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Congress panel backs renewal of ban on Internet taxes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. ban on Internet taxes that has been in place since 1998 would be made permanent under legislation approved on Wednesday by a congressional committee.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Representative Bob Goodlatte, will go next to the full House of Representatives, where the timing for a vote has not been determined. Previous extensions of the Internet tax ban have had broad bipartisan support in the House and the Senate. The ban is set to expire in November.

In a 30-4 vote, the House Judiciary Committee passed the bill, which would permanently prevent state and local governments from enacting Internet connection taxes. It would also keep municipal governments from levying taxes on Internet purchases where there is no equivalent store or mail-order tax.

The Internet tax ban has been renewed three times. It is scheduled to expire on November 1. The ban does not cover state sales taxes that municipal lawmakers are trying to levy online.

The bill was supported by e-commerce companies including AOL Inc, eBay Inc, Facebook Inc, Oracle Corp, VeriSign Inc and Yahoo Inc.

(Reporting by Patrick Temple-West; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Grant McCool)

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