Consider a tax credit for employed journalists

Typically journalists are reporting on tax credits for other industries. Should news organizations make a case for one of their own?

Yes, this might sound like it comes at a strange time, as trust in the media is waning. But I think that’s a good reason why: we need to incentivize and instill trust.

In the U.S. tax code (and others), there are straightforward deductions for anyone’s business expenses, including reporters, but I’m imagining something more. This could be a payroll tax credit, rather than any direct distribution, so this is an indirect subsidy of a public good, rather than a direct government intervention. A payroll tax credit would essentially subsidize a news organization’s investment in information gatherers, making them cheaper than other roles in the organization.

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How to dissolve a partnership and what to do next

The three of us who founded Technically Philly dissolved our partnership at the end of last year. But it was good news.

Moving away from the general partnership we launched in early¬† 2009, we’ve incorporated as an S-Corporation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for better protection against liability, losses and for better treatment by the federal government (though, as I understand it, if we were to ever sell this thing, it’s a less desirable designation).

That means we closed a bank account, tossed out our partnership agreement in lieu of an operation agreement and started anew of sorts. In our case, dissolving our partnership coincided with our new, dusted off business plan for Technically Media Inc., our parent publishing consultancy that oversees TP.

I put considerable thought into the organization of our business so as to make this inevitable step forward as painless as possible. For others it might be obvious, but if it isn’t for you, below I share some lessons and the steps we took.

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Philadelphia’s ‘blogger tax’ controversy speaks to state of blogging, future of media

I am not going to write about the brief media blitz that surrounded the controversy of the City of Philadelphia enforcing its business privilege license requirement for bloggers.

My good friend and Technically Philly co-founder Sean Blanda already handled well my perspective.

(Quickly, Philadelphia, like many municipal governments, requires a license to do business in its environs. An unnamed amount of bloggers who declared on federal tax documents some form of revenue from their publications were compelled to pay for a $50 yearly or $300 lifetime license, the latter of which both Technically Philly and NEast Philly acquired as we brought on revenue. Philadelphia CityPaper reported that the city had begun reaching directly out to bloggers demanding they pay up, a reality first noted on web forum Philly Speaks and, admittedly, ignored by us at TP, and the whole concept exploded. Soon, far flung media outlets were implying that the city’s license — which is required of anyone doing any kind of business in the 135 square miles of Philadelphia — was for bloggers only. It isn’t. And anyone solicited by the city had advertising or had otherwise declared related income federally. So, considering much of the revenue was limited to tens of dollars, it may have been a foolish chase, but certainly not illegal or unfair.)

Instead, I wanted to share two thoughts on the future of blogging that came out of this controversy.

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Freelancers: the rules and tricks of deducting your home expenses on your taxes

The federal tax deadline is barreling toward us. I thought I’d share what little I know and what I’m reading about deducting home expenses for those of us who have done just that this fiscal year.

It’s a great way to keep your home costs down, but, of course, the rules are a bit more involved than they might seem. Some great reading below:

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How to set up a freelancing sole proprietorship

Suppose you’re freelancing, and you want to do things real legal like — with the tax season on your mind.

If only for ease on your taxes, it’s my limited experience and what others have contended that you ought to set up your own business.

It doesn’t come with any liability or branding protection, but a simple sole proprietorship can do you just fine — it has for me for more than a year. As is sometimes the motivation for content here, I was asked enough times by others about what that means and one makes it happen.

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King of Prussia: the child of Philadelphia tax structure

Your boy Tom Infield had an 1,800-word (not including sidebar) profile of King of Prussia – the 27,000-person outpost northwest of Philadelphia famed for the mall of the same name – for the Inquirer yesterday.

It is the prototype for suburban sprawl that is trying to remake itself into green(er)-friendly, small city life to retain a growing environmentally-conscious and urban drawn population who still might be concerned by the rampant crime of Philadelphia.

The thing is I don’t think any of the 60 online comments for the story came after having read the whole thing – I know mine didn’t.

Because, while Infield’s piece suggests King of Prussia was developed by the convergence of major roads at its doorstep – 202, 422, I-76, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike – it didn’t mention anything about Philadelphia’s aggressive tax structure.

This is something I read quite a deal about for my honors thesis, which focused on Philadelphia’s Republican Party. Indeed, I actually posted on this very topic back in January on the blog I made for the thesis.

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