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Pay up: Lawmakers can't resist taxing your Netflix

Pay up: Lawmakers can't resist taxing your Netflix

Parrish Miller
January 20, 2015
January 20, 2015

An epic plague of biblical proportions has nothing on the annual descension of the tax-and spend, big-government members who make up the Idaho Legislature. They arrived in town just last week, but they're already prying open your pocketbook in their unremitting efforts to satisfy their insatiable appetite for money.

Example number one: your Netflix subscription. Under an obscure bill passed at the end of the last legislative session which was ostensibly supposed to exempt software from being taxed as property, the state tax commission found a loophole they were quick to exploit. Because Netflix operates a shipping hub for its DVD-by-mail division in Idaho, the state will now tax your subscription to Netflix's digital streaming service.

Since this de facto tax increase on tens of thousands of Idahoans was introduced as a rule change rather than an actual bill, it will not be voted on by the full Legislature or signed by the governor; it will just come into being. To fix this, new legislation will need to be introduced—under an emergency declaration—to explicitly exempt Netflix and other digital subscription services from taxation.

Will it happen? Not likely.

I will tip my hat to Reps. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, and Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, the two members of the committee who voted against this rule. That was a big stand for the taxpayer.


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