Greens Want to Tax Internet in Ireland

February 17, 2011 Taxation in Ireland

Thai Public Broadcasting Service trainingsThe Green Party of Ireland has suggested that the tax treatment of national broadcasting services should be overhauled and a new tax needs to be instated on internet use.

On February 15th Eamon Ryan, former Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources of Ireland, released a statement claiming that a small tax should instated on the usage of internet in Ireland. Eamon Ryan is campaigning as a Green Party candidate in the 2011 general elections, and the tax overhaul will be one of his campaign platforms.

According to Eamon Ryan, the tax treatment of media technology in Ireland is obsolete, ineffective and suffers from excessive bureaucratic processes. Speaking on behalf of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan suggested that the tax overhaul should begin with the abolishment of the current television license levy. The revenues lost through the move would be compensated with the new internet tax, which would be levied at a very small rate directly on the taxpayer’s data usage.

The former Minister claimed that the tax would be far easier to collect and impose on users, compared to the current television license. He added that the inherent costs of collecting a tax on internet usage would be lower than those associated with the present license fee. The revenues raised from the tax would be used to aid funding for public sector broadcasting. Eamon Ryan suggested that the money would be highly beneficial to news outlets across all media sources in Ireland, and would be allocated in an impartial manner to all applicants.

Eamon Ryan claimed that it was critical that the system be in place by the end of the next government’s term. He added that before the any such tax is put into place, the Green Party would facilitate an open consultation across all industry sectors which could be affected by the proposed change.

The Fine Gael political party has already responded to the Green Party’s suggestion, releasing a similar proposal whereby television license fees will be removed and replaced with a flat tax which would be charged on yet to be defined “devices which can access content”.

Photo by Internews Network

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