EU considers taxing emails and SMSs

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Random_Task, May 26, 2006.

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    BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union lawmakers are investigating a proposed tax on emails and mobile phone text messages as a way to fund the 25-member bloc in the future.

    A European Parliament working group is reviewing the idea, tabled by Alain Lamassoure, a prominent French MEP and member of the centre-right European People's Party, the assembly's largest group.

    Lamassoure, a member of Jacques Chirac's UMP party, is proposing to add a tax of around 1.5 cents (0.8 pence) on text or SMS messages and a 0.00001 cent levy on every email sent.

    "This is peanuts, but given the billions of transactions every day, this could still raise an immense income," he said.

    Currently the EU budget is funded through a combination of import duties, value added tax revenues and direct contributions from member states -- the so-called "Gross National Income resource", which is calculated according to wealth.

    However, following a year-long battle over the current seven-year budget, agreed last December, it was decided that the way in which the EU is funded should be changed, with new proposals expected by 2008/2009.

    A single "EU tax" has found support among many of the 25 EU governments, MEP's and the European Commission, the EU's executive arm. Other ideas include a tax on airline tickets and an extra levy on oil companies.

    In Italy, the concept of a tax on texting was floated in the past, as a way to help offset the country's huge deficit, although it was flatly rejected by the outgoing government.

    But Lamassoure argues that with billions of emails and texts sent around the world, it's a novel and simple way to raise funds from new technology.

    "Exchanges between countries have ballooned, so everyone would understand that the money to finance the EU should come from the benefits engendered by the EU," he said
  2. OK. Firstly, can someone please explain to me, in simple terms, what the Hell the EU had to do with the creation and operation of t'interweb and email?

    Secondly, why are we even talking about additional funding for an organisation whose malfeasance, corruption and ineptitude is the stuff of legend. FFS, I don't know if the situation has changed, but when I was learning about the EU as an undergrad, I almost choked on my cup of tea when I read that the master bureaucrats of the European Commission didn't actually know how many people they had on their payroll. Until they get their house in order, I say not one penny more.
  3. novel and simple way to raise funds What next a tax on crossing roads

    everyone would understand I beg to Differ :x
  4. It's got me flumoxed that's for certain.

    What well and truely killed it for me was the EU constitution issue,the ratification process, it's partial rejection,and the length of the bl*ody thing!
  5. Fcuking French! Just because they keep getting their sorry arrses kicked....................

    It makes me mad!
  6. So does this MEP propose to tax all emails and texts? Obviously not - there's no possible way he can justify an email sent from Dubya to Rumsfeld being taxed by the EU.

    So just ones within the EU? Originating in the EU? Being received in the EU? What about emails that are sent via hotmail - a site based outside the EU? Or texts sent by someone normally resident in the EU but actually in Australia?

    This will never, ever work.

  7. Yeah but the geinie is out the bottle now, I can just see Brown sitting there licking his chops at the idea.
  8. This has been done in the Phillipines or Malaysia. One of those text mad far eastern countries where everyone yaks by SMS anyway.

    Originally , it was done to circumvent the horrendous mobile charges, but has now become a way of life. The Government then said "HOW MANY BLOODY MESSAGES??????" and decided that 0.1c x a Gazillion was a nice little earner.

    Not sure if it has passed into law yet, but there was a lot of enthusiasm for the idea.

    Now, if the Government want to charge me 1p for every e-mail I send , would they consider refunding me 1p for every spam mail I receive? :D
  9. This would involve the government monitoring every email you send, and i cant think of an easier way of doing that than making it compulsory to use government servers, and banning all others. From a technology point of view i think its completely unworkable. The buggers cant even monitor a few hundred prisoners that need deporting, let alone billions of emails and txt's a year. Total non starter.
  10. Another good idea would be to fit airflow-meters in everyone's trachea, so they can tax us for air.
  11. There's too much risk of choking. Just shove a meter up people's urethras and charge us for p1ssing.
  12. Who knows, with the kind of priorities we've witnessed, they'd probably get it absolutely spot on!
  13. Sorry Boney but from a technology point of view it is completely workable. In fact , it's depressingly easy to put into place.
  14. I am going to disagree with you here, whilst its perfectly possible to route the entire countries internet traffic through a system where the traffic is monitored for email, it would mean a complete change of internet culture. A redesign of the way services are provided to customers, banning of payload encryption in network packets blah, blah, blah etc.

    Currently, i am perfectly entitled to create an encrypted connection with a server anywhere in the world (provided i dont break the laws of that country). I can then pass email traffic at will. The government would have to legislate against that practice and here we are headed into big brother teritory. We would be headed into a situation where the government owned the internet in use in Britain, i dont see that happening.

    The Government are also depresively bad at procuring IT systems and making them work (i give you tax credits, NHS systems, DII to name but a few), this proposal would be a system of huge complexity on a massive scale. Thats before we get into the billing processes and the fact that people change email accounts and tend to have quite a few.

    I will agree its technically possible, but will argue against it being workable. The situation is somewhat different for SMS, however you already pay VAT on your phone bill, so i'm not sure why another tax on the service would be appropraite.
  15. All e-mail routes through a server outbound. All e-mail routes through a provider. Tax the provider on audited traffic from an issued domain, ISP passes that charge to you.

    There is a precedent where tax for goods and services means that a non-government entity is charged with collecting tax on behalf of the Government.

    It's called VAT as you so rightly point out Boney.

    As for effectively taxing something twice?

    I think it's called fuel :(