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Congress Approves Bill Making Internet Tax Ban Permanent

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed legislation placing a permanent ban on states' taxing Internet access, sending the measure to President Barack Obama for signing into law.

By a vote of 75-20, the Senate gave final approval to a bill toughening enforcement of U.S. duties on foreign goods, which contains the permanent extension of the "Internet Tax Freedom Act."

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The measure also would ban some taxes on digital goods and services and will put an end to a series of temporary extensions on the tax prohibitions.

"Most Americans pay $0 in taxes to connect to the Internet. And thanks to a bill that passed today, you will never have to pay taxes just to get online, or pay more taxes for goods and services just because they're bought online," Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said in a statement.

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The legislation, however, fails to address calls for better enforcement of state sales tax collections related to Internet purchases, something that brick-and-mortar businesses have long sought.

Separate legislation on this could be considered by Congress later this year, according to Senate aides.

Most U.S. states have imposed sales taxes on online purchases, but the actual collection is spotty.

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