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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

What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Faces of COVID creator on telling the stories of those we've lost

America yesterday lost 2,762 people to COVID-19, per the CDC, bringing the total pandemic toll to 272,525. That's more than the population of Des Moines, Iowa. Or Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Or Toledo, Ohio.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Alex Goldstein, creator of the @FacesofCOVID Twitter account, about sharing the stories behind the statistics.

1 hour ago - Health

WSJ: Pfizer expects to ship half as many COVID vaccines as planned in 2020

A Pfizer factory in Puurs, Belgiam on Dec. 3. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech have halved their original estimates for how many coronavirus vaccines would be shipped globally by the end of this year, citing supply-chain issues, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Why it matters: The U.K. government has ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine — enough to inoculate some 20 million people. The companies now expect to ship 50 million vaccines by the end of 2020, per WSJ.