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  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Now bloggers need a $300 business license

    Strange way for a local government to make money, but now Philadelphia is starting to require bloggers to "register" and pay $300 for an official business license. Below is an article from the Washington Examiner.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/op...101264664.html

    Here is an excerpt.
    She’s not alone. After dutifully reporting even the smallest profits on their tax filings this year, a number — though no one knows exactly what that number is — of Philadelphia bloggers were dispatched letters informing them that they owe $300 for a privilege license, plus taxes on any profits they made.
    I wonder what your accountant would say? I talked to mine and he said the county ordinance only required a business license if you had a storefront or physical office location where you conduct your business. What are your experiences? Curious to know what is happening in other parts of the United States and elsewhere. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Damm thats just crazy if you ask me. I'm glad I don't live in the USA.
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bluedreamer's Avatar
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    And licences to breath the city air are just around the corner?

  4. #4
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    I'm really confused. So if you have a "blog" and you live in Philly, you need to pay a $300 fee for the privilege...of what? So, you must blog for profit now (and hope you make enough to pay the taxes and the $25/month fee)? Let the corporations get their own shills, I thought cities were still about people. Guess I was wrong.
    That whole approach is SO riddled with holes (in terms of legality and logic). Take a page from the old Microsoft or Google, you need to get really huge before you can start strongarming people into silliness like that. Philly is looking to add to the anti-trust laws I guess!
    Way to encourage people to lie about taxes and stuff! Woot, nice moves. Good to see public service believes in employing the severely mentally handicapped.
    Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru DocType's Avatar
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    I'm going to guess and say that Philly has a bureaucratic government.

    They prolly need the money to put flower planters on all the window ledges.

    $300.00 for a business license so I can blog? Are you OOYFM?! Lol, when they outlaw blogs, only outlaws will have blogs.

    Philly is lucky I don't know the keyboard symbol for the finger.

    Wooo hooo, way to go Philly, you should join forces with BP and take over the world.

  6. #6
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    I would refuse to pay on the grounds that by demanding money for an expression of self which has little commercial interest or value associated with it, they are directly violating the right to freedom of speech. I can understand wanting her to label her income under tax records as a form of self-employment, but do you really need a license to run a business in the USA (here in the UK you just state that you're going self-employed, let the tax people know and file your earnings with the inland revenue each year. I guess her best solution would be to cease blogging for payment (or to move elsewhere).

  7. #7
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    but do you really need a license to run a business in the USA
    I confirmed in my area that a business license is tied to property taxes, so if your business takes up any amount of physical space (or square feet) that is the primary reason you will get flagged for not having one on file. Interestingly it is also against the local laws if you do not prominently display the license on the wall of your establishment.

    My wife used to teach music lessons at a music store, and she was notified by the county where the music store was located that she needed to pay $80 a year for a business license because of her small studio. Did not matter to the government that the music store already had a business license for the entire footprint of the store, nor did it matter that she shared that same studio with other teachers. It was the local government's position that every individual teacher needed to pay the annual fee.

  8. #8
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    That seems a little crazy, no way, way too crazy. But in the end, that looks like it applies to people who professionally blog for profit and maybe not the casual blogger ?

    Or am I reading it wrong?

    I know people that blog as a business and actually pay a local business license fee, which is related to this fee. They either have it that high to discourage people from doing it or to make money themselves.

    But if they are doing it as a business and claiming taxes, business expenses and more, it is probably justified, but still steep in my opinion
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  9. #9
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    If it is a personal blog that is't earning any money then surely the business licence would not be needed. It would only apply to business blogs.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Guru DocType's Avatar
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    Why is there no requirement to submit your business license information when you start a blog?

    Because the internet is non-regulated, and that's what makes it so cool!!!

    I think the internet should kick Philly's ass.

  11. #11
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awesometbn View Post
    I confirmed in my area that a business license is tied to property taxes, so if your business takes up any amount of physical space (or square feet) that is the primary reason you will get flagged for not having one on file. Interestingly it is also against the local laws if you do not prominently display the license on the wall of your establishment.
    Interesting, but the thing I would say is that because blogging takes place virtually (and therefore does not take up any amount of physical space as the computer itself would not likely be dedicated for business use along - which makes it a personal asset being also used professionally through a virtualized environment) the rules on licensing do not apply whatsoever. In the UK we have similar rules on physical workspaces having to meet certain requirements (like health and safety) but there's no business licensing like that, and as I conduct all of my business through the web, no physical space is used (as my computer is jointly used for personal and business ventures) I don't even qualify to the requirement of meeting standardized workplace requirements. I guess it's lucky that I don't live in the USA then!

