It’s a brave new world for the IRS: taxing robots.
Uncle Sam is padding the Treasury with millions of dollars to assess bots at the same time that corporations invest more in advanced technology and labor-saving machinery, according to experts.
New “robot” taxes are expected to multiply in the coming decades as millions of Americans see their jobs automated away.
“Yes, governments already tax robots because they tax virtually everything that goes into developing and making robots,” economist and author Mark Thornton told The Post. “In a few cases, there are subsidies such as government grants for robot development. But that still means they are taxing you and me to provide the subsidies.”
Taxing robots — a proposal first suggested by Microsoft founder Bill Gates in 2017 as a way for government to tame the inexorable ascent of machines, and to finance new programs like elder care and education — is back on the front burner.
A robot that replaces a factory worker who produces say, $50,000 of work annually, should be taxed at the same level to offset losses in income and Social Security taxes, Gates calculates.
For many, it’s a total pain in the bot. “Anytime employers hear this talk, they cringe because they feel they’re already paying enough in taxes,” said Greg Fritsky, national director of robotics, AI and data analytics at EisnerAmper.
Lawmakers such as former San Francisco city supervisor Jane Kim have jumped on the bot tax bandwagon, as new reports propose novel ways to reduce gaping budget deficits.
The latest rise of workplace machines and artificial intelligence has planners worried. One study by Oxford Economics predicts 8.5 percent of the global workforce will be automated out of a job within 10 years.
A recent study by the Center for an Urban Future in New York City estimated that the city’s 4.4 million jobs had an “automation potential” of 39 percent — including 454,010 “highly automatable jobs.” Over 1.2 million jobs statewide could be mostly replaced by technology available today.
“A more automated economy could pose serious challenges to some of New York’s most vulnerable workers, and policymakers should be talking about this,” said Eli Dvorkin, editorial and policy director at the think tank.