Writers File Lawsuit Against Charlottesville, Albemarle Co.
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Two writers are suing Albemarle County and Charlottesville over tax laws.
John Hart and Corban Addison announced their individual lawsuits in front of Albemarle Circuit Court Wednesday, July 24. They are upset about being charged a business tax to be freelance novelists while newspapers and magazines are exempt from the tax. The pair says this violates their First Amendment rights.
"I have a real problem with the way that the city has imposed its business license tax on authors, local authors, like me. If the First Amendment means anything, it means all authors, regardless of who we write for and what we write, should be taxed and subject to the same sort of laws. We should be treated equally," said Addison.
"15 years of hard work so I would not be answerable to physical limitations like an office or where my clients live. I don't need parking spaces, I don't need anything. I need a laptop and pure imagination, and that's how I make my living, pure imagination. That's it, and I don't understand why the county feels like their entitled to a piece of that," Hart said.
The Institute for Justice, based in Northern Virginia, is representing both novelists. The institute stated in a release that it will also be challenging the city and county's taxes for being unconstitutionally vague under the Fourteenth Amendment,
The two plaintiffs are being represented by attorney Renée Flaherty.
Both the city and county are not commenting on the lawsuit.