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Tax For Philadelphia Bloggers

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

30 August 2010

The US city of Philadelphia has courted controversy by insisting that those who earn revenue, no matter how minute, from their internet blog sites must pay for a business privilege license.

The furor began after city residents started receiving letters from the Revenue Department, tracking those down who had reported business revenue without a business license. Philadelphia City Paper then fanned the flames with an article highlighting the crackdown’s victimization of small-scale bloggers.

The city's business privilege license costs USD50 for a year or USD300 for a lifetime. Bloggers are also reportedly being asked to pay local profits tax.

Bloggers have criticized the mandate as an infringement of their rights to free speech, and say that it is unfair to demand taxes from individuals making sums as low as USD25 in a year.

The Philadelphia Department of Revenue responded to the controversy by saying that simply choosing to make money through advertising, regardless of the amount, qualifies a blog as a business.

Legislation has been proposed that will amend the licensing requirements for all small businesses, including blogs. Though licensing would remain mandatory, profits would only be taxed after the first USD100,000.

TAGS: individuals | tax | small business | business | commerce | internet | e-commerce | United States

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