalade doing 110 mph while steering with her knees because she's texting her BFF while trying to find a Starbucks using OnStar.

Sounds great but no thanks.


RE: In Europe we've paid for over a decade
By Pirks on 8/12/2008 5:54:05 PM , Rating: 2
Germans must be all sh1tting their pants while driving, according to you :))) Soo funny, go on!


By Nyu on 8/12/2008 7:54:35 PM , Rating: 2
I drove a BMW at ~220 KM/h (~137 mph) in Germany, and I was still being passed on by other cars pretty fast.. that was scary. Not all the highways are limit-free though, and the condition of the roads is less than desirable.

French highways instead are awesome, but limited to 130 KM/h


By djc208 on 8/13/2008 6:20:54 AM , Rating: 2
They have completely different driving habbits than most Americans. They have also grown up with this capability and probably have some respect for it. I don't think most people realize how little reaction time you have, or how well maintained a vehicle has to be to do a steady cruise at 100 mph.

Most full size trucks and SUVs in the US are speed limited to 98 mph, and we know how many of them are out there. Tractor trailers would have a hard time maintaining these speeds, let alone the thought of them actually having an accident at that speed.

In many areas, just like Germany, the traffic loads are getting so high that even normal speeds are getting tough to maintain. What good is no speed limit on I-95 when the traffic is so high most of the time you can't do 65?


RE: In Europe we've paid for over a decade
By TomZ on 8/12/2008 8:34:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yea, that's exactly what I want. Half the population trying to see where the airodynamic limits of their cars are while the other half drive like there are no other cars on the road.

I agree, I would never want high or eliminated speed limits in the US. It's not that American drivers are dumb, but I do think they are less skilled, and I also think that Americans in general don't pay much attention when they are driving. We're always driving and doing something else at the same time.

Compare that to in Germany where you are typically driving on either narrow, winding rural roads or high-speed expressways - there you really do have to pay attention, and a higher level of skill does seem to be required.


By jeff834 on 8/12/2008 10:54:34 PM , Rating: 2
Its a scary prospect but think of it in terms of survival of the fittest. Just stay off the road a few years until the idiots all kill themselves/each other and it would be like a giant leap forward in urban/suburban evolution.


RE: In Europe we've paid for over a decade
By Scrogneugneu on 8/12/2008 7:32:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Germany they spend their uberhigh taxes on the highways, hence Germany is the only country in the world that has NO SPEED LIMIT on its highways.


I like your logic.

I never quite made the link between spending on an highway and the speed limit. Until now.


RE: In Europe we've paid for over a decade
By Pirks on 8/12/2008 10:04:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I like your logic
I like that you like my logic. As Jules would say "Check out big brain on Brad! You're smart mo#erfuc#er" :P
quote:
I never quite made the link between spending on an highway and the speed limit
Oh, that one is pretty simple, let me explain.

In order to get high quality pavement and borders/lights and other hardware necessary for smooth and safe road capable of withstanding unlimited speed BMWs and stuff one has to invest a lot.

Take commie red Canada as an example. Recently we got multiple collisions on Patullo bridge in Vancouver because greedy fcking commies in provincial government didn't invest in proper intra-lane concrete separation borders on said bridge. Commies in the government simply ignored many complaints about narrow lines and dangerous driving conditions on this "bridge of death".

There you go, man. The more you invest in the roads - the higher is the speed limit. Easy to grasp, eh?


RE: In Europe we've paid for over a decade
By Scrogneugneu on 8/12/2008 11:41:52 PM , Rating: 2
Wait, are you actually arguing that a well-made road will sustain a car moving over 200km/h safely ?

There I was, thinking that the car capacities and the driving itself were in fact affecting the car control. Silly me, I should have known, it was all the road.

If only we all spent money on our roads, we'd be able to roll at incredible speeds, without ever crashing. Gotta wonder why nobody thought about it before, eh?


By Pirks on 8/13/2008 9:02:55 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like Germans do think that well-made road can sustain cars without any speed limits. Yes, you have to know how to drive, but noone is forcing you to drive 150 mph. Drive 60 mph if you are afraid, and let experienced drivers to drive fast. Did you you know that highways have several lanes, meaning there's no need for EVERYBODY to fly like a BMW rocket?

It's like Windows vs Mac debate. Macs are speed limited and Windows is not, so Windows gives you more freedom than Mac, but with this freedom comes responsibility.

