I grew up in the Philadelphia area and I can’t remember a time when the city wasn’t described as “cash-strapped” by the local media. But I’d never imagine Philly’s financial follies would be so dire that it would begin requiring business licenses for businesses that don’t really exist.
In recent months, the city has been sending out letters to local bloggers demanding that they pay a $300 for a business privilege license, regardless of how much money they have or haven’t earned from their online musings.
Says one blogger, who estimates she’s made $50 over the last few years of her blog’s existence:
The real kick in the pants is that I don’t even have a full-time job, so for the city to tell me to pony up $300 for a business privilege license, pay wage tax, business privilege tax, net profits tax on a handful of money is outrageous.
But according to the Phialdelphia Department of Revenue, the mere existence of ads on a blog — or any attempt to sell a product on the blog — makes the site a for-profit venture and thus requires a business license.
Some on the City Council are being semi-reasonable and recently introduced a proposal that would still require bloggers to pay the business license fee, but would not be taxed on their first $100,000 in profits. Also, bloggers would be able to pay a $50 annual fee instead of the one-time $300 license fee.
PS: Go Phillies!