The government is preparing a tax for messaging apps, how does it affect us?

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Messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram or the increasingly popular video calling apps are part of our day-to-day life, both in Spain and around the world. Most of these services are free, however, it seems that they will have to start paying for a Spanish government tax.

Its name is an annual telecommunications fee and is included in the preliminary draft Telecommunications Act. This is not a new tax, but the changes they will make could affect us from next year.

The government's new telecoms tax affects apps
It is not that the Spanish government has decided overnight to pass a law that goes directly to the big tech companies, although at first glance it seems that they could be the first involved in the new draft laws. The annual telecommunications rate was a tax that directly affected operators, but will now begin to affect any communication service provider, even if it is an application.

This tax will affect all companies that are generating more than a million euros in revenue, so if you are an amateur developer or a small business it should not affect you. If you bill more than that amount, the tax would be 0.1% of your annual income.

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Does this affect our usual use of apps that are already free of charge? Well, it will depend on the type of service offered and the revenue that the application is generating. As it is a revenue tax,non-direct-revenue applications such as Signal, WhatsApp or Telegram could be saved from paying, while Instagram, Facebook, or subscription business communication services such as Google Meet for Business could be affected.

About the implementation date, it is to be expected that the preliminary draft will not begin to be implemented until mid-2021, within almost a year. The consequences that this approval may have will surely only be seen from that moment on because changes can be made from now until approval.

For example, an important question is what would happen if a company has multiple messaging applications and services and whether it should pay only as an entity or must pay for each communications service that exceeds one million annually in revenue.

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