I'm all for choosing my own speed with no fcking government watching and telling me what I should do. If you wanna be babysitted like you are now - no problem - slow speed limited North American roads and speed limited Macs are at your service, good luck.


RE: In Europe we've paid for over a decade
By Alexstarfire on 8/13/2008 1:21:44 AM , Rating: 2
I really hope you are joking. Else....... I hope you're sterile.


By Pirks on 8/13/2008 6:08:14 PM , Rating: 2
After reading your post I decided that having one son is not enough, I gonna make more now :P


In Soviet Canada...
By mmntech on 8/12/2008 1:04:15 PM , Rating: 3
Here in Canada, they already charge provincial and federal sales taxes on digital downloads. I know everything I've bought off the Playstation Store has PST added to it. Here in Ontario, total tax works out to be 13%. The government has to get their cut, because you know the bureaucrats don't get paid enough to do nothing already. lol.




RE: In Soviet Canada...
By aos007 on 8/12/2008 2:12:15 PM , Rating: 2
We sure do pay taxes on online sales in Canada. But I disagree with your comment and with these articles. Seriously now, the law in pretty much any country says that if you sell something, you have to pay sales tax on it. No ifs, no buts, it's clear and simple. YOU PAY SALES TAX ON ANY SALE. Why on Earth do people believe that Internet is some extra special place that should be exempt? I know your congress passed laws - that kept being extended several times - to exempt Internet sales from sales tax for the sake of its development, but that's what it is, a time limited exemption. If you don't like paying sales taxes then vote for someone who's going to reduce or eliminate them or something. Saying that *Internet* is somehow exempt in this day and age is nothing but whining. In fact it is discrimination against other types of sales, giving it unfair advantage which today just isn't needed and hasn't been needed for a long time.

There is a nice argument there however, one I haven't heard before. Indeed online downloads do benefit the environment and if someone wants to give them an exception because of that, that's another story. Of course, then the law should be worded in such way, so that online downloads are not exempt because they are online downloads but because they are "green" - and likewise, anything else with similar effect should be exempt as well.

You guys already have the lowest prices in the world and now you're whining about not being able to dodge taxes - WHICH YOU SHOULD PAY - by buying online? Unbelievable.


RE: In Soviet Canada...
By Spuke on 8/12/2008 3:03:37 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
You guys already have the lowest prices in the world and now you're whining about not being able to dodge taxes - WHICH YOU SHOULD PAY - by buying online? Unbelievable.
The reason why things are cheap here is because we DON'T have high taxes on everything. And we would like to keep it that way. You can call it what you want, but give me my cheap products!!


RE: In Soviet Canada...
By Pirks on 8/12/2008 3:51:03 PM , Rating: 1
yeah right, I'm too fed up with modafokin commies in red ottawa, screw these red fcks!!!! they peddle their useless fcking "free" healthcare but they shoud shut it fcking down and stop stealin' money from me. I hate red commie canadian fat rats in ottawa, you guys in the US don't even realize how lucky you are - we don't have ANYTHING close to your newegg goodness in commie canada. lucky rich tax-free US bastards :( if they just cancelled that stupid GST that lucky US guys DON'T have :( and don't even get me started on car prices - it's about $20000 + tax for new honda accord in the US and same accord is freakin $25000 + DOUBLE tax (GST + PST) in fckin red commie canada :( AND ALL THIS is while exchange rate was close to 1:1 for god knows how long!!!! this is freakin horrible, guys!


RE: In Soviet Canada...
By Alexstarfire on 8/13/2008 1:26:32 AM , Rating: 2
Well, if we trimmed down our government... we really wouldn't need more taxes. I don't know of too many jobs where you'd be allowed to do a little work and get paid big bucks. And I am excluding jobs that require TONS of education as you don't really need much education to understand politics or economy. If I did as much work as a lot of government officials... I'd be fired pretty quick. I'm not saying that all government officials are lazy and/or don't do work.... but plenty of them do. And they should be fired.

I can't even believe for the amount of crap that tax payers pay for. It's just ridiculous.


RE: In Soviet Canada...
By Hoser McMoose on 8/13/2008 12:31:04 AM , Rating: 2
The rule in Canada is that everyone pays GST/HST while PST is only charged when the vendor is operating out of the same Province as you.

