The Truth About Philly's 'Blog Tax'

...Is that it doesn't exist. Here's why you should still be annoyed
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2010 2:54 PM CDT
In this Oct. 10, 2003 file photo, visitors walk around the Liberty Bell at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Jessica Griffin, File)

(Newser) – Lately, the blogosphere has been chattering about a supposed “blogging tax” in Philadelphia. The story goes that Philly is strapped for cash, so it’s forcing bloggers who sell ads to buy a $300 “business privilege license.” But that’s not actually true, writes Philly-based Wired blogger Tim Carmody. The truth is that this isn’t a new blogging tax—it’s an old fee that’s bedeviled the city’s freelancers and self-employed for years.

Anyone employed by contract will be hit with this fee, as will anyone who does business, online, at all. Sell a coffee mug on café press? That’ll be $300. Nor is Philadelphia doing this because they’re cash-strapped. The fee predates any current budget problems; it’s there simply because Philly’s bureaucracy hasn’t kept up with the changing economy. This isn’t just a Philly issue either; lots of local governments have similar self-employment taxes that you might know nothing about until they come to collect.

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