City of Washington, PA
Washington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 1-23-1961 by Ord. No. 847 (Ch. 24, Part 1, of the 1986 Code of Ordinances)]
[Added 2-28-1972 by Ord. No. 1114]
This article shall be known as the "Business Privilege Tax Ordinance."
[Amended 2-28-1972 by Ord. No. 1114; 4-24-1986 by Ord. No. 1356]
As used in this article, unless the context indicates clearly a different meaning, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings set forth below:
A. 
Carrying on or exercising, whether for gain or profit or otherwise, within the City of Washington any trade; business, including but not limited to financial business as hereinafter defined; profession; vocation; service; construction, communication or commercial activity; or making sales to persons or rendering services from or attributable to a Washington office or place of business.
B. 
Shall not include the following: any part of a business which is subject to the City of Washington mercantile tax; the business of any political subdivision; any employment for a wage or salary; any business upon which the power to levy a tax is withheld by law.
CITY
City of Washington.
FINANCIAL BUSINESS
The services and transactions of banks and bankers, trust, credit and investment companies, where not prohibited by law, holding companies, dealers and brokers in money, credits, commercial paper, bonds, notes, securities and stocks, monetary metals, factors and commission merchants.
GROSS RECEIPTS
Includes cash, credits, property of any kind or nature received in or allocable or attributable to the City of Washington from any business or by reason of any sale made, including resales of goods, wares or merchandise taken by a dealer as a trade-in or a part payment for other goods, wares or merchandise, or services rendered, or commercial or business transactions had within the City of Washington, without deduction therefrom on account of the cost of property sold, materials used, labor, service or other cost, interest or discount paid, or any other expenses.
GROSS RECEIPTS
Excludes:
A. 
The amount of any allowance made for goods, wares or merchandise taken by a dealer as a trade-in or as part payment for other goods, wares and merchandise in the usual and ordinary course of his business.
B. 
In the case of a financial business, the cost of securities and other property sold, exchanged, paid at maturity or redeemed, and moneys or credits received in repayment of advances, credits and loans, but not to exceed the principal amount of such advances, credits and loans and shall also exclude deposits.
C. 
In the case of a broker, on commissions paid by him to another broker on account of a purchase or sales initiated, executed or cleared in conjunction with such other broker.
D. 
Receipts by dealers from sales to other dealers in the same line, where the dealer transfers title or possession at the same price for which he acquired the goods, wares or merchandise.
E. 
Receipts or that portion thereof attributable to interstate or foreign commerce or to an office or place of business regularly maintained by the taxpayer outside the limits of the City of Washington, and not for the purpose of evading payment of this tax, and those receipts which the City is prohibited from taxing by law. Such receipts shall be segregated as set forth in § 325-33G of this article.
PERSON
Any natural person, partnership, unincorporated association or corporation, nonprofit or otherwise. Whenever used in any provision prescribing a fine or penalty, the word "person" as applied to partnerships shall mean the partners thereof and, as applied to corporations and unincorporated associations, shall mean the officers thereof.
PRIVILEGE TAX YEAR
The twelve-month period from January 1 to December 31, except as hereafter provided.
TEMPORARY, SEASONAL OR ITINERANT BUSINESS
Shall mean any business that is conducted at one location for less than 60 consecutive calendar days.
TREASURER
The Treasurer of the City of Washington.
[Amended 2-28-1972 by Ord. No. 1114; 12-22-1980 by Ord. No. 1271]
Every person engaging in any business in the City of Washington beginning with the privilege tax year and annually thereafter shall pay an annual tax a the rate of four mills on each dollar of volume of the gross annual tax receipts thereof, except that the aforesaid tax shall not be imposed on the portion of a person's business that is subject to the mercantile tax, Article I of this chapter.
[Amended 2-28-1972 by Ord. No. 1114]
A. 
Every person subject to the payment of the tax hereby imposed who has commenced his business at least one full year prior to April 1, 1961, shall compute his annual gross receipts of business for the privilege tax year upon the actual gross amount of business transacted by him during the preceding 12 months.
B. 
Every person subject to the payment of the tax hereby imposed who has commenced his business less than one year prior to April 1, 1961, shall compute his annual gross receipts of business for the privilege tax year upon the gross volume of business transacted by him during the first full month he engaged in business multiplied by 12.
C. 
Every person subject to the payment of the tax hereby imposed who commences his business subsequent to the beginning of the privilege tax year shall compute his annual gross receipts for such privilege tax year upon the gross volume of business transacted by him during the first full month of his engaging in business multiplied by the number of months he engages in business in such privilege tax year.
