On Tuesday, June 9th The House of Representatives passed H.R. 235 entitled the “Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act” (hereinafter “PITFA”) by voice vote permanently banning states from taxing internet access or placing multiple or discriminatory taxes on e-commerce. It should be duly noted that the PITFA legislation would simply remove the current end date of October 1st of 2015 from the Internet Tax Freedom Act which was originally signed into law in 1998.
PITFA’s bipartisan legislative intent is clearly aimed at keeping the current moratorium on taxes on internet access in place and extending it indefinitely. As a historical synopsis, Congress passed a temporary moratorium on multi-state taxes collected for internet access back in 1998. The ban has been extended numerous times in the 17 years since, but is set to expire once again this fall. Rather than merely rely on a future Congress to pass additional extensions, the House of Representatives has voted again to make the moratorium permanent. As a reminder it should be duly recalled that back in 2014, a similar piece of legislation was approved by the House of Representatives but failed to pass the Senate floor. It remains to be seen if a similar outcome awaits the 2015 version of PITFA.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Chairman Tom Marino (R-Pa.), Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), and Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) issued the following statement after the passage of PITFA:
“We applaud the bipartisan passage of the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act today in the House. PITFA is a necessary measure to keep Internet access free of taxation. Internet access drives innovation and the success of our economy. It is a gateway to knowledge, opportunity, and the rest of the world. The American people deserve affordable access to the Internet and the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act will help prevent unreasonable cost increases that hurt consumers and slow job creation.”