Quinn Wants Tax on Music, Movie Downloads

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 22, 2010 | Go to article overview

Quinn Wants Tax on Music, Movie Downloads


Byline: Ravi Baichwal ABC 7 Chicago

Gov. Pat Quinn is proposing a tax on music and movie downloads to help fill the state's $13 billion budget deficit.

The state's 6.25 percent sales tax would be added to digital purchases from websites like iTunes and Amazon.

The state's budget crisis needs no introduction -- and the governor's attempts to increase the state income tax for education have not borne much fruit.

Now, Quinn says a way to raise revenue is to go after entertainment products that have largely escaped the taxman's grasp.

On mobile phones, on computers, even through TV screens, increasingly, people are getting their entertainment seamlessly from the Web -- often without paying tax.

At Amazon.com, the effort has been to resist retail taxation schemes on the basis that what is sold here is no different from other mail-order businesses -- which have long been exempt from retail sales taxes in most states.

North Carolina has been trying for years to tax purchases on Amazon, saying it operates like a traditional establishment.

Good luck, says one computer consultant.

"It is one of their key differentiators against a traditional brick-and-mortar store, and if that is taken away from them, one of their big price advantages disappears," said Jason Shah, JSDF Computer Consultants. …

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