Portuguese parliament (Assembléia da República)

Portugal has bright idea: Tax storage devices!

Country goes nuts in May

Paul Taylor, who lives in Portugal, and writing for our sister publication TechEye, tells us of a particularly nutty scheme that the Portuguese government is thinking of introducing.

Dubbed the “Terabyte Tax”, this would represent €21 on one terabyte of memory, working out at €0.2, while USB pen drives and memory cards will be taxed at six cents per gigabyte.

What a delightful idea. Perhaps other Eurostrapped government could cook up, sorry create, other ingenious taxes related to computers. They could tax you if you had more than two USB ports on your PC, or perhaps create a Function Key tax.

But why stop with computers and technology? Introduce a Button Tax, imposed for garments that have more than a regular number of buttons, or a Height Tax, applied for every inch that you’re taller than six feet – and a complementary piece of taxation called a Lack of Height Tax, where you’re taxed for every inch under six feet you are. Or perhaps tax windows, no, not Microsoft Windows, but applied to buildings that have more than the average number. Oh hang on, they tried that here in the UK already, didn’t they?

Taylor makes the serious point that the putative tax will affect not only data centers, but phones too, with a 64GB iPhone becoming €32 more expensive. And the legislation will affect copying devices too, with the tariff applying to the number of pages copied a minute. He says a 70 page per minute MFP could cost as much as €227 per device more. That’s a lot of dosh.

Somehow we have the feeling here at ChannelBiz that increasingly desperate governments all over Europe might just pick up on this daft Portuguese idea, shrinking the margins for channel players even more shrunk than they are already…

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