My state has gone insane




  • Not that it's really news. TaxMassachusetts has always been ready to tax just about everything, but this seems to be a new level of WTF-ery.

    Massachusetts is now taxing “the planning, consulting, or designing of computer systems that integrate computer hardware, software, or communication technologies and are provided by a vendor or a third party.”

    Furthermore, no one seems to know what the law is actually taxing. According to the Boston Globe, "If I create a new piece of code for your computer, that’s taxable. But if I re-write your Windows registry because it was corrupted by a virus, apparently that’s not." (Aside: I have never had to "re-write [a] Windows registry because it was corrupted by a virus". Yay for stringing vague technology-esque words together into a nonsensical statement!)

    Anyway, long story short, apparently "integrating hardware, software, and communications technologies" (i.e., what software does) in Massachusetts is now taxable at 6.25%. I need to re-consider moving.



  • I propose a tax on all foreigners living abroad.



  • The heck?

    Sounds like someone in government doesn't like having tech companies moving to their state.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    This hit /. a fortnight ago. From one commentator:

    It's not a new tax. 6.25% is the general sales tax in Massachusetts. This is just a ruling clarifying, "Yes, it applies to you guys too."



  • @PJH said:

    This hit /. a fortnight ago.

    Hmm, let's see.... already heard about it..... /. ........"fortnight"...... can it be? Here we see the rare and elusive Internet Hipster in its natural habitat!



  • @mikeTheLiar said:

    Here we see the rare and elusive Internet Hipster in its natural habitat!

    No, it's the not-quite-so-rare native English speaker.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @mikeTheLiar said:

    @PJH said:
    This hit /. a fortnight ago.

    Hmm, let's see.... already heard about it..... /. ........"fortnight"...... can it be? Here we see the rare and elusive Internet Hipster in its natural habitat!
    Thus ignoring the point of my post. Well done!



  • @PJH said:

    Thus ignoring the point of my post.

    Fine, if you insist. Here's the rub: it's not being presented as an expansion of an existing tax, but a new "Tech Tax." Furthermore, as quoted, it doesn't tax the sale of software (which is already taxed!), at least not explicitly. As quoted, it taxes the "the planning, consulting, or designing of computer systems." The tax is ambiguous, potentially targeting whatever-the-fuck related to software development. What's that, you're employing programmers? You need to pay an additional 6.26% payroll tax! You need to buy monitors? Are you building software? There's extra tax for that! Developing an iPhone app to help people figure out the next Tech Tax? Oh boy, are you in for a surprise! Furthermore:

    Startups will have to be compliant with the law from day one, which is discouraging in and of itself.

    If it's the regular sales tax (as you seem to be indicating), what is there that start-up have to comply with? They haven't actually produced anything yet, so what the fuck are they selling?



  • @CodeNinja said:

    Sounds like someone in government doesn't like having tech companies moving to their state.

    They're just showing their economic illiteracy again. Most politicians don't seem to understand that people react to incentives and that taxing something is an incentive.

    I know that, for example, Maryland did this back in 2007. It was a pretty good deal for Virginia. I'd expect out of state services to become more popular in Massachusetts now, too.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @boomzilla said:

    I know that, for example, Maryland did this back in 2007.
    MD seem to be sort of special when it comes to taxes it appears - witness their most recent foray; the so-called "Rain Tax" (AKA "stormwater pollution fee").



  • @mikeTheLiar said:

    Here's the rub: it's not being presented as an expansion of an existing tax, but a new "Tech Tax."

    Presented by whom? Politicians who are opposed to it? Journalists who don't really understand it but have a deadline to submit copy? Try finding the phrase "tech tax" in the actual guidance.



  •  this is from the article:

    As defined by the legislation, the to-be taxed services include: “the
    planning, consulting, or designing of computer systems that integrate
    computer hardware, software, or communication technologies and are
    provided by a vendor or a third party.”

    thus it's targetting things provided by a vendor or third party.  software-as-a-service is taxable just like other services.  this makes it much more clear (and excludes 'payroll tax' i'd thing), why deliberately shorten the other quotes of this same piece of text?



