All over the blogosphere for the last couple of days I’ve seen the same thing over and over again. Bloggers are upset about a Philadelphia decree to start charging bloggers $300 for the privilege of running their online business. Does this mean that there will be fewer blog start ups in Philadelphia?
Of course, cities have been requiring business licenses for a long time. It’s only now that business licenses for online businesses have become news. And for the record, Philadelphia isn’t the only city requiring licenses for online businesses. Boston, L.A. and the District of Columbia do as well.
But it’s unclear whether the Philadelphia business license would apply to small businesses who use a blog to promote their off line business. What is clear is that if your blog runs ads then it qualifies as a business. And that $300, for clarification, is a one-time fee – not an annual tax. Does that make a difference?
I don’t think the license fee will slow down the number of blog start ups. It’s a relatively small fee and even a modestly profitable blog can earn that back within a year. Since the licensing requirement is a lifetime fee, that makes it pretty darn affordable. There is just one thing that you should consider when you start to do business online – just as you would when starting your off line business. Make sure you meet all your legal requirements. Otherwise, you could land in hot water.