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ITFA Extended to October 2016 in Budget Bill

Senate consideration of a permanent moratorium on Internet access taxes is likely put off until at least January, according to bill watchers, but the temporary ITFA will be renewed for at least a year.

That is according to the omnibus compromise appropriations bill hammered out late Tuesday, which includes a provision to extend ITFA until Oct. 1, 2016.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) took to the Senate floor Tuesday to say he and others would block consideration of ITFA if an "e-fairness" bill that would impose sales taxes on online purchases did not get a hearing.

His point was that if Congress was going to take away that ISP revenue stream from the seven states, including his own, that currently levy them, and foreclose them for the rest of the states, it should compensate by requiring online retailers to collect taxes for purchases from people in their states.

The House already approved the permanent ITFA, and the Senate Judiciary Committee had as well, but as a rider on an unrelated trade bill.

ITFA is set to expire Wednesday per the continuing resolution (CR) that extended the government shutdown deadline from Dec. 11. The budget bill will likely not be voted before the CR expires, which will require another short-term CR, which will extend the ITFA deadline to cover the gap.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.