More digital taxes: Sweden will now tax your iPad because you can watch TV on it

23 Jan, 2013

European governments everywhere are looking for ways to tax the elusive digital economy. France is thinking of a ‘Google’ tax to shore up the publishers’ revenues and is thinking about a way to tax user generated content. Now Sweden found another way to tax the digital economy.

Sweden’s SVT public television network is offering all of its content for free online, which means that anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer can watch it.

Under the law, that also means that Sweden can now collect the mandatory television license fees from anyone who owns a tablet, computer or smartphone. And it will: the fee will amount to € 240 per year for anyone with a TV, a tablet or a PC. As more people cut cable and started watching online, the government must find other means to fund its public network.

Smartphone owners needn’t worry (yet). A spokesman for Radiotjänsten, the agency that collects the fees, said they wouldn’t bother with smartphones because “the spectrum of mobile phones is so broad and we don’t see their primary use as being watching a single TV channel”.

It sounds like a perfectly arbitrary way to exclude phones but include tablets and PC’s, to be honest.

In January, the Finnish government already changed its tv license fee owed by TV owners into a general tax that amounts to 0,68 % of the taxable revenue, with a minimum of € 50 per tax payer.  The Finnish want to collect € 500 million per year this way to fund their public broadcasting network.

via ArcticStartup, photo: neuralchaos, Flickr


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About the author

Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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