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article imagePhiladelphia wants fees, taxes from personal blogs

By Andrew Moran     Aug 22, 2010 in Business
Philadelphia - The majority of blogs published by the average citizen rarely make enough to pay the rent; however, the city of Philadelphia potentially sees a new revenue stream from this group: Apply fees and taxes to blogs.
If you run a blog and have Google Adsense advertisements on the website, then you most likely know that you certainly do not make enough to pay the rent. Despite this fact, the government of Philadelphia wants some money from these blogs.
According to the Philadelphia City Paper, Marilyn Bess, a Philadelphia resident who has been operating a blog called MS Philly Organic, a blog about green living, makes approximately $50 per month (she also contributes articles to and has now been requested by the city government to fork over fees, licenses and taxes.
In May, Bess received a letter from the city requiring her to pay $300 for a business privilege license. Bess has also been ordered to pay other taxes such as a pay wage tax, net profits tax and business privilege tax.
When Bess attempted to apply common sense to city officials, she was told to “hire an accountant.”
“The real kick in the pants is that I don't even have a full-time job, so for the city to tell me to pony up $300 for a business privilege license, pay wage tax, business privilege tax, net profits tax on a handful of money is outrageous,” said Bess.
This has happened to numerous Philadelphia residents, including Sean Barry, who earns $11 per year for his music blog, Circle of Fits.
City Council members Bill Green and Maria Quinones-Sanchez find these stories to be outrageous and have now proposed a bill that would reform the city’s business privilege tax, which still requires blogs to pay a privilege license if their websites are meant for profit purposes.
Green urges Philadelphia bloggers to use the $50 per year plan.
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