  • This is why sales tax is just nonsensical in general. Any tax that taxes the provision of goods or services that does not take into consideration the cost to prepare or acquire the good or service is just wrong. Otherwise, it ends up being a "tax-on-tax-on-tax" once something has been aggregated a few times, and hurts some industries far more than others. I'm very happy to live in a sales-tax-free state, and I hope it stays that way.



  • @realmerlyn said:

    This is why sales tax is just nonsensical in general. Any tax that taxes the provision of goods or services that does not take into consideration the cost to prepare or acquire the good or service is just wrong. Otherwise, it ends up being a "tax-on-tax-on-tax" once something has been aggregated a few times, and hurts some industries far more than others. I'm very happy to live in a sales-tax-free state, and I hope it stays that way.

    VAT is the answer. Eg, paying tax on value added at any stage of a supply chain, rather than the accumulated value at that point.



  • @eViLegion said:

    VAT is the answer. Eg, paying tax on value added at any stage of a supply chain, rather than the accumulated value at that point.

    I'd hate to know what the question was, then.



  • @eViLegion said:

    @realmerlyn said:
    This is why sales tax is just nonsensical in general. Any tax that taxes the provision of goods or services that does not take into consideration the cost to prepare or acquire the good or service is just wrong. Otherwise, it ends up being a "tax-on-tax-on-tax" once something has been aggregated a few times, and hurts some industries far more than others. I'm very happy to live in a sales-tax-free state, and I hope it stays that way.

    VAT is the answer. Eg, paying tax on value added at any stage of a supply chain, rather than the accumulated value at that point.

    A tax on something is an incentive against doing it.

    A value-added tax is an incentive against adding value.



  • @Buttembly Coder said:

    A tax on something is an incentive against doing it.
    A value-added tax is an incentive against adding value.

    Well, the incentive is relative not absolute.

    If taxed at 100% VAT, then I would agree... why add value if the government gets it all?

    If taxed at 0.00001% VAT, its barely an incentive not to do it.



    But, if you don't add value to anything you earn nothing at all, and end up starving to death, which is an obvious incentive to add value to things.



  • @eViLegion said:

    @Buttembly Coder said:
    A tax on something is an incentive against doing it.
    A value-added tax is an incentive against adding value.

    Well, the incentive is relative. If taxed at 100% VAT, then I would agree... why add value if the government gets it all?



    But, if you don't add value to anything you earn nothing at all, and end up starving to death, which is an obvious incentive to add value to things.

    You just made an excellent argument to tax starvation.



  • @Buttembly Coder said:

    You just made an excellent argument to tax starvation.

    Not exactly a richly rewarding revenue stream.



  • @eViLegion said:

    @Buttembly Coder said:
    You just made an excellent argument to tax starvation.

    Not exactly a richly rewarding revenue stream.

    And yet, by most GovLogik, it makes sense! Starving is bad, so levy a heavy tax against it.



  • @Buttembly Coder said:

    @eViLegion said:
    @Buttembly Coder said:
    You just made an excellent argument to tax starvation.

    Not exactly a richly rewarding revenue stream.

    And yet, by most GovLogik, it makes sense! Starving is bad, so levy a heavy tax against it.

    I like it... lets tax poverty, ignorance and ineptitude, and the world will become a fairer place!


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Buttembly Coder said:

    @eViLegion said:
    @Buttembly Coder said:
    You just made an excellent argument to tax starvation.

    Not exactly a richly rewarding revenue stream.

    And yet, by most GovLogik, it makes sense! Starving is bad, so levy a heavy tax against it.


    Finally the Death Tax makes sense.



