[Adopted 10-6-2011 by Ord. No. 1845]
The following words and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context or language clearly indicates or requires a different meaning:
- The City of Washington, Washington County, Pennsylvania.
- The person, public employee or private agency approved by the Washington County Tax Collection Committee to collect and administer the tax herein imposed.
- The Department of Community and Economic Development of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- EARNED INCOME
- The compensation required to be reported, as determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue under Section 303 of the Tax Reform Code of 1971, as amended, and rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. Employee business expenses as reported to or determined by the Department of Revenue under Article III of the Tax Reform Code shall constitute allowable deductions in determining earned income. The term does not include offsets for business losses. The amount of any housing allowance provided to a member of the clergy shall not be taxable as earned income.
- EFFECTIVE DATE
- January 1, 2012.
- A person, business entity or other entity employing one of more person for a salary, wage, commission or other compensation. The term includes the commonwealth, a political subdivision and an instrumentality or public authority of either. For purposes of penalties under this article, the term includes a corporate officer.
- HE, HIS or HIM
- Indicates the singular and plural number, as well as male, female and neuter genders.
- Any person, male or female, engaged in any occupation, trade or profession within the corporate limits of the City.
- LOCAL TAX ENABLING ACT
- The Local Tax Enabling Act, 53 P.S. § 6924.101 et seq., and any amendments thereto.
- NET PROFITS
- The net income from the operation of a business, profession, or other activity, as required to be reported or determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue under Section 303 of the Tax Reform Code of 1971, as amended, and rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. The term does not include income under any of the following:
- Any trade, profession, business or undertaking of any kind or character, including services, domestic or other, earned in or performed within the corporate limits of the political subdivision, for which compensation is charged or received, whether by means of salary, wages, commission or fees for services rendered.
- A natural person.
- POLITICAL SUBDIVISION
- Includes cities, boroughs and public school districts.
- The local services tax at the rate fixed in this article.
- The Washington County Tax Collection Committee.
- TAX YEAR
- The period from January 1 until December 31 in any year; a calendar year.
Editor's Note: See 72 P.S. § 7101 et seq.
For specific revenue purposes, an annual tax is hereby levied and assessed, commencing January 1, 2012, upon the privilege of engaging in an occupation with a primary place of employment within the City during the tax year. Each natural person who exercises such privilege for any length of time during any tax year shall pay the tax for that year in the amount of $52, assessed on a pro rata basis, in accordance with the provisions of this article. This tax may be used solely for the following purposes, as the same may be allocated by the City from time to time: 1) emergency services, which shall include emergency medical services, police services and/or fire services; 2) road construction and/or maintenance; 3) reduction of property taxes; or 4) property tax relief through implementation of a homestead property exclusion in accordance with 53 Pa.C.S.A. Chapter 85, Subchapter F (relating to homestead property exclusion). The City shall use no less than 25% of the funds derived from the tax for emergency services. This tax is in addition to all other taxes of any kind or nature heretofore levied by the City. The tax shall be no more than $52 on each person for each calendar year, irrespective of the number of political subdivisions within which a person may be employed.
Editor's Note: See 53 Pa.C.S.A. § 8581 et seq.
Exemption. Any person whose total earned income and net profits from all sources within the political subdivision is less than $12,000 for any calendar year in which the tax is levied is exempt from the payment of the tax for that calendar year. In addition, the following persons are exempt from payment of the tax:
Any person 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 its successor to be a total one-hundred-percent disability.
Any person who serves as a member of a reserve component of the armed forces and is called to active duty at any time during the taxable year. For the purposes of this subparagraph, "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.
Procedure to claim exemption.
A person seeking to claim an exemption from the local services tax may annually file an exemption certificate with the Collector with the person's employer affirming that the person reasonably expects to receive earned income and net profits from all sources within the City of less than $12,000 in the calendar year for which the exemption certificate is filed. The exemption certificate shall have attached to it a copy of all the employee's last pay stubs or W-2 forms from employment within the political subdivision for the year prior to the fiscal year for which the employee is requesting to be exempted from the tax. Upon receipt of the exemption certificate and until otherwise instructed by the political subdivision or except as required by Subsection B(2), the employer shall not withhold the tax from the person during the calendar year or the remainder of the calendar year for which the exemption certificate applies. Employers shall ensure that the exemption certificate forms are readily available to employees at all times and shall furnish each new employee with a form at the time of hiring. The exemption certificate form shall be the uniform form provided by the political subdivision.
With respect to a person who claimed an exemption for a given calendar year from the tax, upon notification to an employer by the person or by the political subdivision that the person has received earned income and net profits from all sources within the political subdivision equal to or in excess of $12,000 in that calendar year or that the person is otherwise ineligible for the tax exemption for that calendar year, or upon an employer's payment to the person of earned income within the municipality in an amount equal to or in excess of $12,000 in that calendar year, an employer shall withhold the local services tax from the person under Subsection B(3).
If a person who claimed an extension for a given calendar year from the tax becomes subject to the tax for the calendar year under Subsection B(2), the employer shall withhold the tax for the remainder of that calendar year. The employer shall withhold from the person, for the first payroll period after receipt of the notification under Subsection B(2), a lump sum equal to the amount of tax that was not withheld from the person due to the exemption claimed by the person under this subsection, plus the per-payroll amount due for that first payroll period. The amount of tax withheld per payroll period for the remaining payroll periods in that calendar year shall be the same amount withheld for other employees. In the event the employment of a person subject to withholding of the tax under this clause is subsequently severed in that calendar year, the person shall be liable for any outstanding balance of tax due, and the political subdivision may pursue collection under this article.
