Do you live in Philadelphia? Do you blog? Have you earned a penny or more from your blog page? Then don’t click away!
Stick around a minute even if you blog in some other town, because today’s installment is about the lengths to which tax mongers might go to mulct or muzzle you.
The Philadelphia government has begun sending letters demanding dough to bloggers who report even trivial revenue from their blogs. The city wants $300 for “business privilege” licenses. Marilyn Bess is one recipient. Her blog MsPhilly Organic earned about $50 over the last few years.
Sean Barry also got the city’s letter. His own blog, Circle of Fits, has been deluged with some $11 in revenue over the last couple of years. He, too, had dutifully reported the blog-generated boodle on his tax returns.
What did these electron-stained opinion-purveyors do to deserve this special attention? Nothing but fail to read every last jot of the city’s tax code — and every last secret inter-department city government memo about when to go after local bloggers — before setting fingers to keys.
Philadelphia’s pursuit of imaginary scofflaws may amount to just an obtuse lunge for hitherto unextracted funds. But the new protocol is also a weapon that could be selectively deployed, now or later, to harass bloggers who publish inconvenient words. Wouldn’t be the first time in our history that the power to tax has been turned to such ends.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.