D. 
Every person subject to the payment of the tax hereby imposed who engages in a business temporary, seasonal or itinerant by its nature shall compute his annual gross receipts upon the actual gross receipts of business transacted by him during such privilege tax year.
E. 
A person whose business is in part furnishing services and in part dealing in goods, wares and merchandise must comply with this article with respect to that part of his business dealing with privileges consisting of furnishing services and with the City's Mercantile Tax Ordinance with respect to that part of his business, trade and occupation consisting of selling goods, wares and merchandise.
F. 
The tax is imposed upon any person who exercises the privilege of carrying on certain businesses, professions and occupations within the City of Washington and is measured by the taxpayer's entire annual gross receipts. Receipts from any transaction are to be included if any event forming a part of the transaction occurs within the City of Washington.
G. 
Where a receipt in its entirety cannot be subject to the tax imposed by this article by reason of the provisions of the Constitution of the United States or any other provision of law, including the exemptions within this article, the Treasurer shall establish rules and regulations and methods of allocation and evaluation so that only that part of such receipt which is properly attributable and allocable to the doing of business in the City of Washington shall be taxed hereunder. The Treasurer may make such allocation with due regard to the nature of the business concerned on the basis of millage division of the receipt according to the number of jurisdictions in which it may be taxed, the ratio of the value of the property or assets of the taxpayer owned and situated in the City of Washington to the total property or assets of the taxpayer wherever owned and situated, or any other method or methods of calculation other than the foregoing, calculated to effect a fair and proper allocation. Every person who ceases to carry on a business during any tax year shall be permitted to apportion his tax for such tax year and shall pay for such tax year an amount to be computed by multiplying his gross receipts for the preceding full calendar year by a fraction whose numerator shall be the number of months such person was in business during the tax year and whose denominator shall be 12.
H. 
Every person subject to the payment of the tax hereby imposed and who is also subject to the occupational privilege tax levied by City ordinance may deduct said occupational privilege tax from the amount of tax due and owing under the provisions of this article, but not more than the amount of said occupational privilege tax. There shall be no carry over of said credit from one year to the next, except the occupational privilege tax paid in 1971 may be credited against the return and tax due May 1, 1972.
I. 
Tax for the period of April 1, 1972 through December 31, 1972 shall be on the receipts during the aforesaid period of time, but for each and every subsequent year shall be on a calendar-year basis from January 1 through December 31 of that particular year.
[Amended 5-13-1982 by Ord. No. 1293; 1-12-2006 by Ord. No. 1753]
A. 
Any person subject to the tax hereby imposed shall, on or before January 5, 2006, or prior to commencing business, register with the City Treasurer, who shall charge of fee of $100 to cover the cost of said registration and, having once registered with the Treasurer, registration for any future privilege tax year is not required.
B. 
The above fee shall also apply to all replacement licenses.
[Amended 2-28-1972 by Ord. No. 1114]
A. 
Every person subject to the tax imposed by this article shall, on or before May 1, 1961, file with the Treasurer a certified return, upon a form furnished by the said Treasurer, setting forth the name, business and business address, and such other information as may be necessary in arriving at the amount of the tax due; except a person who has commenced business during the privilege tax year, who shall file said return within 40 days after commencing business.
B. 
Every person subject to the payment of the tax imposed by this article who engages in a business temporary, seasonal or itinerant by its nature shall, within seven days from the date he completes such business, file a return with the Treasurer setting forth his name, his business, and business address, and such information as may be necessary in arriving at the actual gross receipts received by him during such period and the amount of the tax due.
C. 
The return required by this article to be filed by every person subject to said tax for the privilege tax year of 1972, shall be filed on or before April 15, 1973, and on April 15 of the applicable year for each privilege tax year thereafter.
The tax hereby imposed shall be due and payable to the Treasurer at the same time the aforesaid returns are required.
[Amended 2-28-1972 by Ord. No. 1114]
A. 
It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to collect and receive the taxes, fines and penalties imposed by this article. It shall also be his duty to keep a record showing the amount received by him from each person paying the tax and the date of such receipt.
B. 
The Treasurer is hereby charged with the administration and enforcement of the provisions of this article and is hereby empowered to prescribe, adopt, promulgate and enforce rules and regulations relating to any matter pertaining to the administration and enforcement of this article, including provision for the examination and correction of returns and payments alleged or found to be incorrect or as to which an overpayment is claimed or found to have occurred. Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Treasurer shall have the right to appeal to the appropriate Court or Courts as in other cases provided.
