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NAFF tax to hit forum users

NAFF tax
Wind up merchants and those who always have to have the last word might be forced to think twice if the latest Euro NAFF tax becomes law

Apologies for causing any alarm with this piece. It was, as most guessed, an April Fool gag and nothing more.

A new EU directive could change online communications forever and lead to huge bills for some users.

A Euro-wide tax, the ‘newsgroup and forum flooding’ (NAFF) tax, aims to cut down on the amount of bandwidth used by the burgeoning growth in web logs, newsgroups, chat rooms and forums -- such as the Brookmans Park Newsletter forum.

But the tax will fall on forum users and not the sites that offer the forums. All forum members will be subject to the tax based on the number of posts they make and the number of words used in those posts.

The NAFF tax will run at one Euro per post under 200 words and five Euros for posts of more than 200 words.

There will be a further penalty for those who wind others up with their posts almost guaranteeing a response and thereby using up even more precious bandwidth.

Legal experts predict chaos in the courts as Euro officials try to unpick forum threads and decide who was responding unprompted and who was forced to respond in order to have the last word.

The French, Germans and Italians have successfully won some concessions on the number of words they can use before being taxed because of the beauty, complexity and sophistication of their respective languages, which makes it more difficult to get to the point.

But the English are stuck with the 200-word tax threshold.

What is causing most concern, among forum users, is that the NAFF tax is backdated to February 2002, about the time this site launched its new forum.

"Had I known that, I would have thought twice about having an opinion on every issues ever aired," said one disgruntled Brookmans Park Newsletter Forum regular.

A spokesperson for the European Commission in Strasbourg said the action was necessary to ensure that enough bandwidth existed for Europe to continue to function and to allow businesses to operate properly.

"We can’t allow this resource to be wasted with ordinary people discussing the things that they think are important when there are clearly far more important issues at stake," the spokesperson said.

You can discuss this issue in this site's forum.

Apologies for causing any alarm with this piece. It was, as most guessed, an April Fool gag and nothing more.

1 April 2003

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