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Philadelphia Imposes $300 Blogger License Fee


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The Washington Examiner reports Philly requiring bloggers to pay $300 for a business license

Between her blog and infrequent contributions to ehow.com, over the last few years she says she’s made about $50. To [Marilyn] Bess, her website is a hobby. To the city of Philadelphia, it’s a potential moneymaker, and the city wants its cut.

In May, the city sent Bess a letter demanding that she pay $300, the price of a business privilege license.

“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,” Bess says.

When Bess pressed her case to officials with the city’s now-closed tax amnesty program, she says, “I was told to hire an accountant.”

To say that these kinds of draconian measures are detrimental to the public discourse would be an understatement.

The Broad Street Hockey Blog comments on City of Philadelphia Charging Bloggers

City Hall wants your money. A lot of it.

We don't get into politics on this blog often. In fact, I don't believe we ever have. This, however, is an issue that could directly impact this blog and, honestly, any one of you.

When I started blogging two years ago, I wouldn't have been able to afford a $300 fee. Yet at the same time, I needed to keep ads on my pre-SBN site to earn enough to cover the server costs and the domain registration. None of the money went into my pocket. It wasn't a lot of money and the small ads were enough to cover costs, but without them, I wouldn't have been able to run the site.

By enforcing this law on bloggers who make little-to-no-money off of their sites, the City of Philadelphia is robbing its citizens of the opportunity to create. It's robbing them -- and the city itself, really -- at a change to innovate.

Philadelphia is amazingly desperate. Any city that would take this action is clearly in deep trouble.

Just think we all might need a licence to post on HPC soon.

£200 a year to post your views and bankroll the bank bailout.

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It just looks like they're clamping down on people making money without declaring it.

Yes, the public are assumed guilty first. Pretty draconian measure. I can't see many bloggers actually making a real income from it though - for many its just a hobby and expressing freedom of speech.

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It just looks like they're clamping down on people making money without declaring it.

On the face of it, it does seem quite sinister, but I wonder how many bloggers who make money from ads actually declare it?

The state is right, hire and accountant if you have revenue coming in, no matter how small.

If you were to set up a stall in the high street handing out a4 sheets with your thoughts on, and letting Tesco pay for an advert on the stand, you'd have to declare that income and pay tax on it if you're making a profit. At the least you'd be expected to file some sort of accounts.

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