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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

There's a new idea for a tax: a tariff on the teleworkers who have the privilege of doing their jobs from home.

The big picture: The rationale from Deutsche Bank, which proposed the tax in a research note, is that remote workers are not contributing as much as they were to the economy because they're not commuting or buying lunch by the office or grabbing that afternoon coffee.

Details: Deutsche Bank proposes a 5% tax on remote workers who choose that way of life after it's safe to go back to work.

  • If employers aren't able to provide a desk for the worker, they're responsible for the tax. If they are, the workers themselves are responsible.
  • Low-income and self-employed workers would be exempt.
  • "On an average salary of $55,000 at a tax rate of 5%, Deutsche Bank estimates the average person would pay more than $10 a day in tax, and raise a total of $48 billion a year," USA Today's Brett Molina writes.

But, but, but: "Directly taxing work-from-home is a practical minefield," Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom tells Axios. "I can imagine a huge amount of misreporting, distortion and other problematic behavior."

Still, it's a good idea to address the income inequality that has been magnified by the pandemic, Bloom says.

  • "I would simply put up tax rates on top earners as they are hugely more likely to work from home," Bloom says. "This is simple. We already have the tax structure for this."

Go deeper

Jan 27, 2021 - Podcasts

Remote work's big tax mess

For people working remotely, this year's tax season could get messy — with big implications for people, businesses, cities and states.

  • Plus, why a procedural Senate vote yesterday really matters for the upcoming impeachment trial.
  • And, Melinda Gates on how to help women get through the pandemic.

NYT: Khashoggi's killers had paramilitary training in U.S.

A vigil for journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, following his killing in 2018 in Turkey. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Several Saudis who took part in the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi had paramilitary training in the U.S. under a State Department contract a year before his 2018 death, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: While there's no evidence the department knew that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sanctioned Saudi officials to detain, kidnap and torture dissidents in 2017, the approval of such training underscores how "intensely intertwined" the U.S. has become with a nation known for human rights abuses, per the NYT.

U.S. attorney finalist trashes Labor secretary

Rachael Rollins and Marty Walsh. Photos: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images (Rollins); Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images (Walsh)

A finalist for U.S. attorney in Boston is publicly trashing the city's former mayor — Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

Why it matters: Rachael Rollins’ approach is perpetuating scrutiny of a troubled Cabinet secretary and fellow Democrat — and hints at the independence she may exhibit if tapped for top federal prosecutor for the eastern half of Massachusetts.