Source: MyFoxPhilly

Philadelphia has become a target online now that people are learning that bloggers have to pay a fee just like businesses do.

Should the city really be going after the little guys for making money online? The mayor says yes.

The city’s recent tax amnesty program brought to light Philadelphia bloggers and others who had reported income to the IRS – meaning they were telling Uncle Sam they had made money – but had never purchased the business privilege license required to do business in the city. That license runs $50 a year or $300 for life.

That prompted the city to say it’s time to pay up!

The complaints come in two broad categories. The first is that this is an assault on what used to be “free speech.”

And the second is that this is cash-strapped big government going after the smallest of the small fries.

Obviously, most bloggers make very little money with their postings.

Aaron proctor is a Libertarian and part-time blogger who began writing for Examiner.com back in April. The site includes paid advertising.

Proctor said he fully expects a letter from the city, demanding that he buy that business license.

The Internet is buzzing with outrage. One site out of San Francisco described the move to charge bloggers who make money online as a “ridiculous action,” and elsewhere as “foolish.”

Mayor Michael Nutter defended the policy when asked about it Tuesday.

“If you’re paying taxes to the federal government, you should be paying taxes to the city of Philadelphia,” Nutter asserted. “Whether you’re blogging or manufacturing or catering or whatever it is you’re doing. This is about business. If you are in business, making money, then you should operate in accordance with every other business in the city of Philadelphia, and get a Business Privilege License.”

The mayor added, “If we had exceptions based on certain types of business, I think if you are a manufacturer, if you are a retailer, if you’re someone who is playing by the rules, making money, paying taxes and all of the sudden we’re not requiring the same of all businesses across the board, you would be standing here, Bruce, asking me, why is the city not enforcing its own regulations with regard to people filing taxes with the feds, paying their federal taxes, and not paying them to the city.”

A spokesman for the administration points out that the bloggers appeared on their radar screen by identifying themselves as businesspeople on those IRS forms. Doing so helped them get some federal tax breaks for business expenses.

Now, says that spokesman, some of these same folks want to claim blogging is a “hobby.”

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