Township of Bethlehem, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 2-12-1968 by Ord. No. 5-68 (Ch. 24, Part 5, of the 1988 Code)]
[Amended 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. 06-07]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Local Services Tax Ordinance," and is enacted pursuant to the Pennsylvania Local Tax Enabling Act, Act of December 31, 1965, P.L. 1257, No. 511, as amended, 53 P.S. § 6901 et seq., as amended.
[Amended 8-15-1988 by Ord. No. 8-88; 10-16-1995 by Ord. No. 4-95]
The following words and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this § 240-51, except where the context or language clearly indicates or requires a different meaning:
COLLECTOR
The duly elected Tax Collector of the Township of Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania or the deputy tax collector appointed in accordance with Section 22 of the Local Tax Collection Law, 72 P.S. § 5511.22.
[Amended 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. 06-07; 2-5-2018 by Ord. No. 04-18]
EMPLOYER
Any individual, partnership, association, corporation, governmental body, agency or other entity employing one or more persons on a salary, wage, commission or other compensation basis, including a self-employed person.
FISCAL YEAR
The period beginning January 1 and ending December 31.
HE, HIS, or HIM
The singular and plural number, as well as male, female and neuter gender.
INDIVIDUAL
Any person, male or female, engaged in any occupation, trade or profession within the corporate limits of the Township of Bethlehem.
OCCUPATION
Any trade, profession, business or undertaking of any type, kind or character, including services, domestic or other, carried on or performed within the corporate limits of the Township of Bethlehem for which compensation is charged or received, whether by means of salary, wages, commissions or fees for services rendered.
TAX
The Local Services Tax in the annual amount of $52 levied by this article.
[Amended 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. 06-07]
TOWNSHIP OF BETHLEHEM
The area within the corporate limits of the Township of Bethlehem.
[Amended 12-28-1987 by Ord. No. 14-87; 8-15-1988 by Ord. No. 8-88; 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. 06-07]
For the specific purposes authorized by Section 22.2, Restricted Use, of the Local Tax Enabling Act, a Local Services Tax is hereby levied upon those engaging in an occupation within the corporate limits of the Township of Bethlehem during the current fiscal year and every year thereafter, unless substantially changed, without the necessity for annual reenactment. Each natural person 18 years of age or older who engages in such occupation for any length of time during the year, shall pay said Local Services Tax in the amount of $52 per annum, in accordance with the provisions of this article.
A. 
An individual seeking to claim an exemption from the tax due to a total income less than $12,000 per annum shall annually file an exemption certificate with the Township, the Tax Officer and the employer affirming that the person reasonably expects to receive earned income and net profits from all sources within the Township of less than $12,000 in the fiscal year in which the tax is levied. The exemption certificate shall have attached to it a copy of the individual's last pay stubs or W-2 forms from employment within the Township for the year prior to the fiscal year for which the individual is requesting to be exempted from the tax.
B. 
Upon receipt of the exemption certificate and until instructed otherwise instructed by the Township or except as set forth in Subsection C below, the employer shall not withhold the Tax from the individual during the remainder of the fiscal year for which the exemption certificate applies.
C. 
With respect to an individual who claimed an exemption for a given fiscal year from the tax, upon notification to an employer by the individual or the Township that the individual has received earned income and net profits from all sources within the Township equal to or in excess of $12,000 in that fiscal year, or upon an employer's payment to the individual of earned income within the Township in an amount equal to or in excess of $12,000 in that fiscal year, an employer shall withhold the Tax form the individual pursuant to Subsection D below.
D. 
