If you live in Chicago, and do anything online that might involve streaming something, you might want to brace yourself. As of yesterday, the city imposed a nine percent “amusement tax” on cloud services, so now, you’re paying up.
So, Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, World of Warcraft, anything has a nine percent tax slapped on it. Before you ask, yes, Netflix will be passing that nine percent onto consumers. Other services have yet to comment, probably because the law itself is so vague as to be ridiculous.
Just as an example, if you’re part of PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live, you pay a fee. Part of those perks is that you can, if you choose, play online multiplayer games. But if you don’t play online games, and just download the free games that come with the service… do you still tax that, under the law? You’re not streaming anything, you’re just downloading it. Does the law apply if you happen to be stuck in Chicago and boot up Netflix on your laptop? Will all sales of HBO be taxed because HBO Go comes as part of the service?
Taxing cloud services was inevitable; our transactions are all going online and even Amazon has accepted that sales taxes are going to stick around. But they can’t really be taxed the same way we tax physical goods. The sooner those in charge realize that, the better.
(via the Daily Dot)