Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

Victory for Lap Dances in Philadelphia

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

The City of Philadelphia has a tax on amusements; it’s a 5% sales tax. Are lap dances performed at adult entertainment facilities subject to that tax? A court in Pennsylvania ruled no.

Philadelphia billed three strip clubs adult entertainment facilities $1.5 million for the tax, penalties, and interest covering 2008 – 2010. The three clubs appealed to Philadelphia’s Tax Review Board that the tax was vague and couldn’t be applied to lap dances. Philadelphia lost at the Board and appealed to court.

The court ruled that the Board was correct and the tax can’t be applied on lap dances.

“The ruling is simply that the (tax) ordinance, as it exists, as it’s currently worded, doesn’t cover lap dances,” says attorney George Bochetto…, who represents two of the three clubs that were being taxed. “If the city wants to tax lap dances, they can go to City Council, ask City Council to amend the ordinance, and they can start imposing a tax on lap dances. Or anything else they want: karaoke songs, piano playing. Anything they want. But you have to put it in the ordinance. You just can’t make it up as you go along.”

The city can appeal the decision and must make a decision within one month.

Another Reason Not to be a Philadelphia Business

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

I don’t think highly of California’s business climate. Still, things could be worse: I could be in Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love has sunk to a new low.

After going after penny-ante bloggers the city’s Revenue Department has been tasked with administering a new Tobacco Tax. All businesses with a business tax account were sent a form that must be completed by September 30th, or they’ll have a new Tobacco Tax Form filing requirement…and there’s a $5,000 penalty for not filing the form.

I have a couple of clients in Philadelphia (neither sell anything). I’ll be letting them know that they must complete this useless form and return it. It is, as noted by Kelly at, a waste of time and money.

Another reason that, on the whole, I’d rather not be in Philadelphia.

On the Whole, I’d Rather Not be in Philadelphia

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Suppose you are a blogger that accepts advertising, and you reside in Philadelphia. You make $10 a year from the small blog advertisements you accept. It’s not much, but it’s something…until you get the bill from the City of Philadelphia for $300.

Philadelphia has a Business Privilege Tax that requires a license. A lifetime license costs $300; you can also buy a license for $50 a year. You will then also have to file the BPT returns each year and pay any tax owed. For the small-time blogger, it probably makes sense to avoid selling advertising as your $10 of profit just became at minimum a $40 loss.

Is Philadelphia within its rights to require a blogger who sells advertising to obtain a business license? Certainly. Overall, does it make sense? Well, that should be obvious.

Of course, Philadelphia is taking this one step further. The City of Brotherly Love requires a BPT license for, “any business…engaged in a for-profit activity in the City of Philadelphia.” So if you are a blogger in Philadelphia and set aside space for advertising on your blog but don’t sell ads, in the view of Philadelphia you need a BPT license. It’s not clear if Philadelphia is enforcing that part of their BPT yet, but they could.

There’s a solution, of course: move. If the City of Philadelphia has a bad tax structure, consider a nearby suburb. Unlike W.C. Fields, you may be far better off not being in Philadelphia.