Civilian's manifest against a ridiculous tax : we now need to pay extra taxes on usb-sticks/external hard discs because we MIGHT copy music/video on it

Introduction : "Oh my God"

The Belgian government managed to do it again; starting from February we have to pay taxes on portable storage, because we MIGHT copy some music on it.

This is utter failure in the biggest possible way; I can accept that our dear Minister Q. has had some really strange track records, but this is really his 'best' realisation ever !!!

As you might or might not know, similar to other countries, we already have to pay a certain amount of taxes for blank DVD's/CD's. In my personal opinion this was really ridiculous, but since I use about 1 CD/DVD per month, I never really bothered...

I assume that people probably stopped buying DVD's/CD's, and as a compensation our government needed to find an alternative. And now they found it !!

Here is an English (google translated) excerpt from an article on about it :

Thus, as from February 1 for an iPod Touch with 64GB of flash storage paid 3 euros extra. A set-top box with a 500GB hard drive is responsible for 10.75 euros, while an external hard drive 1TB or larger to yield 9 Euro. 
Also, a distinction is made between different types of storage devices with the same: an MP3 player with 16GB flash memory has a Auvibel fee of 3 Euro, while a USB stick with an identical capacity to 1.35 Euro copying levy to be paid.

Why is it ridiculous ?

Here is an example:

- Starting from tomorrow everybody who has a car will have to pay 10 Euro/month 'speed driving tax'
- What ? Why would I need to pay that ?
- Well, we figured out that some people MIGHT be driving to fast in their car, and since it is impossible for us to catch every single driver, we simply tax everyone a little bit for it.
- What ? But why ? My grandfather never speeds (He probably drives a bit to slow, but that is a whole different story)... Why would he have to pay such a tax ?
- Well, uhm... the cost of speeding is to high for society, so everyone has to pay for that...
- I assume, since we pay for it, that we are allowed to drive to fast now ?
- No, you can not. It is illegal. If we catch you speeding you have to pay a fine...
- So we now both pay our fine as well as your tax ?
- ...

I would also suggest adding a 'murder tax' to all hammers/wrenches/saws/knifes and other tools, as these might be used to kill someone...

Wow, the possibilities are endless..

Some even more creative suggestions for our government

"Opportunities multiply as they are seized" ( Sun Tzu - The art of war )

Since we are in a creative mood, I have a few ideas for maximizing future tax incomes for our government to fix their current deficit:

Linking up several taxes

If we get a little bit creative, one tax might automatically extend the group of targeted persons. An example

- 'driving without a driver's license tax' : if you do not have a driver's license, you might be driving without one... so we can tax everyone starting from age 12 and up who has not got a driver's license. (If you can somehow reach the pedals while holding the steering wheel you might be driving a car on the public road.)
- 'drunk driving taxes','unpaid parking ticket taxes','...': since we have a 'driving without a driver's license tax', we can now tax everyone from age 12 and up for all the possible driver's taxes. It does not mather whether they do or do not have a car/driving license, we can tax them...

Making up for taxes due to tax evasion

Since we need to pay a lot of taxes (the rate of cost versus nett wage for an average employee is huge in Belgium), some people try to be creative with their tax forms. So this is my next tax opportunity:

- 'tax evasion tax' : As we think some MIGHT be cheating on their tax forms, I suggest we invent this new tax to make up for it...

By the way, what do you suggest to fix the deficit ?

My idea is really simple, fix government overhead issues. I am not the first one who thinks this solution is a viable one...

A report of the European Central bank stated that our government could save about 34 percent just by being more efficient on their job.

In our Belgian government, we have about 800.000 government officials who earn about 10 percent more then their private colleagues, and 70% of the government's spendings goes to the wages of the officials (link). Next to this we have a little over 10.7 million civilians.

You can do the maths if you want to....


If it is that simple, why hasn't it been fixed yet ?

Think about it: if a company grows to be an inefficient monster Mister Market simply punishes them. They either need to become more efficient or go broke. There is no alternative. For our government this is not the case.

The debt of our country is about 330.7 billion Euro; it was augmenting 800 euros/second in 2009. This means an average debt of 30.900 Euro per civilian... In a company, I assume this would mean bankruptcy.

Next to this, one will probable never find sponsors for this 'cleaning of the Augean stables', since the sponsor of this project could probably be a target himself....


In conclusion

While this was initially just a manifest about the new taxes on portable media I got a little carried away, and ended up somewhere completely different... Both subjects should not be related, but somehow I managed to mention both in a single post. As a conclusion I would simply like to state the following to our government:

  • Get rid of this 'portable media tax'. It is ridiculous !!
  • Instead of spending your time inventing ways to cripple the economy, start thinking about stimuli instead

Just my 0.02 Euro

(TODO : send an invoice to the belgian government because I might do some work for them in the future)

PS: I think I will take a backup of this article on both my NAS and an USB stick just to make sure. Can I receive some royalties from Auvibel as well please ?


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