  • @realmerlyn said:

    This is why sales tax is just nonsensical in general. Any tax that taxes the provision of goods or services that does not take into consideration the cost to prepare or acquire the good or service is just wrong. Otherwise, it ends up being a "tax-on-tax-on-tax" once something has been aggregated a few times, and hurts some industries far more than others.
    There are reasons to be against sales tax, but this is not one of them.  There is no aggregated "tax on a tax on a tax".  Businesses who buy materials that they then resell do not pay sales tax on their purchases.

    Real life example:

    • The company I work for buys a variety of chemicals.  No sales tax is paid on those purchases.
    • They are processed into various catalysts which are sold to other companies.  No sales tax is charged on those transactions.
    • Those companies use the catalysts to manufacture products such as plastic resins and various types of alcohols. The plastic resins and alcohols are sold to other companies, no sales tax is charged on those transactions.
    • Those companies manufacture things like shampoo and garbage cans.  They sell the shampoo and garbage cans to Wal-Mart, Target, whatever.  No sales tax is charged on these transactions.
    • You go to Wal-Mart and buy shampoo and a garbage can. .You pay sales tax on your purchase.




  • @El_Heffe said:

    • You go to Wal-Mart and buy shampoo and a garbage can. .You pay sales tax on your purchase.


    It's not my fault I can't afford a real bathtub... I've been giving all my money to the starvation tax.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @eViLegion said:

    @realmerlyn said:
    This is why sales tax is just nonsensical in general. Any tax that taxes the provision of goods or services that does not take into consideration the cost to prepare or acquire the good or service is just wrong. Otherwise, it ends up being a "tax-on-tax-on-tax" once something has been aggregated a few times, and hurts some industries far more than others. I'm very happy to live in a sales-tax-free state, and I hope it stays that way.

    VAT is the answer. Eg, paying tax on value added at any stage of a supply chain, rather than the accumulated value at that point.

    Question applies only from a US perspective: Which taxes are you willing to get rid of to add a VAT?



  • @boomzilla said:

    @eViLegion said:
    VAT is the answer. Eg, paying tax on value added at any stage of a supply chain, rather than the accumulated value at that point.

    I'd hate to know what the question was, then.

    Starter for 10!

    First introduced to France 1954 by Maurice Lauré, Joint Director of the France Tax Authority, and based on a concept first proposed German industrialist Dr. Wilhelm von Siemens in 1918, what V is a system of raising government revenue via the process of taking a sum of money from businesses on the sale of goods or services, in proportion to the increased market value of such items, over and above the market value of any other goods or services consumed in their manufacture, distribution and/or retail?




  • This is already covered by the rules and by precedent in my country. A court found that a carpenter should pay tax on the work he performed when building a house for himself in his spare time. Therefore it stands to reason that I, being a professional programmer, should pay tax on any program I write for myself.



  • @eViLegion said:

    @boomzilla said:
    @eViLegion said:
    VAT is the answer. Eg, paying tax on value added at any stage of a supply chain, rather than the accumulated value at that point.

    I'd hate to know what the question was, then.

    Starter for 10!

    First introduced to France 1954 by Maurice Lauré, Joint Director of the France Tax Authority, and based on a concept first proposed by an alleged Nazi sympathizer in 1918, what V is a system of raising government revenue via the process of taking a sum of money from businesses on the sale of goods or services, in proportion to the increased market value of such items, over and above the market value of any other goods or services consumed in their manufacture, distribution and/or retail?




  • @Faxmachinen said:

    This is already covered by the rules and by precedent in my country. A court found that a carpenter should pay tax on the work he performed when building a house for himself in his spare time. Therefore it stands to reason that I, being a professional programmer, should pay tax on any program I write for myself.

    Jesus H. Christ On A Bike!



