Australia might tax Netflix and other U.S. Internet services

Australia netflix

More like ‘Netflix and toll.’

Netflix and chill” might soon become a more expensive date idea for Australians.

Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison introduced a measure in Parliament on Wednesday that would establish a tax on overseas digital products including apps, games, ebooks, and, yes, streaming services like Netflix.

With the so-called “Netflix tax,” Morrison hopes to make the digital marketplace more competitive for Australian companies, which already pay a goods-and-services tax (GST).

The measure, Morrison said in an address to Parliament, “ensures Australian businesses selling digital products and services are not disadvantaged to overseas businesses that sell equivalent products in Australia.”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Morrison expects the tax to raise more than $350 million over four years beginning in July 2017.

While the idea of an Australian Netflix tax inspired some criticism on Twitter, Australia is hardly the first country to propose or even implement such an idea.

Forbes first reported on European value-added taxes (VAT) in 2014, many of which went into effect in 2015. Australia’s island neighbor, New Zealand, implemented a Netflix tax of its own in August 2015.

News of an Australian Netflix tax comes at the same time as the country moves to legalize the medical marijuana cultivation. If Australians are enraged at the idea of a Netflix tax, perhaps the domestic cultivation of cannabis will make up for it. 

Photo via BagoGames/Flickr (CC BY 2.o)

Feliks Garcia

Feliks Garcia

Feliks Garcia was a reporter and essayist whose work for the Daily Dot focused on social justice issues, internet culture, and the Rock. He was a staff writer for the Independent when he passed away in February 2017 after suffering a heart attack. He was 33.