CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) recently joined the Internet Tax Freedom Coalition because it supports the permanent extension of a law that bars federal, state and local governments from taxing consumers and small businesses on their Internet access.
The company applauds U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and U.S. Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) for their leadership in introducing legislation, S.1431 and H.R.3086, to permanently extend the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which blocks taxes on Internet access, bandwidth and email.
The Internet Tax Freedom Act is a temporary tax moratorium that is scheduled to expire Nov. 1, 2014, after having been extended three times since it was signed into law in 1998. This important legislation stops federal, state and local governments from being able to tax consumers on the subscription fees they pay for Internet access, except for about a dozen states that already had Internet access taxes in 1998 and were grandfathered in.
While it does not prevent states from taxing sales made over the Internet, the legislation blocks multiple taxes on ecommerce, online sales from being taxed at a higher rate and discriminatory Internet-only taxes such as bandwidth or email taxes.
Right now, thousands of state and local jurisdictions tax consumers on their subscriptions to various communications services, such as telephone and cable bills. Without a permanent extension of this legislation, these taxes could easily be expanded to include Internet access.
CenturyLink knows that the Internet is an engine of economic growth that helps consumers find jobs, offers access to educational opportunities and provides expanded markets to local businesses. That’s why we believe consumers and small businesses should not be taxed on their Internet access.
High costs are one of the biggest barriers right now to widespread consumer adoption of broadband—something we’ve been working hard to increase, not decrease. We will keep you informed as we approach the moratorium’s expiration date in the fall of 2014.