    Where do you live that has a legal system that considers that to be even slightly fair?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @El_Heffe said:

    @realmerlyn said:

    This is why sales tax is just nonsensical in general. Any tax that taxes the provision of goods or services that does not take into consideration the cost to prepare or acquire the good or service is just wrong. Otherwise, it ends up being a "tax-on-tax-on-tax" once something has been aggregated a few times, and hurts some industries far more than others.
    There are reasons to be against sales tax, but this is not one of them.  There is no aggregated "tax on a tax on a tax".  Businesses who buy materials that they then resell do not pay sales tax on their purchases.

    Real life example:

    • The company I work for buys a variety of chemicals.  No sales tax is paid on those purchases.
    • They are processed into various catalysts which are sold to other companies.  No sales tax is charged on those transactions.
    • Those companies use the catalysts to manufacture products such as plastic resins and various types of alcohols. The plastic resins and alcohols are sold to other companies, no sales tax is charged on those transactions.
    • Those companies manufacture things like shampoo and garbage cans.  They sell the shampoo and garbage cans to Wal-Mart, Target, whatever.  No sales tax is charged on these transactions.
    • You go to Wal-Mart and buy shampoo and a garbage can. .You pay sales tax on your purchase.


    By contrast, the way I've always heard VATs explained (and people familiar with how they actually work can feel free to correct me) is that everyone in that value chain pays tax but gets a refund or something on their portion. Only a bureaucrat could love that system, because it involves red tape and government intrusion everywhere.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @eViLegion said:

    @boomzilla said:
    @eViLegion said:
    VAT is the answer. Eg, paying tax on value added at any stage of a supply chain, rather than the accumulated value at that point.

    I'd hate to know what the question was, then.

    Starter for 10!

    First introduced to France 1954 by Maurice Lauré, Joint Director of the France Tax Authority, and based on a concept first proposed German industrialist Dr. Wilhelm von Siemens in 1918, what V is a system of raising government revenue via the process of taking a sum of money from businesses on the sale of goods or services, in proportion to the increased market value of such items, over and above the market value of any other goods or services consumed in their manufacture, distribution and/or retail?


    Begging the question. The real meaning, not the other thing, "raising the question" that people usually mean when they say "begging the question."

    Reductio ad absurdum isn't a fallacy, but I'd like to find some way to invoke it here. Something ad absurdum.



  • @FrostCat said:

    ...the way I've always heard VATs explained (and people familiar with how they actually work can feel free to correct me) is that everyone in that value chain pays tax but gets a refund or something on their portion. Only a bureaucrat could love that system, because it involves red tape and government intrusion everywhere.

    The entire concept of that is nebulous and illusory.
    Only one person actually pays any money - the end consumer. The money may bubble up backwards along the supply chain, but the end consumer is the only person paying in.
    A VAT tax is a sales tax, it's just well-hidden to people who don't realize it.



  • @Buttembly Coder said:

    @eViLegion said:
    @Buttembly Coder said:
    A tax on something is an incentive against doing it.
    A value-added tax is an incentive against adding value.

    Well, the incentive is relative. If taxed at 100% VAT, then I would agree... why add value if the government gets it all?
    But, if you don't add value to anything you earn nothing at all, and end up starving to death, which is an obvious incentive to add value to things.

    You just made an excellent argument to tax starvation.

    We prefer the term "Obamacare".



  • @Buttembly Coder said:

    A VAT tax is a sales tax, it's just well-hidden to people who don't realize it.

    This is a big reason why I think it's a bad idea. The end consumer doesn't have a good idea of how much of the cost is due to taxation.



  • @notchulance said:

    We prefer the term "Obamacare".




    The best part of ObamaCare is this:


    @ObamaCareFacts.com said:

    The Fact is ObamaCare gives 47 million women access to preventive health services and makes it illegal to charge women different rates than men.




    It was a shame to see how more expensive abortion costs were for women than for men. Thank you ObamaCare!



  • It is something of a Cluster and honestly nobody knows how MA will interpret this law.  Michael Widmer, the president of the Massachusetts Taxpayer's Foundation, argued that while lawmakers expect the tax to
    raise about $160 million, it’s so broad, it will raise at least a half-billion
    dollars.

