Sunday, April 26, 2009

No Tax on the Internet...in Israel

This morning in Israel, details of the new government budget and tax plan for 2009 and 2010 started to emerge -- along with a wildfire rumor that the government would start taxing the internet, with the following rates:
15 agorot (3.6 cents) per email

9 agorot (2.1 cents) in addition to the above, if the email contains an attachment

11 agorot (2.7 cents) for surfing the web, per downloaded megabyte)
and more...

Since this email flew around the web so quickly and attracted a lot of attention today in Israel -- in a rare move, the Bank of Israel/Ministry of Finance made an official announcement that there would be no tax on the internet.

Globes in (translated from the Hebrew) stated:
Due to the wave of rumors flooding the internet, the Treasury and tax authority hereby announce conclusively that there is no intention, nor was there any intention to levy any sort of tax whatsoever on internet services.
לגל שמועות המופץ ברשת האינטרנט, מודיעים במשרד האוצר ורשות המסים באופן חד משמעי כי אין ולא היתה כל כוונה לגבות מס כלשהוא על שירותי אינטרנט מכל סוג שהוא", נמסר מהאוצר.

Its funny how Israel's rumor mill follows the US almost to a carbon copy. The joker who sent out the email was inspired by the infamous internet tax bill from the United States (which was also a hoax) -- and claimed the US congress was planning on implementing a 5 cent surcharge per email.

It was so serious 9 years ago, that the US House of Representatives even passed a law, prohibiting the FCC from attempting to "set and impose fees on the internet."

Dateline: 05/16/00

By a voice vote, the U.S. House of Representatives today approved H.R. 1291, the Internet Access Charge Prohibition Act of 1999. The bill blocks the Federal Communications Commission from attempting to set and impose fees for accessing the Internet and should end forever the infamous myth of bill 602P and Congressman Tony Schnell.

"Notwithstanding subsection (b)(4) or (d) or any other provision of this section, the Commission shall not impose on any interactive computer service (as such term is defined in section 230(e)) or other information service provider any access charge for the support of universal service that is based on a measure of the time that telecommunications services are used in the provision of such interactive computer service or information service." -- From H.R. 1291 - Internet Access Charge Prohibition Act of 1999

The bill comes partially in response to a bogus email message circulated for at least a year warning Internet users of a fictitious bill "602P" by a fictitious Congressman named Tony Schnell creating a monthly surcharge on Internet access.

Speaking in debate on the H.R. 1291 -- the real bill -- Michigan Democrat John Dingell stated, "I only hope that the passage of H.R. 1291 will finally extinguish this cybermyth once and for all." (US Government Info)

Never a dull moment here...

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

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