House approves extension to Internet tax ban
On Tuesday the U.S. House of Representatives voted 405-2 in favor of extending an Internet tax moratorium for four more years.
The House passed the Internet Tax Freedom Amendments Act that extends the moratorium on Internet taxes and other Internet-based taxes until November 2011. The current ban was set to expire Nov. 1 after Congress first put it in place in 1998. The bill now heads to the Senate.
The House bill narrowed the definition of Internet access, allowing state and local governments to tax Internet-related services such as VoIP. Some opponents of a permanent extension, including lawmakers, said that the original tax moratorium could be interpreted to ban taxes on services such as VoIP.
Some entities within the technology industry had hoped Congress would pass a permanent ban that would prevent state and local governments from taxing Internet access.
“With the House of Representatives passing legislation today that extends the Internet Tax Moratorium, another important step has been taken to ensure broadband access remains affordable for consumers,” said Matthew M. Polka, President and CEO of the American Cable Association (ACA), in a statement. “Small cable operators who are deploying broadband services in smaller markets and rural areas applaud the House for continuing to preclude state and local governments from taxing this vital service."