Candidate: Stall Internet taxes

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The government should hold off on taxing Internet commerce for the next

two to five years, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman

said Tuesday.

Lieberman was interviewed by Gartner Group Inc. chief executive officer

Michael Fleisher at Gartner's ITxpo in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Republican

vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney couldn't make it, but Lieberman,

a Democrat from Gartner's home state of Connecticut, took part.

During the conference, Gartner analysts had asked all keynote speakers

for their views on Internet taxation and followed suit with Lieberman, who

co-sponsored legislation creating a tax moratorium.

He wants to see the moratorium continue for at least a few more years,

although he said that "eventually we're going to have to deal with this

issue." As far as taxing Internet commerce, "It's not a question of if;

it's a question of when," he said.

The problem, though, is that there are 70,000 taxing authorities in

the United States that could lay claim to a piece of the Internet tax pie

because of points of distribution when something is purchased over the Internet,

Lieberman said.

State and local governments, along with traditional retailers, will

lead the call for Internet taxation, arguing that it isn't fair that goods

bought on the Web remain untaxed while taxes are paid on items bought at

stores. The ideal solution is to create a tax that is equitable across localities,

Lieberman said.

He and running mate Al Gore embrace the Internet as a tool that can

be used to reach citizens. He pointed to Internet voting as a likely future

use owing to the success of that process on a limited scale.

Distributed by IDG News Service.

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