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“Blogger Tax” Sparks Turmoil in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia, oh Philadelphia.

Instead of going after illegitimate black market companies who are stealing American tax dollars, Philly has decided to target bloggers. Yes, folks. I said bloggers.

According to the Philadelphia Department of Revenue, blogs qualify as legitimate businesses and are subject to the same licensing laws required for any business located within city limits. And no matter how great or little the profit, Philly wants its cut from the blogging community.

Naturally, the blogging community is in an uproar about the alleged “bloggers tax” — which, technically does not exist. Although the city does not have a licence or tax just for bloggers, it does require all bloggers earning a profit to register and get a business license with the City of Philadelphia. The license runs $50 a year, $300 for a lifetime. And, just like small businesses, bloggers are also required pay taxes on any profit they make.

For those of you thinking “they won’t actually enforce this” — think again. There have already been reports of bloggers being slapped with the tax. How is the city finding these bloggers? People who reported blog income to the IRS, are being flagged and sent tax notifications requiring them to pay the small business licensing fee.

And watch out kids, Philly is not discriminating by dollar amount. Whether it be $11, as in the case of Sean Barry, or thousands of dollars — all blogs producing profit are subject to the tax.


  1. Ashley Routson | Thursday, August 26, 2010

    Lucky for me, I wrote off my (personal) blog expenses last year. Technically, my site makes me negative money.

  2. Ashley Routson | Thursday, August 26, 2010

    Oh, and I don’t live in Philly …. so it doesn’t matter.

  3. William Bennett | Thursday, August 26, 2010

    Glad I’m not a blogger …

    Oh, and that I don’t live in Philly.

  4. the hoparazzi | Thursday, August 26, 2010

    Whereas I understand the importance of being honest and reporting income to the government, taxing bloggers is kind of ridiculous. If my mom writes me a check for $50, do I need to declare that to the IRS?

    Does Philadelphia seriously have nothing better to do? Or are they really this desperate for money?

  5. Mike | Thursday, August 26, 2010

    I don’t get the uproar. You said it yourself in the 3rd paragraph. If you make money then the government wants their piece. That’s how the US works. If you are making money on something that is a small business. It’s no different from someone that sells items on eBay to make some money. They need to file their taxes. So if a blogger is making money off of their blog then they should be paying taxes.

    Plus as you mention you can write off blog expenses once you reach a certain amount so this seems like people complaining about nothing. They should be lucky it’s only local government and not the federal government getting involved with people making money and not paying taxes on it.

  6. Michael Burbank | Thursday, August 26, 2010

    As a resident of Philly, I will admit that our government tries to pull some really shady crap in the name of the all mighty dollar. Does anyone remember the raid on the beer bars that happened just this spring? Somehow the cops got tipped off that a few bars were serving beer that wasn’t “licensed” or whatever, and then they confiscated a bunch of beer — including the nectar of the gods, Pliny The Younger. Ugh. I love this city, we have great beer, but sometimes I just don’t understand the system.

  7. kristyn | Friday, August 27, 2010

    i find it another disgustingly bloated piece of american legislation. it’s also one of those dangeous doors that once opened can lead to a snowball affect of horrendously imposing proportions. where next? why stop with just bloggers? how much is too much and how much is too little? what about newspaper columnist? magazine contributors? etc etc…

    i make zero monies off my blog and livejournal, literally, but what then? what if an opportunity does come along where i could make a meager pittance off my blog and livejournal? why stop there? where is the line between free speech, personal property, and taxable business reside?

    scary stuff -.-

  8. Arianna | Friday, August 27, 2010

    Philly fail.

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