C. 
The Treasurer or his duly appointed representative or agent is hereby authorized to examine the books, papers and records of any return made or, if no return was made, to ascertain the tax due. Each such taxpayer or supposed taxpayer is hereby directed and required to give the Treasurer the means, facilities and opportunity for such examination and investigation as are hereby authorized.
D. 
The Treasurer is hereby authorized to compel the production of books, papers and records, and the attendance of all persons before him, whether as parties or witnesses, whom he believes to have knowledge of such receipts.
A. 
The Treasurer may sue for the recovery of taxes due and unpaid under this article.
B. 
If for any reason the tax is not paid when due, interest at the rate of 6% per annum on the amount of said tax, and an additional penalty of 1% of the amount of the unpaid tax for each month or fraction thereof during which the tax remains unpaid, shall be added and collected. Where suit is brought for the recovery of any such tax, the person liable therefor shall, in addition, be liable for the costs of collection and the interest and penalties herein imposed.
[Amended 4-24-1986 by Ord. No. 1356]
Whoever makes any false or untrue statements in his return or who refuses to permit inspection of the books, records or accounts on any business in his custody or control and whoever fails or refuses to file a return required by this article and whoever fails or refuses to register when so required under this article shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $300 for each offense and/or to be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 90 days for each offense.
[Added 2-28-1972 by Ord. No. 1114]
This article is enacted under the authority of the Act of December 31, 1965, P.L. 1257 (53 P.S. § 6901 et seq.[1]) and shall be effective after final passage and due advertising requirements by law.
[1]
Editor's Note: See now 53 P.S. § 6924.101 et seq.
[Added 9-9-2010 by Ord. No. 1836]
A. 
Exemption from tax.
(1) 
From and after the effective date of this section, new businesses physically locating within the City of Washington, as defined in this article, and subject to the provisions of this article shall be entitled to abatement from business privilege taxation in accordance with the abatement schedule contained herein. For purposes of this section, "new business" shall be defined as any person or subsidiary of the person carrying on or exercising, whether for gain or profit or otherwise within the City of Washington, any trade; business, including but not limited to financial business as hereinafter defined; profession; vocation; service; construction, communication or commercial activity; or making sales to persons or rendering services from or attributable to a Washington office or place of business, which has never before been subject to this tax. Any new business, as defined herein which has never before been subject to this tax, shall receive abatement of said tax in accordance with the following schedule:
(a) 
Year one: 100%;
(b) 
Year two: 75%;
(c) 
Year three: 50%; and
(d) 
Year four: 25%.
(2) 
Any business which qualifies for abatement under this section which ceases or terminates its business activities in the City of Washington within three years after entering into the abatement program under this section shall be liable to the City of Washington for a rollback of said tax that would have been due as if the abatement program under this section never existed, together with the applicable interest and penalties that would have accrued during the years that abatement was granted.
B. 
Any business seeking exemption hereunder shall apply to the City Treasurer of the City of Washington within 90 days of locating within the City of Washington for abatement of said tax. Requests for abatement must be in writing and certified on forms prescribed by the City Treasurer or other representative designated by the local taxing authority.
C. 
Notwithstanding any other provision set forth in this article, requests for abatement must be accompanied by an affidavit by the applicant indicating that said applicant has paid all real estate taxes, earned income taxes, mercantile license taxes, per capita taxes, public water and sewage bill (issued by the Washington/East Washington Joint Authority), solid waste charges and all other fees, assessments, claims or fines imposed by the City of Washington or any department or agency thereof which are delinquent or due at the time said application for exemption is made. In addition, said applicant shall provide evidence of said payments as requested by the City Clerk or other representative designated by the local taxing authority. In the event that it is discovered that said property owner, at the time of said application, has any unpaid real estate taxes, earned income taxes, occupational privilege taxes, business privilege taxes, earned income taxes, mercantile license taxes, per capita taxes, public water and sewage bills (issued by the Washington/East Washington Joint Authority), solid waste charges and all other fees, assessments, claims or fines imposed by the City of Washington or any department or agency thereof, which are due at the time of said application, the request for abatement shall be denied and the property owner shall not receive a tax abatement pursuant to this article. For purposes of this article, the applicant shall constitute the new business as defined herein. If the abatement request is approved by Mayor and Council of the City, the abatement shall be in force for three tax years and shall immediately and automatically terminate thereafter.
D. 
Any person doing business within the City of Washington for the sole purpose of completing a single or series of single business transactions lasting less than six years shall not be entitled to abatement under the section.