    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    If it is a personal blog that is't earning any money then surely the business licence would not be needed. It would only apply to business blogs.
    I think the issue was she was earning a small amount of money (which turned it into a business in the eyes of those individuals).

  12. #12
    SitePoint Enthusiast josechukkiri's Avatar
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    The amount of $300 is too much. Governments should not make money doing any thing.If the news is true, it is unfortunate.

  13. #13
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    I have no question that "virtual" businesses both require and deserve some sort of regulation. People say the web is like the wild west. I always tell them it's the wild west without the morality! As much as I loathe regulation, a degree is just prudent; being "above the law" just because we choose to conduct our business virtually is little more than exploitation of a loophole really.

    That said, a site that shows profit being charged like 4 times the amount of a brick and mortar business for 'licensing' when there is virtually 0 support and almost no rights/responsibilities associated with said licensing - that's just a plainly insane and unjustifiable cash grab. How you say...usury?

    If you're gonna start slapping up rules, they can't be totally arbitrary and based just on the whims of people "in power". Power is really a confidence game, not a good idea to shatter the confidence of the people (because it's your source of "power").

    I even asked Carnac the Magnificent about this.
    "Charging 'blog' owners $300/year for something the gov't calls 'licensing' so it sounds legitimate."
    "What is...a ridiculously poor idea?"
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  14. #14
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    When I posted the Obama internet killswitch it got taken down because it was political, but now that this is happening maybe my ideas were right all along.

    Internet Regulation is coming.

  15. #15
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    That only applies to Philly. I don't live there, and that is absolutely nonsense!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 24788 View Post
    When I posted the Obama internet killswitch it got taken down because it was political, but now that this is happening maybe my ideas were right all along.

    Internet Regulation is coming.

    Oh, I agree that internet regulation is coming. Companies are silently thinking of all kinds of ways to additionally capitalize on the internet, even from struggling users of the world wide web. First, we had freedom of speech online. Then, it was the free thinkers world. Now, the internet is going to siphon all the money people make online from every which way possible? There's alot of money hungry ppl everywhere...

  17. #17
    SitePoint Zealot ZXT's Avatar
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    That's ridiculous...$300 for what? New regular/bloggers won't even earn that for 2 years.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZXT View Post
    That's ridiculous...$300 for what? New regular/bloggers won't even earn that for 2 years.
    Somebody in office is always sitting somewhere plotting on the little people, on how to capitalize on the internet. I say if they want money from the world wide web, launch your own business, quit your day job, and get a piece of the Google AdSense or other online ad revenue. There is enough money to go around for everyone, without stepping on blogger's toes and juicing someone else's pockets...lol

  19. #19
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    You guys do know that this pisses off people that the internet is open?

    Radio = closed
    Television = closed
    Internet = will be closed someday. I doubt it could happen totally because someone did suggest to me that there will be an open/closed internet kind of like a black internet.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Guru DocType's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 24788 View Post
    You guys do know that this pisses off people that the internet is open?

    Radio = closed
    Television = closed
    Internet = will be closed someday. I doubt it could happen totally because someone did suggest to me that there will be an open/closed internet kind of like a black internet.


    If the internet becomes regulated it will be destroyed by the latest version of Internet Explorer.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocType View Post
    If the internet becomes regulated it will be destroyed by the latest version of Internet Explorer.
    lol, a web browser joke that I can't even begin to get. I don't prefer IE, but what do you mean? IE and opera don't get me started they just don't like my slow internet.

  22. #22
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    This is really stupid. For now i don't think there is an international law that requires this. And to stop a law to be made in Phily i think you should ask for an official meeting with the mayor and with some the representants of the blogging area and to give you an official base for this.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJdreams View Post
    lol, a web browser joke that I can't even begin to get. I don't prefer IE, but what do you mean? IE and opera don't get me started they just don't like my slow internet.
    Maybe is not their fault(aldo i wouldn't use Opera either); maybe you have few space on your hard disk, to law virtual memory.

  24. #24
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    Wow, $300 is a lot of money! I hate to think, but when is this whole get money anyway we can going to stop. I know never, but wow enough already!

  25. #25
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    That's terrible, as blogging can be a good source of income, for most it is only a very small amount of money, and in my case, no money comes from blogging at this time. It is simply a means of communication. Also it seems wrong that this is coming from the state government, considering (as Alex said) that blogging takes place virtually. There is no physical space being used to run the business, and regardless $300 is a ridiculous amount.

    I'm located in Kansas, which happens to be a little behind on technology. I can imagine if these laws do hit Kansas, it won't be right away. I should be in the clear for now, thankfully.


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