Philadelphia not showing any brotherly blogger love: City wants $300 license fee

Philly demands business privilege tax from bloggers

The City of Philadelphia has found a sure fire way to piss off the entire Internet community by demanding a $300 "business privilege license" for local bloggers.  Specifically, bloggers can pay $300 for a lifetime license or $50 per year.

Do we need a Federal law for electronics recycling?

Oh yeah, and the city wants taxes on any profits the blog might have made - that would be in addition to any money the Feds or the state grabbed up.

From the Philadelphia City Paper: For the past three years, Marilyn Bess has operated MS Philly Organic, a small, low-traffic blog that features occasional posts about green living, out of her Manayunk home. Between her blog and infrequent contributions to ehow.com, over the last few years she says she's made about $50. To 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.  It would be one thing if Bess' website were, well, an actual business, or if the amount of money the city wanted didn't outpace her earnings six-fold. Sure, the city has its rules; and yes, cash-strapped cities can't very well ignore potential sources of income. But at the same time, there must be some room for discretion and common sense. 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."

The city doesn't care whether the blog makes $2 or $200 million, it wants a cut. Has it really come to this?

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