The City of Philadelphia is once again testing its nickname as “The City of Brotherly Love.” Freelancers who live in the fair city and enable advertising on their websites are now required to register as a business and pay $50 per year for a Privilege License. If you go with the lifetime plan, it’s only $300. Ouch. Count in bloggers and freelance writers who get paid per article or blog click, as the City has, and you’ve got a whole lotta love going to the Philadelphia Department of Revenue. Cha-ching.
Consider the fact that many of these bloggers are reportedly using free blog hosting sites to publish their content and make little to no profit on their blogs. They just want to write. As a result of reporting any income whatsoever from their blogs and articles on last year’s taxes, these writers are now being forced to not only buy a business license, but pay a back tax on their meager income as well.
Case in point, Sean Barry. The Philadelphia resident describes his blog, Circle of Fits, as a music-based “labor of love” that has netted a whopping $11 since September 2008 through a handful of banner ads that appear at will. Add in the $50 Privilege License fee and the pending City tax, and he’s paying them for the privilege to write his blog.
While blogs can be used as a means of profit for some, for others it is clearly a means of communication with the outside world or a way to add exposure and content to a site. According to City Paper in Philadelphia, members of City Council are considering introducing a bill in September that would restructure taxes on small businesses. This would hopefully include the bloggers and freelance writers.
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