No Longer an Urban Legend: Frenchman Proposes EU Tax on E-mail and SMS

According to Red Herring, Alain Lamassoure, a French member of the European Parliament has proposed a tax of just under 2 cents on each SMS and a miniscule tax on each e-mail.  Red Herring estimates the SMS tax alone could total $5B per year across all 25 EU member countries.

As lawmakers look for new sources of revenue, telecom is constantly in their cross-hairs.

Not only would yet more taxes represent raising the barriers to building mobility into more products and processes, the accounting challenges of tracking and assessing the charges could put a huge burden on service providers.  For SMS, the issues may not be significant, since providers have typically established usage-based billing structures for texting services.  However, very few providers of e-mail services charge per message, and the nano-payments involved (is that a thousandth of a cent per message?) are increments that standard accounting and billing systems aren’t designed to handle.

Hopefully this proposal will fail and not set a global precedent, however, we should expect telecom services to continue to be targeted whenever tax revenues seem to be falling short of increasing government spending.

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