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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.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly Priest Johnson e in the t figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.

Who in Congress is talking about Ukraine the most

Data: Quorum; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Mentions of Ukraine or Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in congressional statements and social media posts have been on the rise — with nearly 1,000 already this month, according to data from Quorum.

Why it matters: The growing threat of a Russian invasion has been mirrored by a growth in Ukraine-related chatter.