Indonesian robot tax

As the idea of a robot tax gains interest, Indonesia has a narrow pro-labor tax that is actually in effect.

Tobacco is a huge killer in Indonesia, and the government there struggles to tax it. But it’s also a huge employer, so taxing tobacco nudges against jobs.

So Indonesia taxes machine-rolled cigarettes more than it taxes hand-rolled ones. The two products are quite different in appearance and readily distinguishable, as I learned from a recent talk by Professor Marina Welker of Cornell at Duke. Consumers are shifting from hand-rolled to machine-rolled, but the tax differential may nudge them to stay with the more labor-intensive product.

A more general robot tax is hard to imagine. But this narrow tax hits not only robots, but also tobacco.

UPDATE:

3 ways to tax “robots”?

Directly, when placed in service.

Indirectly:
– On income robots produce.
– Excise on products robots produce.Links:

https://www.indonesia-investments.com/news/todays-headlines/indonesian-cigarette-producers-face-new-tobacco-excise-tax/item8304

https://law.duke.edu/events/seminar-corporations-and-international-law-0/

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/08/oei-hemel-on-robot-taxes.html

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Author: patoglesby

From 1982 to 1990, I worked in tax policy for Committees of the United States Congress. In recent years, I was Adjunct Lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill's Business School and then Adjunct Professor at its Law School.

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