Monday, December 22, 2014

Philly's 'blogger tax' meets 'business privilege'

Update on the city's smallest-business fees

Philly's 'blogger tax' meets 'business privilege'

There's no "Philly blogger tax" (Tim Carmody takes the story apart nicely for Wired Epicenter here), but Philadelphia tax and culture officials still understand they have a public relations problem with the application of the city "business privilege" tax and licensing fee to even marginal bloggers who happen to collect the odd advertising buck or two.

So city officials met with a group of bloggers last week and talked about how taxing bloggers might not be desirable but would be hard to stop. My Inquirer colleague Robert Moran wrote about the meeting here. Freelance mainstream-TV-news producer Laura Goldman writes a longer account here at NakedPhiladelphian.

The larger question: Is the city's application of its Business Privilege fee on even the most marginal businesses a good idea? According to people at last week's meeting: Yes, if you're a not-so-marginal business looking to keep out competition!

ADD: City Councilmembers Bill Geren and Maria Quinones-Sanchez want to eliminate the business-privilege tax for businesses with sales under $100,000 a year. But their bill (which Mayor Nutter is skeptical about) would still require a $300 lifetime (or $50 monthly) business privilege fee. Green chief of staff Sophie Bryan says the councilman is looking at ways the fee might be waived for very small businesses, like most blogs.

Joseph N. DiStefano
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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