Refunds. The TCC, in consultation with the Collector and DCED, shall establish procedures for the processing of refund claims for any tax paid by any person who is eligible for exemption, which procedures shall be in accord with provisions of the General Municipal Law relating to refunds of overpayments and interest on overpayments. 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 calendar year, whichever is later, shall not be subject to interest. No refunds shall be made for amounts overpaid in a calendar year that do not exceed $1. The Collector shall determine eligibility for exemption and provide refunds to exempt persons.
Each employer within the City, as well as those employers situated outside the City but who engage in business within the City, is hereby charged with the duty of collecting the tax from each employee engaged by him or performing for him within the City and making a return and payment thereof to the Collector. Further, each employer is hereby authorized to deduct this tax for each employee in his or her employ, whether said employee is paid by salary, wage or commission and whether or not all such services are performed within the City.
A person subject to the tax shall be assessed by the employer a pro rata share of the tax for each payroll period in which the person is engaging in an occupation. The pro rata share of the tax assessed on the person for a payroll period shall be determined by dividing the rate of the tax levied for the calendar year by the number of payroll periods established by the employer for the calendar 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 1/100 of a dollar. Collection of the tax shall be made on a payroll-period basis for each payroll period in which the person is engaging in an occupation, except as provided in Subsection D of this section. For purposes of this subsection, "combined rate" shall mean the aggregate annual rate of the tax levied by the School District and the City.
No person shall be subject to the payment of the local services tax by more than one political subdivision during each payroll period.
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. The employee's statement shall be provided on the form approved by DCED.
The tax shall be $52 on each person for each calendar year, irrespective of the number of political subdivisions within which a person may be employed. The political subdivision shall provide a taxpayer a receipt of payment upon request by the taxpayer.
No employer shall be held liable for failure to withhold the tax or for the payment of the withheld tax money to the City 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. Further, an employer shall not be liable for payment of the local services tax in an amount exceeding the amount withheld by the employer if the employer complies with the provisions of this article and remits the amount so withheld in accordance with this article.
Employers shall be required to remit the local services taxes 30 days after the end of each quarter of a calendar year.
Each employer shall prepare and file a return showing a computation of the tax on forms to be supplied to the employer by the Collector. If an employer fails to file the return and pay the tax, whether or not the employer makes collection thereof from the salary, wages or commissions paid by him or her to an employee, except as provided hereafter in this article, the employer shall be responsible for the payment of the tax in full as though the tax had been originally levied against the employer.
In each tax year, each employer shall use his or her employment records to determine the number of employees from whom such tax shall be deducted and paid over to the Collector on or before the 30th day following the end of each calendar quarter of each such tax year.
Each self-employed individual who performs services of any type or kind or engages in any occupation or profession within a primary place of employment within the City shall be required to comply with this article and pay the pro rata portion of the tax due to the Collector on or before the 30th day following the end of each quarter.
The situs of the tax shall be the place of employment on the first day the person becomes subject to the tax during each payroll period. In the event a person is engaged in more than one occupation, that is, concurrent employment, or an occupation which required the person working in more than one political subdivision during a payroll period, the priority of claim to collect the local services tax shall be in the following order:
First, the political subdivision in which a person maintains his or her principal office or is principally employed;
Second, the political subdivision in which the person resides and works if the tax is levied by that political subdivision; and
Third, the political subdivision in which a person is employed and which imposed the tax nearest in miles to the person's home.
In case of dispute, a tax receipt of the taxing authority for that calendar year declaring that the taxpayer has made prior payment constitutes prima facie certification of payment to all other political subdivisions.
All employers and self-employed individuals residing or having their places of business outside of the political subdivision but who perform services of any type or kind or engage in any occupation or profession within the political subdivision 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 political subdivision. Further, any individual engaged in an occupation within the political subdivision and an employee of a nonresidential employer may, for the purpose of this section, be considered a self-employed person, and in the event his or her tax is not paid, the political subdivision shall have the option of proceeding against either the employer or employee for the collection of this tax as hereinafter provided.
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.
The Collector is hereby charged with the administration and enforcement of this article and is hereby charged and empowered, subject to TCC approval, to prescribe, adopt and promulgate rules and regulations relating to any matter pertaining to the administration and enforcement of this article, including provisions for the examination of 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. Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Collector shall have the right to appeal consistent with the Local Taxpayers Bill of Rights under Act 50 of 1998 (municipalities may detail their appeal processes).
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.
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.
If for any reason the tax is not paid when due, interest at the rate of 6% on the amount of such tax shall be calculated beginning with the due date of the tax, and a penalty of 5% shall be added to the flat rate for nonpayment thereof. Where suit is brought for the recovery of this tax or other appropriate remedy undertaken, 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 whoever refuses inspection of the books, records or accounts in his or her custody and control setting forth the number of employees subject to this tax who are in his or her employment, or whoever fails or refuses to file any return required by this article shall be guilty of a violation and, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $600 and costs of prosecution and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, to imprisonment for not more than 30 days. The action to enforce the penalty herein prescribed may be instituted against any person in charge of the business of any employer who shall have failed or who refuses to file a return required by this article.
The tax imposed by this article shall be effective on January 1, 2012, and all calendar years thereafter unless repealed or modified by ordinance of the City.