Monday, October 25, 2010

Taxes for Blogging

In Philadelphia, bloggers may be taxed anywhere from $50 per year to $300 for a lifetime for a “business privilege license.”
 If a blog takes money for advertising, or sells photographs or other goods, it's a business and must pay for a license, no matter how little it makes, plus taxes on profits.

A spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter says the license is nothing new and is required for any moneymaking enterprise, from large corporations to neighborhood pizza joints and all other kinds of mom-and-pop businesses.
In case you’re wondering how the Mayor would know if you made money blogging:
The uproar began after the city Revenue Department recently sent out letters to Philadelphia residents who reported business revenue with the Internal Revenue Service but hadn't gotten a city business license.
The article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about this came out in late August and I found out about it via Sisters In Crime. Has anyone heard any more news on this?

31 comments:

  1. I haven't heard. Does that mean if we advertise our books on our site, we need a license?

    CD

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  2. Only two things for certain in life: Death and Taxes.

    Not surprising, and a sign of the times, I guess - blog taxes, lol.

    So far The Old Silly I ain't gotta worry 'bout no new taxes cuz of blogging, that's for sure.

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  3. I would like to know more. Is it only for google ads, and other such, or would they also tax you if you plug a book. That may just be the end of networking by writers in that case.

    Hopes that is not the case.

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  4. I have a feeling other states are going to jump on this, too. I don’t think I have to worry about a blogging tax as I don’t derive any sort of income from it.

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  5. Yeah, I promote my book, but you can't buy it on my blog, so I'm not making money. And I've said no to all requests asking to advertise a product on my blog.

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  6. That wouldn't be a problem for me - my blog costs me money. I wonder if I could deduct the loss.

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  7. Sounds like grounds for a court challenge to me.

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  8. Jeesh, I guess it's a good thing my blog doesn't make any money.

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  9. I read the news earlier, but I haven't heard anything since. Let's hope it dies a quick, natural death.

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  10. I'm not surprised, especially given the status of so many town budgets :/
    I guess making money is making money, no matter how it's accomplished.

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  11. I guess I'll just have to do my best not to make any money off of blogging.

    But this brings to mind another question. What if someone's blog leads to income such as advertising for published works. Or worse yet, what if a person makes money off of another person's blog. For instance, If someone posts a favorable review of something the other person wrote, and that second person experienced increased sales because of it.

    I know that this is somewhate far-fetched and it would be difficult at best to prove something like this, but it is something to ponder--and a little scary.

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  12. That was my question, too, bermudaonion. I don't make anything off my blog, but if I did, it would be offset by the time I devote to it.

    I do see a lot of blogs that do have advertisements, though. Who they should go after are the bloggers who use other bloggers' work by either stealing it and posting it on their blog or posting nothing but snippets of other blogs then getting money off advertisements.

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  13. Well, this doesn't surprise me. I don't think I have to worry, cause i don't sell anything off my blog. I only pay sales tax on books I sell. But I do have a business license.
    Karen

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  14. I don't think most of us who are in this circle of friends connected by blogs about writing started blogging with the intent of directly making money off the blog. It is just a way to network and learn, and hopefully interest some folks in our books. But this is not direct marketing, and I think that law applies more to direct marketing.

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  15. I'm in the same position as Karen. And certainly never made money off my blog!

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  16. Nope, I've never made money off my blog either. It actually costs me in time. I did visit a blog today that had an outside ad on each post. Don't know what that blogger gets for hosting the ad or whether it's so much per day or per comment, but s/he's making a bit for allowing it. That's profit that could be taxed. S/he might already report it as income on his taxes, though. If it's reported to the federal government, does he also have to report it to the city or state? That seems to be what this article implies.

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  17. I wonder if displaying your books on your blosites constitutes ads. If so, I'm gonna be taxed for each site. :)

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  18. It will be really interesting to see how they draw the lines here. My instinct is like what Alex said--if you make the money directly from the blog, THAT is what counts, but a link to another mechanism and that MECHANISM collects the money and you get your book cut like you always do is different... or that is how it SHOULD work... no clue how it will be interpreted... I have some Amazon links... they would go away, should this come to Michigan.

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  19. I hadn't heard anything about it, but it's a pretty classic government with it's hand out for every little penny and squeeze until someone slaps a lawsuit on them.

    I can see it if you make a substanial amount of money off your blog via products or advertising but most of us don't even have advertising. Sheesh. But I read the article and rolled my eyes. Some of these bloggers made $25 for the year and honestly reported it to IRS and the state. So this city decides their missing revenue?

    To charge $50 a year for a license? Seems like a case of trivial pursuit to me

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  20. Oh oh, there is no escaping, death and taxes in life.

    My Darcy Mutates

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  21. Licensing the Internet is a really tough road to travel. And it's not just a problem for those who run blogs...The Internet is, by definition, a non-geographic place. It is not tied to a city or even to a country. Just like with libel laws, rules from many different countries and cities can be said to apply.

    So how do they enforce this? By address of registered blogger? By tax ID/addresss? Doable, but fair? Just because I don't live in Philadelphia doesn't mean I don't have readership there. So how do you regulate that?

    Complicated and a downer for PA bloggers.

    Michele
    SouthernCityMysteries

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  22. I'm tired and this topic is too...uh...taxing (ugh!) to deal with right now!

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  23. Wow. You know the towns are hurting when... I'm thinking Connecticut will be instituting something like this at some point. Maybe if we're really, really, really quiet about it they won't. ;-)

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  24. It does get really complicated, you're right. And will not be happily accepted.

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  25. I heard about that and it sounds just like Philly (didn't they do license plates for bicycles as well?)

    Good luck trying to enforce that one.

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  26. And we always joke that one arm of the government doesn't know what the other is doing. I guess that only applies to national security. When comes to a way to take a little more of our money, they all work together to get every cent possible.
    (I made no money by visiting this blog)

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  27. That doesn't seem right. One would think any revenue from blogging falls under Self Employment Tax. Something to consider if I ever move to having ads on my site.

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  28. Hahaha, I just finished laughing of Enid's comment.

    Taxes on blogs, it was to be expected. Any opportunity to tax will be used. Fortunately, I'm a non-profit blogger. They won't get much from my blog, but they already take a Hell of a lot from my income (48% I think). Anyway, I don't complain. I'm happy to contribute my share to the society >:)

    Cold As Heaven

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  29. Cold, did you type that with a straight face?

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  30. This does indeed suck. I'm glad that the UK hasn't followed suit (yet) but the recent downturn in the economy with regards to culture/literature will mean that it's only a matter of time.

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