For example, if a company operates out of Ontario then Ontario residents pay both GST and PST (13%). BC residents, on the other hand, pay only GST (5%). NL, NB and NS residents pay HST (13%). Of course GST/HST are charged on slightly different things than PST and there are a few exceptions here and there, but that's the basic gist of things.

Personally I think this is actually a reasonably good thing, or at least less bad than just about any other kind of tax. The best taxes are as simple as possible and broad based. Sales taxes (particularly the HST) are also about the best type of taxes in that they have the least detrimental effects on the economy per dollar of government revenue generated.

Nobody likes paying taxes, but we all like having the service that are paid for through our taxes (well, at least most of us like most of them) and we need to pay for these somehow. As far as taxes go, taxes on on-line purchases are MUCH better than, for example, corporate or personal income taxes, capital gains taxes and whatnot.


Nexus is Important
By TomZ on 8/12/2008 10:42:05 AM , Rating: 4
Just one aspect of why the "nexus" concept is important is illustrated by the following.

Suppose I own a business and am selling (legal) downloads of some form across the Internet. If I have to become a tax collection agent for each of the 50 states (plus potentially many more counties and cities), each with its own rules and regulations, then I am basically out of business.

In other words, the cost of adminstration not only exceeds the value of the tax revenue it potentially produces, but it also probably exceeds the available margin for the products sold.

The net effect of this would be all but the largest sellers would not be able to do business on the Internet. That wipes out competition and leaves the market only for the really big players who have enough revenue so they can hire a staff to keep up with all the state and local tax regulations.

Having no taxes on Internet purchases is not a ploy on the part of "greedy" companies; instead, it is absolutely required to protect Internet e-commerce from being destroyed by local taxing authorites.




RE: Nexus is Important
By Oregonian2 on 8/12/2008 1:08:42 PM , Rating: 2
No, won't have to "do" sales tax for all 50 states, here in Oregon we have no sales tax at all. I think there's one or two other states that don't either. Also, for that reason, this thread is somewhat moot for us (don't fret, they make it up in other ways!).


RE: Nexus is Important
By radializer on 8/13/2008 2:43:10 PM , Rating: 2
On those lines of thought ... if the "nexus" requirement is upheld consistently by the Supreme Court and all the state attempts to block it fail - it may then send the signal to a lot of the online distributors to move their physical locations to states like Oregon, which have no sales tax at all.

I wonder if the aggressive taxation stance taken by the states pushing for an "online tax" will actually drive businesses away and hurt those states economically in the long run?


RE: Nexus is Important
By walk2k on 8/12/2008 3:14:47 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, you would need an army of accountants to pay your sales tax. It's already ridiculous, I run a small construction company in CA and I have to pay sales taxes to at least 7-8 different jurisdictions every month. Not only do some counties have sales tax but some CITIES have them. Can you imagine the nightmare of having to figure out the exact tax rate for every city and podunk town in the US and pay the right taxes to the right place?

Bottom line though I don't see why you would have to pay sales tax on a download from i.e. Amazon if you don't have to pay sales tax on the same album if you bought it on CD and had it shipped via UPS (which you don't, unless they have a business presence in your state).


Spoofing the IP address.
By Mitch101 on 8/12/2008 12:10:45 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like I will be spoofing an international IP address or get my downloads over sees then or just start my own personal religion to be tax exempt.

This almost sounds like the episode of south park with the candians. "Yea send us some of that internet money"

Sure does outline which states have the most corrupt politicians or just don't understand the internet. Timing couldn't be better either with the economic downturn and people complaining about being overtaxed. Give the people another tax why don't you. The problem being were taxed even more today than we were years ago and yet it doesn't seem to be solving any of the govt financial issues on spending does it?

BTW I believe download systems like steam deserve a green tax exemption for not producing waste like boxes and cd's that need to be trucked to various locations. How about a carbon exemption instead of a tax guys?




RE: Spoofing the IP address.
By FITCamaro on 8/12/2008 1:57:35 PM , Rating: 1
How would spoofing your IP address help you avoid paying this tax? It's based off your billing address. Not your IP address.


RE: Spoofing the IP address.
By Mitch101 on 8/12/2008 4:52:54 PM , Rating: 3
Hey Fit.

Its a download no need to have a legitimate address because there is no mailing of a product. Just use a pay service like paypal/worldpay with an international address.


