Louisiana's Netflix tax proposal: A new method to collect lost revenue?

Louisiana's Netflix tax proposal: A new method to collect lost revenue?

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Binge watching might end up costing consumers more in Louisiana. As the state deals with a massive budget shortfall, lawmakers are getting creative with revenue ideas.

Monroe Rep. Katrina Jackson proposed HB 562, which would tax certain streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

"For us to get taxed on some type of select services from the internet, it doesn't sit well from a consumer's standpoint," tech consultant Nam Nguyen said.

If passed, sales taxes would be levied on all streaming services and products purchased on the internet and add a stream of revenue from people's TVs or phones straight into the state's coffers.

"I pay for all these services already, and now I'm supposed to pay more taxes on it. It's a little upsetting," Nguyen said.

The bill looks to tax streaming services when users pay their monthly bill. Video game purchases and music streaming apps that offer subscriptions like Spotify and satellite radio also fall within this tax proposal.

"We've changed delivery method, and the current structure doesn't allow for taxation on that. So if you don't do something to modernize, you better find a new thing that you want to tax," Kenner Representative Julie Stokes said.

Stokes said federal law prevents taxes on internet use and she said the tax being sought after is not necessarily a new tax just a different means of collecting it.

"For instance, you used to go to Office Depot and buy QuickBooks. Now people don't do that. They download it, or they buy a monthly subscription to QuickBooks online," she said. "You used to go to Blockbuster and rent videos and pay sales tax on that. Now that escapes taxation because it's part of Netflix or a number of other services that stream."

Jackson could not be reached for comment.

Her bill also includes possible taxes on books, photos, apps, data storage and any subscription purchased online. Click here for a list.

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