ALERT: Internet Taxes Due Today!

Category: Reference

Just in case you weren't aware, the United Nations recently approved a series of new Internet Taxes on all users, effective April 1, 2013. Read on to find out how much you'll owe, based on your Internet usage...

Understanding the New Internet Taxes

PLEASE NOTE: This article was published on April 1st, 2013 as an April Fools Day joke. The new Internet taxes mentioned herein are fictional. For now... :-)

Several weeks ago, a small group of U.N. bureaucrats met to finalize their plan to tax virtually all types of Internet usage. This committee, known as the Global Online Tax Code for Human Advancement, inserted their proposal into the text of the Universal Human Rights Treaty, ratified during the 107th session of the U.N. Human Rights Committee. As such, it has become international law, binding upon all U.N. member nations.

Depending on how you use the Internet, various new online taxes will affect you. In addition to a 5 cent tax on all emails (both sent and received), email attachments will be taxed at 10 cents/megabyte.

Fortunately, you will not be charged for incoming messages that are automatically tagged as spam. Other usage-based Internet taxes include the following:

Internet Taxes

  • A tax of 10 cents will be imposed on all searches performed via the Google, Bing or Yahoo search engines.
  • A "download tax" of $1/gigabyte will be imposed on users who download freeware or shareware. (Files obtained from "file sharing" or "peer to peer" networks will be subject to a 100% surcharge.)
  • Downloads of commercial (paid and licensed) software will be exempt in Phase One.
  • Each Youtube video viewed will be taxed at 25 cents/minute, if the video is 2 minutes or less. To encourage workplace productivity, videos over 2 minutes long will be taxed at 50 cents/per minute.
  • An e-commerce tax of 1.5% will be imposed on all online purchases.
  • Other high-bandwidth activities, including Skype, Pandora, Netflix will be taxed at the rate of of $1/gigabyte.

Fortunately, casual Internet browsing will not be affected, although it's unclear from the text of the legislation whether time spent on social networking sites falls into this category. It is estimated that the average user in North America will be charged about $18/month in Internet taxes.

Your Internet service provider, along with Apple, Google and Microsoft, will assist the local government authorities by monitoring your online activities and reporting all taxable activities. Internet Taxes will be due quarterly, on the first day of the month. These new taxes are being imposed RETROACTIVELY, beginning on January 1, 2013. If you have not already received your first quarterly Internet Tax bill, it should arrive shortly in your email inbox.

A Phased Approach

The new Internet taxes will be rolled out in several phases. In Phase One, the taxes will be levied only on citizens of countries with more than 100 million Internet users, namely the United States, India, and Japan. (China, with 538 million users was exempted without explanation.) And beginning in 2014, Phase Two countries with at least 50 million users will have Internet taxes imposed. This list includes Brazil, Russia, Germany, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, and France. In 2016, Phase Three will hit the remaining countries in the top twenty, based on the number of Internet users.

The rationale for this approach, according the Global Online Tax Code for Human Advancement (G.O.T.C.H.A) committee, was to discourage the "developed" countries from "wasteful online practices" (such as streaming music and video) and to "redistribute bandwidth" to the poorer nations. Taxes collected by the U.N. body would be used (in part) to provide free smartphones with unlimited data plans to people in underserved areas of the world. The result they seek is a "sustainable Internet", in which the "per capita usage of Facebook and Angry Birds reaches parity across geo-political boundaries."

What's your opinion of these new Internet taxes? Are they fair? Are the rates too high or too low? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "ALERT: Internet Taxes Due Today!"

(See all 87 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

01 Apr 2013

You did such a detailed and believable job of this that you sucked me in completely. I read right by the GOTCHA, which you did.

Posted by:

01 Apr 2013

yes, very well done!

Posted by:

01 Apr 2013

Sorry Bob, but I went into this thinking of April Fools day. Good try though!

Posted by:

01 Apr 2013

We going through so much political/bureaucratic/greedy corporation mobs nonsense that I believed in this until I remember about today date. Your April fool joke can give somebody a heart attack. I have my old nasty boss who I need to send it. The best joke ever! You are genius. Ple-a-se confirm that this is a joke!!!