    There has been some vague agreements from the government that this provision in the law will be narrowly applied to limit its intake to the expected $160 million, but until the guidelines come out all software companies will be on edge and fear will run rampant on the forums.



  • @DaarkWing said:

    There has been some vague agreements from the government that this provision in the law will be narrowly applied to limit its intake to the expected $160 million, but until the guidelines come out all software companies will be on edge and fear will run rampant on the forums.

    What does "One-Hundred-Sixty Million Dollars" even sound like in a Bostonian accent?



  • @Buttembly Coder said:

    butter -> boooooder

    Do you mean:

    (*butter).boooooder
    




    or

    $butter->boooooder
    




    or was this a typo and you meant:


    
    $lameAccentJoke = array(
    "butter" => "boooooder"
    );
    
    


  • @boomzilla said:

    @Buttembly Coder said:
    A VAT tax is a sales tax, it's just well-hidden to people who don't realize it.
    This is a big reason why I think it's a bad idea. The end consumer doesn't have a good idea of how much of the cost is due to taxation.

    Yep. It's essentially a stealth tax. We have another fun one in the UK... In addition to income tax, we also have National Insurance, which is setup such that the employee pays some of their contribution, and the employer pays the remainder.

    Time and again I've tried to point out "yeah, but really the employee pays for it all.", on the somewhat obvious basis that an employer really doesn't care who the money goes to, and only cares about the total cost of employing someone. That money would otherwise be available to be paid as salary if the employer didn't have to make such a silly contribution.

    It is even more silly when you consider that all three values are deducted before any money hits the employees bank account.



  • <font face="Comic Sans MS">@Ronald said:

    @Buttembly Coder said:
    butter -> boooooder

    Do you mean:

    (*butter).boooooder
    




    or

    $butter->boooooder
    




    or was this a typo and you meant:


    
    $lameAccentJoke = array(
    "butter" => "boooooder"
    );
    
    

    Actually, I did mean butter -> boooooder; butter actually has the -> operator overloaded to allow lame accent jokes to be dereferenced.
    </font>


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @eViLegion said:

    That money would otherwise be available to be paid as salary if the employer didn't have to make such a silly contribution.
    If you believe it would actually be paid as salary to the employee, I've got this nice bridge in Brooklyn to sell to you. (The headline rate of what you're paid doesn't matter; what matters is how much you've got to actually pay for things, i.e., your net pay.)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Buttembly Coder said:

    let's see if the font tag still changes the whole page for Chrome users
    Nope.



  • @eViLegion said:

    We have another fun one in the UK... In addition to income tax, we also have National Insurance, which is setup such that the employee pays some of their contribution, and the employer pays the remainder.



    Time and again I've tried to point out "yeah, but really the employee pays for it all.", on the somewhat obvious basis that an employer really doesn't care who the money goes to, and only cares about the total cost of employing someone. That money would otherwise be available to be paid as salary if the employer didn't have to make such a silly contribution.

    Yes, we have that in the US, too. I see a wag has already chimed in to the effect that it all wouldn't go directly to salary if it weren't there. Nevertheless, it's a cost that employers have to account for when employing someone, and so at least some of it would go towards salary if they didn't have that extra payroll expense. Or possibly they'd hire more people with the same pool of money, and that would be a good thing, too. It's complicated in the US in that it phases out, so that neither the employee nor the employer pay after yearly wages reach a certain amount. I think it's currently somewhere in the $106K-$110K range.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @eViLegion said:
    We have another fun one in the UK... In addition to income tax, we also have National Insurance, which is setup such that the employee pays some of their contribution, and the employer pays the remainder.



    Time and again I've tried to point out "yeah, but really the employee pays for it all.", on the somewhat obvious basis that an employer really doesn't care who the money goes to, and only cares about the total cost of employing someone. That money would otherwise be available to be paid as salary if the employer didn't have to make such a silly contribution.

