There are some really strange taxes out there, and Germany has one that would probably win the context for “weirdest tax ever” if such a competition ever took place.
What we are talking about is a little something called the “blank media tax.” Or at least, it used to be a little something. The fact is, it's not little anymore.
Blank media tax is a tax that the German government imposes on all blank media, in addition to the standard sales tax.
This tax has been in place ever since audio cassettes were introduced, decades ago, because blank media supposedly had a negative impact on commercial recordings sales.
Setting aside how it has never exactly been proven that storage devices affect recordings sales, the argument crumbles even further when taking into account that small detail that Germany applies the tax to even camera memory cards. Even though they store photos and, thus, have absolutely nothing to do with the music industry.
Germany has shown no signs of eliminating the blank media tax. In fact, it has done the opposite.
From now on, the tax for flash drives
of up to 4 GB capacity has increased from $0.10 to $1.93. That's an 1,850% jump.
Meanwhile, flash drives of over 4 GB have had their tax pulled up from $0.10 to $2.42, which corresponds to a 2,338% increase, as reported by Geek.com
. And yes, you can be sure that you'll have to pay extra for camera memory cards too.
The reason? Apparently, the German government has switched gears and now considers the blank media tax a means to compensate music recording companies for private copying, a.k.a. piracy. The matter of the tax being applied to storage units that don't store music files was left blissfully unaddressed, of course.
We don't live in Germany, so we are, fortunately, not affected by this move, but our hearts go out to those who do. They essentially have to pay more for no justifiable reason.