As expected, with passage by the House of the omnibus appropriations bill just hours before a midnight deadline Thursday, the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which dates from 1998 and established a moratorium on state and local Internet access taxes in all but a handful of grandfathered jurisdictions, was extended through September of next year so long as the Senate manages to pass the bill as well and prevent a government shut-down.
ISP's would have preferred a permanent moratorium, as a standalone bill introduced in this Congress would have created, at least the moratorium did not expire, as it would have had no legislation been passed.
Not surprisingly, the Internet Tax Freedom Act Coalition, which had pushed for extending the moratorium, was pleased, but still wants a permanent moratorium.
The act has now been extended four times and the coalition is ready to not have to keep coming back to the well periodically, in this case next September, to make sure it does not dry up. "As Congress returns in January, extending ITFA permanently provides Republicans and Democrats with an ideal opportunity to work together on legislation that will benefit Americans from all economic circumstances,” said Annabelle Canning, executive director of the coalition.
The moratorium was supposed to expire Nov. 1, but the deadline was pushed back a couple of times as legislators worked on a House-passed version that would have made it permanent, and a Senate version that combined it with the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), which would give states and localities the ability to tax online sales.