Monday, August 23, 2010
$300 to Blog from Philly?
"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.
Even though small-time bloggers aren't exactly raking in the dough, the city requires privilege licenses for any business engaged in any "activity for profit," says tax attorney Michael Mandale of Center City law firm Mandale Kaufmann. This applies "whether or not they earned a profit during the preceding year," he adds.
So even if your blog collects a handful of hits a day, as long as there's the potential for it to be lucrative — and, as Mandale points out, most hosting sites set aside space for bloggers to sell advertising — the city thinks you should cut it a check. According to Andrea Mannino of the Philadelphia Department of Revenue, in fact, simply choosing the option to make money from ads — regardless of how much or little money is actually generated — qualifies a blog as a business..." (source)
I realize the Mayor is still smarting from his sugar tax being denied, and that the city is in dire straights when it comes to cash flow...but charging for the POTENTIAL of making money? Who doesn't have the POTENTIAL to make money? What about the Harvard grad turned carpenter...does he get taxed on what he SHOULD be making? How about me...a college grad turned stay-at-home-mom? Do I get taxed on the teacher's salary I should be pulling in?
No, I'm not one of the geniuses that reported $10 in Blogads and is now being charged $300. Unless you're Michelle Malkin et al, any ad revenue goes right back in for your domain name, photo hosts, chat boxes, etc. So there is never any 'revenue' to report...