In 1998, the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) was enacted to create a moratorium to prevent state and local governments from taxing Internet access or implementing discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce. However, a grandfather clause was included in the act allowing 10 states -Texas, North Dakota, Washington, South Dakota, Hawaii, New Mexico, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Ohio- to tax internet access. The Internet Tax Freedom Act did not create a permanent ban on internet tax access, hence since 1998 the legislation has continually been reauthorized in order to temporarily secure tax free internet access.
In an effort to make the ban on taxing internet access permanent, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA) was passed in the House of Representatives in June of 2015. PITFA will not only make the ban on taxing internet access permanent, it will also protect electronic commerce and allow the grandfather clauses of the original act to expire. Companion legislation, the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act (ITFFA) is currently sitting in the Senate awaiting passage. Upon Senate approval, the moratorium preventing tax on internet access will become permanent.
Lawmakers in 1998 were unable to predict how much the internet would grow in the future. They simply did not know that there would be a need for a permanent ban on internet tax access. The internet has changed the world by encompassing every aspect of our daily lives. From desktops, laptops, cell phones, and tablets, use of the internet for either work or entertainment has become a staple in modern life. Keeping access to the internet tax free is a vital issue. In order to encourage technological growth and advancement, people must be able to access the internet without worrying about being taxed on their usage. The Senate must realize the significance of this issue and pass the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act.