    Yes, we have that in the US, too. I see a wag has already chimed in to the effect that it all wouldn't go directly to salary if it weren't there. Nevertheless, it's a cost that employers have to account for when pricing their products, and so the consumer would not have to pay as much if they didn't have that extra payroll expense. Or possibly they'd hire more people with the same pool of money, and that would be a good thing, too. It's complicated in the US in that it phases out, so that neither the employee nor the employer pay after yearly wages reach a certain amount. I think it's currently somewhere in the $106K-$110K range.<font face="Comic Sans MS">This acts as an incentive to hire fewer, more-skilled workers, further fucking over the poor.</font>



  • @dkf said:

    @eViLegion said:
    That money would otherwise be available to be paid as salary if the employer didn't have to make such a silly contribution.
    If you believe it would actually be paid as salary to the employee, I've got this nice bridge in Brooklyn to sell to you. (The headline rate of what you're paid doesn't matter; what matters is how much you've got to actually pay for things, i.e., your net pay.)

    I'm not saying that at all. If the government suddenly removed the requirement for an employers contribution, I have no doubt that the majority of employers would happily pocket the difference.



    HOWEVER, it is part of the total cost of employment, so if the contribution was removed, labour market forces would eventually adjust for it over a number of years.

    It would only be available to be paid as salary... e.g., the company would have has a bit more headroom on salaries, which makes a nice bonus for the directors.



  • @Buttembly Coder said:

    A tax on something is an incentive against doing it.

    A value-added tax is an incentive against adding value.

    Ooh, let me try:

    An income tax is an incentive against coming in.



  • @da Doctah said:

    @Buttembly Coder said:

    A tax on something is an incentive against doing it.

    A value-added tax is an incentive against adding value.

    Ooh, let me try:

    An income tax is an incentive against coming in.

    Don't you know that you should always come outwards?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @eViLegion said:

    @dkf said:
    @eViLegion said:
    That money would otherwise be available to be paid as salary if the employer didn't have to make such a silly contribution.
    If you believe it would actually be paid as salary to the employee, I've got this nice bridge in Brooklyn to sell to you. (The headline rate of what you're paid doesn't matter; what matters is how much you've got to actually pay for things, i.e., your net pay.)

    I'm not saying that at all. If the government suddenly removed the requirement for an employers contribution, I have no doubt that the majority of employers would happily pocket the difference.

     

    "We're going to stop paying the employer's 80% of your health insurance coverage, but we're not going to offer you anything to balance out the extra $400-1600 you will now have to pay monthly."

    Seems legit.  Have you got any more ad corporationem attacks you'd like to make?



  • @FrostCat said:

    Begging the question. The real meaning, not the other thing, "raising the question" that people usually mean when they say "begging the question."

    Reductio ad absurdum isn't a fallacy, but I'd like to find some way to invoke it here. Something ad absurdum.

    He was sort of begging not the question!



    As it happens, I also don't think that the slippery slope really counts as a fallacy... in some cases yes, but not in the general case.
    @FrostCat said:

    Seems legit.  Have you got any more ad corporationem attacks you'd like to make?

    I can't tell if you're being serious. I'm assuming not.



  • @dkf said:

    @eViLegion said:
    That money would otherwise be available to be paid as salary if the employer didn't have to make such a silly contribution.
    If you believe it would actually be paid as salary to the employee, I've got this nice bridge in Brooklyn to sell to you. (The headline rate of what you're paid doesn't matter; what matters is how much you've got to actually pay for things, i.e., your net pay.)


    Speaking as a guy who took a $5k a year pay cut to go from consultant with no benefits to full-time employee with health insurance, 401k, etc, I think they would. (I'm lazy and didn't feel like looking for a job for a while. I'll move on once I have enough experience to bullshit my way through interviews better)


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