Le iTax: France mulls tax on smartphones, tablets, and more

France wants to raise the cost of smartphones and tablets by up to three percent in order to help funding the government-subsidised arts

by The Commentator on 13 May 2013 13:22

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French tax authorities, already known for their heavy-handed approach to the appropriate of public and private capital, are now mulling over plans for a new tax on smartphones and other new technological developments in an attempt to plug the country's apparent government-subsidised artistic shortfall.

Consumers in France could be looking at even further increases in the cost of smartphones and tablets such as iPhones, Android devices, and Kindles, if the government adopts the advice given in a long-awaited report presented today.

The hefty report, which apparently weighs around 2.3kg when printed, was concocted by a nine-member panel, headed by journalist and businessman Pierre Lescure. The report apparently states that revenue gained from the proposed new taxes could help fund artistic and creative ventures, sponsored by the government.

One suggestion, reports TheLocal.Fr website, is to “call upon the makers and distributors of online devices” to pay a new tax, with the purpose of funding French “cultural content,” such as movies, TV and music.

The proposal has been criticised by the political Right, but was given the nod by the Minister of Culture and Communication, Aurélie Filippetti, who said, "It will be a contribution but at an extremely low level." The sales of connected devices (smartphones, tablets, PCs, connected TVs, game consoles ...) could be taxed between one and three percent, as recommended by the report.

The report made 75 proposals in all and called for the scrapping of the Hadopi agency created to monitor and enforce Internet copyright laws.

But in a victory for some web-pirates, the report also called for a massive scaleback in controversial punishments for piracy, saying Internet connections should no longer be suspended and fines should be slashed from a maximum of 1,500 euros to just 60 euros, which could be then raised for repeat offenders.

The report said piracy could also be contained if satellite and cable providers offered new films on demand shortly after their release.

Editor's Note: Yes, technically speaking the headline should be "La iTaxe", but that just didn't work as well!

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