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Washington State Law Could Spell Trouble for Illegal Downloaders

Broad interpretation might open door for charges of tax evasion

Washington State Law Could Spell Trouble for Illegal Downloaders

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A new law in the state of Washington may be able to charge illegal downloaders with tax evasion.

Set to go into effect July 26, the Digital Products Bill (ESHB 2075) defines digital products as goods and services transferred electronically; makes their taxation technology-neutral; requires sellers to electronically file tax returns; and includes certain exemptions for businesses and end-consumers. The law also provides amnesty to those who didn’t collect or pay sales or use tax on digital products that were taxed before the effective date of this act.

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Reviewing the bill, TechDirt suggests, with some logical connect-the-dots, that its provisions may also apply to illegal downloaders and in turn, might allow the state to charge those individuals with tax evasion.

Such a move would be based on taxes that might have been reaped from the retail price of a digital product, unpaid if an illegal download occurred.

Again, this is all conjecture and subject appears to have yet to be broached in Washington's capitol of Olympia. Legislators could not be reached for comment. 

But as TechDirt humorously comments, the federal government went after Al Capone for tax evasion, so why not illegal file-sharers and downloaders?  Plus, Washington isn't the only state to consider digital product taxes to pump-up dwindling revenue.






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Edward Duncan

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