RE: Spoofing the IP address.
By Yawgm0th on 8/12/2008 8:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
Paypal. Overseas bank account. Ship to an out-of-state address, an address that isn't yours, or a P.O. Box under an alias for smaller items.

There are many ways around this.

At best, it will drive down online sales to consumers in the states that have this. State governments that do this will get less money and consumers as well as businesses will get hurt.


RE: Spoofing the IP address.
By Yawgm0th on 8/12/2008 8:09:26 PM , Rating: 2
By "spoofing an international IP address", I assume you mean you'll use an overseas proxy to hide your real location.

Regardless, this is indeed an easy tax to circumvent, should it come to pass. Taxing like this is ridiculous. It hurts businesses and consumers. If anything, there should be a tax exemption as you said.

Using the Internet as distribution means no shipping, no wasted materials of any kind, and it helps the economy. It's better to have more jobs for IT professionals than truck drivers.

It's sad that much government policy in this country revolves around taxation as a solution. Perhaps it is if you want to discourage something or if government has to pay for it in some way. Online downloads fall under neither of those categories and should not be subject to arbitrary taxes by states.


Will they tax torrents?
By mattclary on 8/12/2008 12:49:09 PM , Rating: 3
"Hey, here's an idea! Lets add to the cost of downloads to give further incentive to pirate!"




RE: Will they tax torrents?
By BigPeen on 8/12/2008 2:00:01 PM , Rating: 3
Ha ha, so true. This makes me more and more inclined to torrent things.


curious cat says;
By vapore0n on 8/12/2008 12:15:31 PM , Rating: 5
So piracy now includes Tax Evasion?

wow




The nexus thing, if it holds...
By Motoman on 8/12/2008 11:19:26 AM , Rating: 2
...provides an incentive for a business to NOT set up shop in any state other than the one they originate in - and possibly to close offices/locations in multiple states in order to appeal to the largest audience.

Any time you create an incentive for a business to not open new offices and create new jobs is a tragedy. This nexus thing, if it stands, will also provide a significant boost to the "little guy" who only has operations physically in one state...who then can sell tax-free to the 49 other states. While, as a little guy, I kind of like that idea, it's not a fair practice for the government to enact. Nor is taxing inter-state commerce.

Let's say that Amazon.com has offices/locations in 20 states (I don't know if they do or not)...now they have to charge tax in those 20 states, and they begin to lose revenue to other online vendors without physical locations in those states. At some point, Amazon will feel compelled to close offices in 19 states in order to remain competitive in those markets. So how many jobs did that cost those 19 states? Reckon the tax income they got (for a while) makes up for that?

In an environment like that, the most compelling business model will be to have a physical location in the state which has the lowest online tax rate. So, say New Hampshire decides to lead the pack and either doesn't enact an online tax, or enacts the smallest one. Savvy businesses will establish themselves physically in NH, and that will be a big boon to NH - and a detriment to all other states. Naturally, not every new business will want to be in NH, but they certainly would have an unfair advantage.

In fact, states could start using that as a competitive lever against each other trying to woo new businesses/jobs to come to their states...that would be deliciously ironic, and somehow unavoidable if they start taxing online sales.

Anyway, in summary I declare all to be asshats and bid you good day.




Wrong company?
By Oregonian2 on 8/12/2008 1:03:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So eBay, which is Seattle based and has no offices in California, could not be taxed in the state.


I assume it was Amazon that was meant. I think eBay is based in California (and Amazon is indeed Seattle or Seattle area based).




What the hell
By Polynikes on 8/12/2008 2:16:45 PM , Rating: 2
Does the Tea Act ring a bell?




Sounds about right
By djc208 on 8/12/2008 4:25:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Dan Noble, the administrator of the excise tax division for the Wyoming Department of Revenue, says that states could tax anyways, that the laws are just a formality, in effect.


He might be the most honest tax man ever.

Wonder how many of the taxes we pay are illegal in some form or another? Of course since the people paid by the taxes get to change the laws and decide on their legality it's probably not a fight you could win.




State sales tax
By ummduh on 8/12/2008 4:57:14 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know if this is true everywhere, but in WI you are in fact required to pay state sales tax on any online purchase.
You're required to claim any and all online tax-free purchases at the end of the year on your tax form and pay state sales tax on that.
Does anyone ever do it? Probably not. But technically you ARE supposed to.




Idiot Politicians
By phxfreddy on 8/12/2008 5:48:03 PM , Rating: 2
All they know how to do is take.

