It’s days like today that I really despise living in Washington State. Apparently, our elected officials have decided to subject us to a tax that, in my opinion, is even dumber than a semi-recent law that made it illegal to even write about, much less link to, online gambling Web sites. No, I am serious.

This time, however, elected “officials” in Olympia have decided that we need a tax so unlikely, so difficult to even fully understand, that it needs an FAQ just so a person can get their heads around exactly what is being taxed.

So what is being taxed exactly here in the Great State of Washington? Digital downloads. Yes, MP3s, software, it’s all here.

What is exempt, then? Freeware and SOME open source software. Yes, according to the given exemption rules that I am reading, it clearly states:

Yes. Digital goods that are not offered for sale are exempt from tax when they are:

  • Noncommercial (such as personal email communications).
  • Created solely for an internal audience.
  • Created solely for the business needs of the person who created the digital good and is not the type of digital good that is offered for sale, such as business email communications. (See section 605 of the digital products bill).
  • So it seems, potentially, open source not being sold yet used in an enterprise setting, could be taxed. Should be interesting calculating the tax on ZERO!

    But maybe there is a bright side; perhaps Washington thought this through enough to realize just how incredibly unenforcible this really is? And hey, what better thing to do when commerce is slowed down than to tax something, right? Give me a break. It’s days like today I miss my old home state… Alaska.