If an individual who claimed an exemption for a given fiscal year from the tax becomes subject to the tax for the fiscal year pursuant to Subsection C above, the employer shall withhold the Tax for the remainder of the fiscal year. The employer shall withhold from the individual, for the first payroll period after receipt of the notification under Subsection C above, a lump sum equal to the amount of Tax that was not withheld from the individual during the fiscal year due to the exemption claimed, plus the per-payroll amount due for that first payroll period. The amount of Tax withheld for payroll period for the remaining payroll periods in that fiscal year shall be the same amount withheld for other employees. In the event the employment of an individual subject to the withholding of tax pursuant to this subsection is subsequently severed in that fiscal year, the individual shall be liable for any outstanding balance of tax due, and the Township may pursue collection of the same in accordance with this article.
E. 
Except as provided in Subsection C, employers shall not be responsible for investigating exemption certificates, monitoring tax exemption eligibility or exempting any employee from the tax.
[Amended 10-16-1995 by Ord. No. 4-95; 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. 06-07]
A. 
Each employer within the Township, as well as those employers situated outside the Township but who engage in business within the Township, is hereby charged with the duty of collecting from each of his employees engaged by them and performing for them within the Township said tax of $52 per annum and making a return and payment thereof to the Tax Officer as follows: a pro rata share of the tax for each payroll period in which the individual is engaging in an occupation. The pro rata share of the tax assessed on the individual for a payroll period shall be determined by dividing the rate of the tax levied for a fiscal year by the number of payroll periods established by the employer for the fiscal year. For purposes of determining the pro rata share, an employer shall round down the amount of the tax collected each payroll period to the nearest one-hundredth of a dollar. Collection of the tax shall be made on a payroll period basis for each payroll period in which the individual is engaging in an occupation, except as provided by Subsection B below.
B. 
In the case of concurrent employment, an employer shall refrain from withholding the tax if the employee provides a recent pay statement from a principal employer that includes the name of the employer, the length of the payroll period and the amount of the tax withheld and a statement from the employee that the pay statement is from the employee's principal employer and the employee will notify other employers of a change in principal place of employment within two weeks of its occurrence.
C. 
No employer shall be held liable for failure to withhold the tax or for the payment of the withheld tax money to the Township if the failure to withhold taxes arises from incorrect information submitted by the employee as to the employee's place or places of employment, the employee's principal office or where the employee is principally employed. The employer shall not be liable for payment of the tax in an amount exceeding the amount withheld by the employer if the employer has withheld tax in accordance with this section.
D. 
Employers shall be required to remit the tax 30 days after the end of each quarter of the fiscal year.
[Amended 10-16-1995 by Ord. No. 4-95; 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. 06-07]
The Township shall exempt the following persons from the tax:
A. 
Any individual who has served in any war or armed conflict in which the United States was engaged and is honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service, if, as a result of military service, the person is blind, paraplegic or a double or quadruple amputee or has a service-connected disability declared by the United States Veterans' Administration or it successor to be a total one-hundred-percent-permanent disability.
B. 
Any individual who serves as a member of a reserve component of the armed forces and is called to active duty any time during the fiscal year. A "reserve component of the armed forces" shall mean the United States Army Reserve, United States Navy Reserve, United States Marine Corps Reserve, United States Coast Guard Reserve, United States Air Force Reserve, the Pennsylvania Army National Guard or the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.
[Amended 8-15-1988 by Ord. No. 8-88; 10-16-1995 by Ord. No. 4-95; 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. 06-07]
No individual shall be subject to payment of the tax by more than one political subdivision during each payroll period. The status of the tax shall be the place of employment on the first day the individual becomes subject to the tax during each payroll period.
[Amended 8-15-1988 by Ord. No. 8-88; 10-16-1995 by Ord. No. 4-95; 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. 06-07]
Each employee engaging in an occupation within the corporate limits of the Township of Bethlehem whose employer does not withhold the Local Services Tax pursuant to the provisions of § 240-53 for any reason, and each self-employed individual who performs services of any type or kind, engaged in any occupation or profession within the Township of Bethlehem, shall be required to comply with this article and pay the tax to the Collector on April 30 or as soon thereafter as such employee is employed or engages in an occupation within the corporate limits of the Township of Bethlehem.
