PowerPacket: Anyone for Tax on Internet Commerce?
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Nothing puts fear and loathing in Las Vegas or Wall Street like the mention of tax. The stocks of Internet commerce companies especially, including Amazon.com, Onsale, Egghead.com, CDnow and N2K are vulnerable to possible backlash if the U.S. or any other government starts applying taxation to transactions.
Meanwhile, Internet service providers could be hurting if a usage tax gets applied to them as the huge telephone giants beg their Washington contacts to levy the old-world tariffs in the monopoly-free environment of the World Wide Web.
In this special Internet Stock Report we gathered some of our notable readers together and asked:
"Should governments tax Internet commerce?"
"Governments can tax whatever they want, but if they tax Internet commerce they will lose out. Looking ahead, I don't know exactly how we make the transition, but I believe that in the long run we will probably end up taxing real estate since that's the main thing that can't move from one physical jurisdiction to another.
Now if you mean *Net* governments, they probably *will*
"What I am certain about is that I do think they
will want to!
-George Zachary, venture capitalist, Mohr Davidow
"I do believe that governments should tax Internet commerce,
The implications are profound in the marketshare to be gained or lost by organizations moving offshore to do business, an inevitability in the Internet. Instant wealth will be created in countries that have the lowest tax rate. At the same time, one would not expect the same level of government protection from fraud in highly unregulated environments.
Confidence is key to making commerce happen, so we should strive to set some boundaries and taxes should help to pay for this (in a perfect world). Bottom line, I'm choking as I say that governments should tax commerce (not to support the billion dollar screwdriver business, but legitimate commercial transactions).
-David Takata, stock analyst, Gruntal & Co.
Steve Harmon's PowerPacket is brought to you by Mecklermedia's InternetNews.com & is a special edition of Internet Stock Report. If your business is the Web, Internet Stock Report is a must read. Spread the word and join thousands of other readers including Microsoft's Bill Gates, Yahoo's Jerry Yang, Hummer Winblad's Ann Winblad, AOL's Ted Leonsis and more!