Should bloggers making money from their site have to pay a business tax?
It’s a question that’s been doing the rounds in the past week, following what commentators have been labelling a “tax amnesty” in Philadelphia. Thousands of online writers have reportedly received letters from local government reminding them that if they make money from their site, they must pay up.
Any bloggers earning revenues from their online publishing – through display advertising or services such as Google Adsense – will be asked to pay $300 (or $50 a year) for a Business Privilege Licence. Alternatively, they can remove any advertising or other money-making means and have their blog classified as a hobby.
The renewed efforts by the city council to ensure everyone eligible to pay does so have sparked wide debate and commentary across the web, from the Washington Post and Reuters to technology news site Mashable, who say the fee will only have limited impact.
The Atlantic Wire offers a neat summary of the main arguments, from Technorati’s post arguing that a $300 tax is “outrageous” for bloggers who on the whole make little returns, to New York Magazine’s suggestion that bloggers should shun advertising services, rather than hand over the small profits they make.