[Amended 10-16-1995 by Ord. No. 4-95; 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. 06-07]
A. 
The Tax Officer shall provide an individual a receipt of payment of the tax upon request by the individual.
B. 
The Township shall adopt regulations for the processing of refund claims for overpaid tax for any fiscal year. Refunds made within 75 days of a refund request or 75 days after the last day the employer is required to remit the Tax for the last quarter of the fiscal year, whichever is later, shall not be subject to interest imposed under 53 Pa.C.S.A. § 8426. The Township shall only provide refunds for amounts overpaid in a fiscal year that exceed $1.
All employers and self-employed individuals residing or having their place of business outside of the Township of Bethlehem but who perform services of any type or kind, or engage in any occupation or profession within the Township of Bethlehem, do, by virtue, thereof, agree to be bound by and subject themselves to the provisions, penalties and regulations promulgated under this article with the same force and effect as though they were residents of the Township of Bethlehem. Further, any individual engaged in an occupation within the Township of Bethlehem, and an employee of a nonresident employer, may, for the purpose of this article, be considered a self-employed person, and in the event this tax is not paid, the Township shall have the option of proceeding against either the employer or employee for the collection of this tax as hereinafter provided.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 510, Exemption, amended 10-16-1995 by Ord. No. 4-95, which immediately followed this section, was repealed 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. 06-07.
[Amended 10-16-1995 by Ord. No. 4-95]
A. 
It shall be the duty of the Collector to accept and receive payments of this tax and to keep a record thereof showing the amount received by him from each employer or self-employed person, together with the date the tax was received.
B. 
The Collector is hereby charged with the administration and enforcement of this article, and is hereby charged and empowered to prescribe, adopt and promulgate rules and regulations relating to any matter pertaining to the administration and enforcement of this article, including provision for the examination of the payroll records of any employer subject to this article; the examination and correction of any return made in compliance with this article, and any payment alleged or found to be incorrect or as to which overpayment is claimed or found to have occurred, or any payment made by a taxpayer who is engaged in a business or occupation or businesses or occupations from which he derives less than $1,000 per year. Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Treasurer shall have the right to appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County as in other cases provided.
C. 
The Collector is hereby authorized to examine the books and payroll records of any employer in order to verify the accuracy of any return made by an employer or, if no return was made, to ascertain the tax due. Each employer is hereby directed and required to give the Collector the means, facilities and opportunity for such examination.
[Amended 10-16-1995 by Ord. No. 4-95]
A. 
In the event that any tax under this article remains due or unpaid 30 days after the due dates above set forth, the Collector may sue for the recovery of any such tax due or unpaid under this article, together with interest and penalty.
B. 
If for any reason the tax is not paid when due, interest at the rate of 6% on the amount of said tax shall be calculated, beginning with the due date of said tax, and a penalty of 5% shall be added to the flat rate of said tax for nonpayment thereof. Where suit is brought for the recovery of this tax, the individual liable therefor shall, in addition, be responsible and liable for the costs of collection.
Whoever makes any false or untrue statement on any return required by this article, or who refuses inspection of his books, records or accounts in his custody and control setting forth the number of employees subject to this tax who are in his employment, or whoever fails or refuses to file any return required by this article shall, upon conviction before any Magisterial District Judge, be sentenced to pay a fine for each offense of not more than $300, or be imprisoned for not more than 90 days, or both. It is further provided that the action to enforce the fine and penalty herein provided may be instituted against any person in charge of the business of any employer who has failed or refuses to file a return required by this article.
A. 
Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to empower the Township of Bethlehem to levy and collect the tax hereby imposed on any occupation not within the taxing power of the Township under the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
B. 
If the tax hereby imposed under the provisions of this article shall be held by any court of competent jurisdiction to be in violation of the Constitution of the United States or of the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as to any individual, the decision of the court shall not affect or impair the right to impose or collect said tax, or the validity of the tax so imposed on other persons or individuals as herein provided.