Changes to Ohio budget could add sales tax to digital products - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Songs, books downloaded online could be taxed in Ohio

(FOX19) -

Do you download music and books online? Listen up, because it could cost you even more!

Tax changes added to the Ohio budget would increase the state sales tax and apply it to digital products like MP3's, E-books and videos purchased on the Internet.

There would be a 5.75% tax on all digital products. Netflix and magazine subscriptions would be taxed, as well. 

The current state sales tax in Ohio is 5.5%, so this would create a slightly higher charge for digital purchases.

"Do you want to be able to meet authors? You can't meet an author on Amazon," said Stephanie Porter.

Porter works at Joseph Beth Booksellers and says she's happy to hear Internet retailers, that are essentially tax-free, will be more like brick-and-mortar stores.

"We're always excited about anything that levels the playing field a little bit more. I think more importantly though, anything that makes people think about where their dollars are going," said Porter.

Porter is hoping this budget proposal will lead to increased sales for not only Joseph Beth, but other stores across Ohio.

"Whether it's a coffee shop or a music store or a bookstore or anything, and to have the experience of 'hey I'm going to go there on a weekend with my family'.. You're never going to get that with your E-Reader," said Porter.

However, some say they are digital enthusiasts, and it's not going to change the way they buy and download online.

"I'm a big digital fan. I can't live without it," said Jahleel Williams.

Williams says he prefers to buy movies, books, and especially music on the Internet because of the convenience factor.

"I just download music on my phone. An album will be like $12 or a song will be like $2," said Williams.

Despite the fact that the tax would be just a couple hundredths of a percentage more than in the stores, Williams says this tax could have an overall negative impact to the digital industry.

"I think the sales will go down," said Williams.

A decision is expected this week, but if approved, it won't take effect until the start of 2014.

The Ohio Department of Taxation estimates that the state would see an additional $15 million in the next two budget years by applying the sales tax to digital products.

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