Legislation is being drafted by the (acting) Government to allow Revenue to implement a new tax starting on 1st July 2016. This tax will be a charge per keystroke on a mobile phone and it is expected to be a money winner for the (acting) Government. The only other country in the world with a similar tax is Japan where it has been successfully in operation for two years.

The way the tax works is this: if you send a text consisting of eight words with an average of five keystrokes per word (plus spaces), you will be taxed on having used 48 keystrokes. The rate at which the tax will be charged will be determined by the (acting) Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, but will probably be €0.0002 per keystroke. So for 20 text messages of eight words as above the tax will be €0.19.

As teenagers send the most texts they will be hardest hit by the new tax. An average teenager sends 100 texts in a three minute period consisting of between five and 20 words. Over a sixty minute period this works out at €24. If you have ever seen students going to school or college, every single one of them is on their mobile phone – all the time!

It is proposed that the tax will be collected by adding it onto your phone bill, effectively making the phone companies tax collectors! Needless to say, the phone companies are not in favour of this tax.

The (acting) Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, is fully supporting the new tax. Repetitive Strain Injury is becoming a real menace in our younger generation as thumbs are used for texting, with the added health hazard of the early onset of arthritis from the age of 23.

A percentage of the finance raised by the new tax will be returned to the Health Service to treat withdrawal symptoms as it is expected there will be a mass reduction of texting by teenagers. There will also be nationwide workshops on the lost art of verbal communication which is currently in danger of becoming extinct. As a pre-requisite for these workshops, Question 15 on the Census form for 24th April 2016 is “Can you communicate – Very well, Well, Not well, Not at all.”

More information about the new tax will be released by Revenue later this month.

Information moratorium until 1st April 2016.

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