Vivian Paige mentioned this yesterday: Philly is looking to collect the business privilege tax from Philly-based blogs that carry ads or sell products. I suspect that, even though bloggers are making the fuss, the policy probably extends to any website that meets its criteria.
But here’s the kicker, as reported by the Seattle Times (and Vivian Paige referred to this possibility yesterday):
The uproar began after the city Revenue Department recently sent out letters to Philadelphia residents who reported business revenue with the Internal Revenue Service but hadn’t gotten a city business license.
As a self-(un)employed type person, I know a little bit about business taxes.
You really can’t be a business, even a part-time sideline type business, for federal taxes and a hobby for state and local taxes. End of story.
I think that “based in Philly” could be made an issue if someone cares to make it and has money to burn.
For example, I’m in Virginia Beach, Virginia. My hosting company is based in Phoenix, Arizona (yes, I considered boycotting them but I was already paid through next year a). Where the server is physically located I have no idea.
So, where is this website based? Virginia or Arizona or on some server farm in east someplace or other? The mailing address on the check would probably be the determinant.
The story also contains this statement:
Some bloggers are complaining that the fee would impinge on their free speech and would discourage dissent.
“Freedom of speech” is just as irrelevant here as it is to Call-Me-a-Dr. Laura. Freedom of speech is not freedom to be guaranteed an audience.
I decided a long time ago not to get involved with ads for this site, not least because I couldn’t see much income potential from my two or three regular readers. The game could not possibly be worth the candle. I also find most sidebar ads unappealing; I think I’ve only clicked on one in five years of reading blogs and that was for Will Bunch’s new book because I wanted the link.
I don’t live in Philly, but I know a number of Philly-area bloggers, but only two or three of them actually live in the city. I have no idea of their positions on this issue and none of them were mentioned in the article linked above.