The Information Super-Tollway

The tax on “digital goods” that you’re already paying.

In the summer, Chicago voters grew angry and Silicon Valley cried foul when the city imposed a controversial “cloud tax” on “electronically delivered amusements,” a new 9 percent duty that applies to streaming video services and video games bought through Xbox Live.

But don’t worry about the same futuristic tax landing here. You’re already paying it, and have been since 2009, when a visionary act of the state Legislature caught the Netflix wave early and imposed a 5 percent cloud tax on those newfangled “digital goods.”

This means that in 2015, new subscribers to the streaming service are paying about $10.50 a month instead of $9.99, and downloaders of video games priced at $49.99 are forking over some $52.50. Stephanie Marquis, spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, says the state’s still collecting the tax, which applies to Amazon Prime, the Playstation Store, Xbox Live and more.

‘The Information Super-Tollway’ appears in the December 2015 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the December issue on newsstands Nov. 30.

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