Tax on Emails
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Congress Is Going to Tax Email Messages-Fiction!

 

 

 

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Summary of eRumor:  
A widely distributed email warns that legislation has been introduced in congress to add a surcharge to email.  Congressional "Bill 602P" would add a 5 cents per email tax in order to make up for millions of dollars being lost by the Postal Service because of people using email to correspond instead of letters.  The email makes reference to a recent publicity campaign by the Postal Service called "There is Nothing Like a Letter" and includes a quote from Congressman Tony Schnell.  It urges that Internet users contact their representatives in congress to oppose the bill.

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The Truth:  
TruthOrFiction.com has designated this as not just a rumor, but a hoax, an intentional email of misinformation.  Since it isn't benefiting or harming anyone in particular, it is probably a prank.  According to both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Postal Service, no such proposal has been planned or submitted.  There has never been a campaign by the Postal Service with the theme, "There's Nothing Like a Letter."  According to the House Of Representatives, there is a bill with the number "HR 602," but it has nothing to do with taxing emails.  It is about long term health care insurance.  Most notably, the Congressman mentioned in the email, Congressman Tony Schnell, is a fabrication.  There is no such person in Congress.  This appears to be a U.S. version of a similar hoax in Canada in 1999.

This is a cousin to a similar eRumor that the Federal Communications Commission is going to issue a tax on Internet Access, which is also untrue.

For more information:  

 
United States Postal Service

A real example of the story as it has been circulated:

US POSTAL CHARGES ON EMAIL??

Read the following and pass it on to everyone you know:

Dear Internet Subscriber: Please read the following carefully if you intend to stay online and continue using email: The last few months have revealed an alarming trend in the Government of the United States attempting to quietly push through legislation that will affect your use of the Internet. Under proposed legislation the US Postal Service will be attempting to bilk email users out of "alternate postage fees".   

Bill 602P will permit the Federal Govt. to charge a 5-cent surcharge on every email delivered, by billing Internet Service Providers at source.

The consumer would then be billed in turn by the ISP. Washington D.C.  Lawyer Richard Stepp is working without pay to prevent this legislation from becoming law. The US Postal Service is claiming that lost revenue due to the proliferation of email is costing nearly $230,000,000 in revenue per year.

You may have noticed their recent ad campaign "There is nothing like a letter". Since the average citizen received about 10 pieces of email per day in 1998, the cost to the typical individual would be an additional 50 cents per day, or over $180 dollars per year, above and beyond their regular Internet costs. Note that this would be money paid directly to the US Postal Service for a service they do not even provide.

The whole point of the Internet is democracy and non-interference.

If the federal government is permitted to tamper with our liberties by adding a surcharge to email, who knows where it will end? You are already paying an exorbitant price for snail mail because of bureaucratic inefficiency. It currently takes up to 6 days for a letter to be delivered from New York to Buffalo. If the US Postal Service is allowed to tinker with email, it will mark the end of the "free" Internet in the United States.

One congressman, Tony Schnell has even suggested a "twenty to forty dollar per month surcharge on all Internet service" above and beyond the government's proposed email charges. Note that most of the major newspapers have ignored the story, the only exception being the Washingtonian which called the idea of email surcharge "a useful concept who's time has come" (March 6th 1999 Editorial) 

Don't sit by and watch your freedoms erode away!

Send this email to all Americans on your list and tell your friends and relatives to write to their congressman and say "No!" to Bill 602P.

Kate Turner, Assistant to Richard Stepp; Berger, Stepp and Gorman Attorneys at Law. 216 Concorde Street, Vienna, Va.

It's the action, not the fruit of the action that's important. You have to do the right thing...You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result. (Gandhi)

 

 


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