Sunday, January 25, 2009

Licensing Writers

In some cities, you have to get a license to sell your writing. I find this twisted and intrusive, but all things are relative. A friend who works for a city does not see it my way; she thinks that cities have a legitimate right to tax businesses--those taxes go to maintain the safety and ambiance of the neighborhood in which I write, after all!

We're still speaking, even though I called her code-enforcement personnel something akin to Nazi thugs.

In one Southern California city where my friend once worked--a very poor, poor city with little revenue--all city employees would write down the names and phone numbers of any company vehicles they saw parked within city limits. Someone in the office would then look up the business and--no matter where it was located--send them a ticket for doing business in the city without a license!

A most extreme example that made the local papers: a medical supply company was delivering a wheelchair to a home bound resident. They got fined, even though they'd never sold to a person in the city and probably never would again. (I believe this is where my "Nazi thug" comment came into play and threatened a thirty-year friendship.)

So check your city codes, if you're the paranoid type. And don't ignore any notices you might get from the city! In Los Angeles, a writer earning under $300,000 a year (IOW, anyone who hasn't won an Oscar for a screenplay) is exempt, but they can still be fined--for not filing their exemption in a timely manner. It's crazy. LAMC Section 21.03.

Glad I don't live in that city.

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