When the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill last week extending a ban on Internet access taxes, it may have opened up the possibility of previously forbidden taxes on paid e-mail and other Web services.
That's what a Congressional Research Service attorney concluded in a two-page memorandum (click here for a PDF) released on Thursday by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the author of the original tax ban in 1998. The CRS is a federally funded sort of "think tank" charged with conducting nonpartisan reports and analysis for Congress.
The specter of an e-mail tax all comes down to how the bills define what the ban covers.
Current law, which is set to expire on November 1 unless Congress acts, defines the term as "a service that enables users to access content, information, electronic mail, or other services offered over the Internet, and may also include access to proprietary content, information and other services as part of a package of services offered to users."
Internet, Email, Webmail, Tax, Taxation, Email Tax