‘No Reason Under the Sun’ to Punish Remote Workers With Tax, as Deutsche Bank Proposes - Expert

© REUTERS / Kai PfaffenbachA statue is pictured next to the logo of Germany's Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, September 30, 2016
A statue is pictured next to the logo of Germany's Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, September 30, 2016 - Sputnik International
Deutsche Bank on Tuesday said that people who choose to work remotely should pay a 5% tax on their salaries - a notion that doesn’t make sense, according to Steve Grumbine, founder and CEO of Real Progressives and Real Progress in Action and host of the podcast Macro n Cheese.

“We like to think of taxing bads not goods. And working remotely is good. It’s helping the environment. It’s doing all kinds of things. It’s making [the] community stronger, families stronger. It provides more self-realization time, which actually helps with mental health and all kinds of other things,” Grumbine told Radio Sputnik’s Political Misfits on Wednesday. 

According to the German bank, tax money made from people working at home could be used to support people with low incomes who cannot do their work remotely. 

The bank’s calculations found that taxing those who work remotely could raise $49 billion per year in the US and $23.6 billion per year in Germany. Employers would pay the tax if they didn’t provide employees with permanent workspace, but staff who choose to work from home would pay it themselves.

Furthermore, in countries where the government has advised people to work from home, the tax should not be levied, the bank advised.

"Working from home will be part of the 'new normal' well after the pandemic has passed. We argue that remote workers should pay a tax for the privilege," Jim Reid, research strategist at Deutsche Bank, said in the report, the Business Insider reported.

The bank also argues that “remote workers are contributing less to the infrastructure of the economy whilst still receiving the benefits,” thus justifying the tax.

However, Grumbine does not agree.

“There are a slew of benefits from this, and the idea of not funding infrastructure is a political decision,” Grumbine explained to hosts Michelle Witte and Bob Schlehuber.

“States and local governments are tax-driven governments. They require receipts. They require revenue to spend on things. However, the federal government has none of that. The federal government requires a tax to make the money matter, to make it hold its value, to drive the need for the currency, but it doesn’t require revenue to spend,” Grumbine added.

“So, the idea that somehow or another, we’ve got to tax the goods of remote work so that we can support the infrastructure [doesn’t make sense]. At a state and local level, maybe I buy that to some degree. I don’t. But maybe I do, but I know for a fact that the federal government could say not only is this a health imperative we do this remote stuff, but it’s also an environmental imperative that we remain remote as much as we can,” he said. 

“I think there is no reason under the sun that you would tax people for working from home, when in reality what you’re doing is you’re punishing a good as opposed to punishing a bad. And the federal government is the one that can handle this without any kind of help whatsoever,” Grumbine concluded.

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