I have not seen one of them since Reagan that had any value whatsoever. They are to a man cowardly about reelection and show no creativity.

I pray on bended knees someday we will create a form of democracy that runs on computers to tally votes on issues one by one.

For Example: Those who wish a program to be instantiated such as "save the whales" can automatically have the tax for the program withheld from their paycheck. Those who do not will not be taxed for that issue.

Those who use a government service pays a fee. Those who do not use the service do not pay the fee.

At some point we must and will go to a web 2.0 model of volunteer government.

Then all these stupid government programs ...most of which are merely instituted to distribute baksheesh to political cronies can be killed off. In this manner we can defund these useless polical fungi that suck the life out of our economy and our creativity by secondary effect.




By roadrun777 on 8/13/2008 5:09:46 PM , Rating: 2
A city bleeds the tax funds dry to pay for the mayors personal golf course so they have a meeting to figure out how to tax more out of the citizens, since the mayor needs a new Olympic swimming pool adorned with gold swirled marble. So they come up with a plan. Tear up chunks of sidewalk and post notices at each gap saying that anyone who steps on the grass will be fined $150. They tear up enough chunks so that no one can make it to the next sidewalk without running and jumping. Then further down the sidewalk a very small print sign reads "No running and/or jumping by decree of city ordinance blah blah blah. Fine of 500$"

I don't understand why they don't just declare martial law and enslave everyone. It's that way now in practice but the cowardice of the ruling minority never ceases to amaze me. You are a gear in a machine designed to line the pockets of a very small group of people, and if you think otherwise your a terrorist. HA! You say you want freedom for your children? No chance! They will clock in just like everyone else. You will either "clock in" in our concentration camps where we house the mentally ill and anyone who circumvents our "money flow" system, or you will do time in one our corporations, take your pick. And don't ever think of making or creating anything that has the potential to change the flow of money or threaten the power of self appointed gods of mankind. If you do they will destroy it by enslavement, just like everything else. Welcome to Earth.
Now take a number so we can tax you.

"This country needs some good bloodshed. I think we are about due for another revolution. The last one turned out well." "Off with there heads!" I love that quote. I think it's about time for a reversal of fortune.




Greetings Earth Dwellers
By roadrun777 on 8/13/2008 5:56:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"Mr. Kranz is fearful, though, that for these small victories there will be many defeats in the days ahead. Wyoming and Washington are both reviewing their tax policies in upcoming months. He adds, "Massachusetts has a draft bill circulating around. The numbers are growing -- 17 states, plus the District of Columbia, tax digital downloads now, or just over a third of the nation's states. Among these are Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Some states like Washington are considering upping taxes as well. The Tennessee law governs "the retail sale, lease, licensing, or use of specified digital products transferred to or accessed by subscribers or consumers" while the Nebraska law covers "sales of digital audio works (music), digital audiovisual works (movies, music videos, TV shows), and digital books". Temporarily, some companies like eBay or Amazon may be able to hide behind the concept of nexus, but others like Apple, which has a store in virtually every state, have nowhere to turn. As the online digital content industry continues to grow the issue is likely to grow as well."


Here is the problem with all of this. The states will eventually ignore all constitutions and individual rights to implement taxation of everything bought and sold, whether tangible or intangible. If the states can determine that anything that is represented as 0's or 1's can be taxed. Then you are opening the way for other states to tax traffic regardless of whether someone has already paid tax in another state for the same content; As each sate does not have to honor another sates law regarding sales tax. A "Digital Product" is anything that is in the format of 1's and 0's. Which means that even web sites would be considered taxable and your cat videos where you sang a song are definitely taxable. So how do companies circumvent this? The companies will just move out of the National borders taking their revenue and jobs with them. How can a state legally monitor a transaction in another country? Easy, they take away all your individual rights, your bank account and credit records become their property. Another way, which looks like it is happening now, is the US becomes more like China and closes off it's internet to foreign countries. States lock all communications down and international commerce comes to an end, even being outlawed. Then the people move away because the giant tick has sucked the blood out of it's host (the people of the US) to the point of crashing the economy, and another chapter in history of human kind unfolds the same way it always has. It's inevitable just look at history. Greed and corruption always overtake the ruling class and their stupidity destroys a thriving living economy. The monuments of your nation become curious oddities to be studied by future generations.




“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs














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