Posted by:

01 Apr 2013

I was a little worried for a while but the penny dropped before I got half way through: it's April the 1st. Ha ha!

Posted by:

John Steele
01 Apr 2013

I thought to myself, "I need a laugh, lets see what this is." I wasn't disappointed. Thanks for brightening my day.

Posted by:

02 Apr 2013

That was fantastic. Shows great effort. Great job. I knew it was a joke the minute that "U.N. bureaucrats" was mentioned. U.N. bureaucrats can't enact international law, "delegates" can vote and the US has rejected it. Think of how this would be enforced, an impossibility. International law does not need to be observed by member nations. The US said no, thus it would not be enforced in the US.

But for all of you who fell for it, you folks are like the woman in the insurance commercial who said you can't put anything untrue on the Internet. Bob, please don't take this as an insult to you, but seriously folks, Is "Ask Bob" your only news source? Don't you think that would be headline news or some newsflash on all media if not both? Morning shows would be flooded by a panel of "experts".

Posted by:

02 Apr 2013

I was a bit slow today, too. Then when I saw the acronym for G.O.T.C.H.A., I finally figured it out! I remembered that it is April Fool's Day. LOL! Thanks for today's article. You are so clever! :)

Posted by:

Tex Arcana
02 Apr 2013

I had it spotted from the get-go, but it was very convincing. It'll be fun to prank a few people with this in the coming weeks.

Posted by:

02 Apr 2013

Good one Bob :) I went in thinking April Fool's but with all the intricate detail I was almost getting a wee bit worried there for a sec. Until a good laugh today, thanks Bob. Just don't let any goverment officials see this...ssshhhh...our city water department just tacked on almost $20 a quarter to the water bill because they now charge a fee for the rain and snow that they estimate runs off the yard and goes down the sewer grate, so nothing would surprise me when it comes to government agencies picking our pockets.

Posted by:

02 Apr 2013

Not funny, I don't it put past these "fairness" goofballs to try something like this. It might be a joke for now, but I'll bet their thinking about this kind of thing to make the rich USA on a more equal plane with poor countries. After all we all know the US didn't come by our wealth fairly, we stole it.

Posted by:

charles ranalli
02 Apr 2013

This April's Fool prank is only slightly more audacious than much of the official insanity spewing out of Washington DC.

Posted by:

02 Apr 2013

Google Blue, Gotcha.... I'm beginning to wonder about you tech guys.... yours is the most detailed I think I've ever seen though, Bob. Pretty cool...

Posted by:

02 Apr 2013

Luckily here in Australia we are covered by the General Exemption of Tax – Socially Traumatized Users Finding Funding Extremely Difficult.

If it wasn’t for that we would be up for huge amounts of backdated tax ;)

Posted by:

02 Apr 2013

What a thoroughly frightening scenario. Orson Wells would be proud. I hope no one vapor locked while reading it.

Posted by:

02 Apr 2013

Good man, very good!

But, I wouldn't be suprised,

and now, when you gave them the idea ...

Posted by:

02 Apr 2013

For a tech service newsletter to publish a false ALERT is unforgivable but does alert that readers they might not be able to believe what Bob writes.

EDITOR'S NOTE: That's a wonderful unintended consequence. Like Reagan said, "Trust, but verify." ;-)

Posted by:

02 Apr 2013

Well the joke may be on us if that nut from the post office gets his way.I saw on the news he was proposing his brilliant idea to TAX emails as if they needed an imaginary STAMP! Havent heard much lately but who knows? Sounds like our government will love it if they get a cut! Beware!

Posted by:

catherine campanelli
03 Apr 2013

Well, my comment wasn't posted. Probably because I made fun of all the people who were so mad. They weren't mad because of the joke, I'll bet, but because they actually believed it. A few even threatened to unsubscribe to the newsletter, which I happen to think is hilarious!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Your earlier comment was posted. It's on page 3 of the comments for this article.

Posted by:

04 Apr 2013

Way to go! It's about time people who use lots of bandwidth pay for their share. For once the UN has it right. I for one agree. Thanks Bob for letting us know that the UN really does care about all of us.

(just kidding)

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- ALERT: Internet Taxes Due Today! (Posted: 1 Apr 2013)
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