Cities strapped for revenue are turning to bloggers for tax dough. Philadelphia bloggers, regardless of net income, are required to fork over $300 for a business license.
After dutifully reporting even the smallest profits on their tax filings this year, a number — though no one knows exactly what that number is — of Philadelphia bloggers were dispatched letters informing them that they owe $300 for a privilege license, plus taxes on any profits they made.
Even if, as with Sean Barry, that profit is $11 over two years.
This kind of punitive small business tax can sneak up on freelancers no matter where they live. I moved from a small town years ago when they set up a 3% tax for the self employed: a few miles away in another town, my fee was $50 a year.
Freelancers, keep a watch on zoning, and business license fees wherever you live. Expect municipalities to push for more loony laws, and to hit offenders with outrageous punitive fees. I’m betting many webcomickers aren’t keeping a watch on this sort of thing.
When I lived in a city condo, my neighbors spied on me to see if I used the condo dumpster to take out business-related trash. One neighbor confronted me:
“What are you doing at that computer all day?”
“What are you doing looking in my window?”
Neighbors have been known to report self employed persons for running businesses from their homes. Cross your t’s, dot your i’s.
This blogger tax has scary free speech implications. I wonder if it could be challenged on that basis. As I recall, where I used to live, writers were exempt from business license tax due to free speech concerns.
Because I am an idiot, I forgot the links.
EDIT: There is conflicting info in some of these posts. A couple of the taxed blogs seem to have NO ads.
And double EDIT: The city might want to think twice before declaring all these hobbyists new businesses. Because the hosting fees, internet connections etc suddenly become TAX DEDUCTIONS.
And triple EDIT: Yes, I know I use the terms tax and license interchangeably, mostly because I know a license is just another form of tax.