Web Access-Tax Moratorium Nears Deadline

The deadline for renewing a ban on state and local Internet access taxes is set to expire tomorrow.

Proponents of the ban hope the Senate passes a bill that would make it permanent as well as eliminate exceptions for some states and localities that already collect the taxes.

The bill, S. 52, introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, passed out of the Commerce Committee in July. The legislation then moved to the full Senate for consideration. It has not been passed by the full Senate yet, a spokeswoman from Wyden's office said.

The moratorium could be extended even if the bill does not pass because the Senate could pass a continuing resolution to extend the temporary ban, or Wyden's bill could be attached to budget legislation.

The original moratorium was established by the Internet Tax Freedom Act enacted for three years in 1998 and renewed by Congress for another two years in 2001.

Last month, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 49, a similar measure.

Internet access taxes are not to be confused with online sales taxes, for which there is a growing movement to force online merchants to collect. Currently, remote sellers cannot be forced to collect sales taxes on transactions made in states where they have no physical presence.

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