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UK Government to Tax Linux? 343

An anonymous reader writes "The UK government is looking at introducing a tax aimed at software published under GNU GPL. It claims that because programmers do it for free, it is losing out on income tax and that commercial software companies (read Microsoft) are at a disadvantage. Some pressure group has already put up a website with more details and news site Techworld have got a quote from a Treasury spokesman saying that they're only considering it."
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UK Government to Tax Linux?

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  • must be a joke (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 01, 2004 @03:17PM (#8739817)
    If it's real, I'm fine with that as long as they also tax all charitable donations, community service and all forms of generousity towards others.
  • argh!!@!#@ (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 01, 2004 @03:33PM (#8740022)
    I hate aprils fools nonsense! When respectable sources of information play these ridiculous games it makes this entire day useless. Everywhere you go you have to constantly be on the defensive for these stupid pranks. If you want to play some retarded joke on a friend in private then go for it, but why must you poke holes in my daily sources of public information????
  • by rjelks ( 635588 ) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @03:38PM (#8740081) Homepage
    This is a little offtopic like many of the posts today. What better day to release a bomb on the tech community. If I were in charge of PR for a government agency or large company, I'd use April 1st to announce bad news. No one would believe it. Not that I think the UK is going to tax linux, but I wonder if anyone is sneaking in potentially bad news today in the hopes that it will be ignored as a joke.

  • by westfirst ( 222247 ) * on Thursday April 01, 2004 @03:39PM (#8740090)
    Microsoft "gives away" IE. Sounds like a taxable item to me. And they give away plenty of other pieces of software for various reasons. Salesforces everywhere are known for claiming that someone is getting thousands of dollars of freebees, if they only purchase this minute. Gads, I think proprietary software companies "give away" more software than open source groups.

  • Re:OMG (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 01, 2004 @03:40PM (#8740099)
    Wonder if they'll tax me when I pick up trash on public property. No good deed should go unpunished! ;)
  • by ToadMan8 ( 521480 ) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @03:41PM (#8740106)
    April fools being this Stupid. An I getting older or is this year particularly Stupid? what a waste to have Mod points today! And to make matters Worse, SlashDot's accuracy typically so questionable I have no idea which to take as seriously as usual.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 01, 2004 @03:42PM (#8740123)
    Tax offices in some cities interpret the tax law:
    - you get the Linux/OpenOffice package for free, but its value is comparable to MS software so your income is equal to value of equivalent MS software, and tax you on that.
    - alternatively they try to get VAT on Linux as well

    Also it seems there is a legislation that will make it easier to tax Linux.

    links: - subscription required de bian-user-polish-200203/msg00346.html hp 3 g/ 1138.html g/ 182.html

  • by ibirman ( 176167 ) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @03:43PM (#8740131) Homepage
    I gave away at least 100 CDs with Linux on them over the past year. Can I take a tax deduction on each one?

    What will the UK value each copy at? I would say a complete distribution with software should be valued at $50,000US. So my charitable contributions are easily worth a few million.

  • by radish ( 98371 ) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @04:11PM (#8740434) Homepage
    Funny that. I recently moved to NYC from London, and although there's no TV License here, I have a whole bunch of weird surcharges and taxes on my cable bill (other than regular sales tax). These add up to considerably more than my TV License used to cost in the UK. So I pay more, and get much worse TV for it. Oh well.
  • GPL Violation? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 01, 2004 @04:53PM (#8740923)
    Seeing as how the UK government is using Linux, wouldn't it be a GPL violation for them to attach additional conditions to the use of Linux in the UK?
  • by bogie ( 31020 ) on Thursday April 01, 2004 @09:08PM (#8743044) Journal
    The thing is its just not really funny anymore. Now we know to expect it and that takes all of the fun out of it. Really it would be better to make this a regular news day and then add in one fake story.

    April fools and big pranks are still funny depending on the situation. Just not at slashdot.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly