Borough of Sharon Hill, PA
Delaware County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 12-12-1991 by Ord. No. 1213 (Ch. 110, Art. IV, of the 1972 Code)]
This article shall be known as the "Business Privilege and Mercantile Tax Ordinance."
The following words and phrases, when used in the article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
BOROUGH
The Borough of Sharon Hill.
BUSINESS
Any activity carried on or exercised for gain or profit in the Borough of Sharon Hill, including the sale of merchandise or other tangible personalty or the performance of services and the rental of personalty and/or realty, including but not limited to all business, trades, occupations and professions in which there is offered any service or services to the general public of a limited number thereof, including, without limitation, those enterprises engaged in by hotel operators, motel operators, apartment and rooming house operators, parking lot and garage operators, warehouse operators, social workers, consultants, teachers, nurses, health services, therapists, physicians and surgeons, osteopaths, podiatrists, chiropractors, veterinarians, optometrists, pharmacists, lawyers, dentists, engineers, architects, chemists, certified public accountants, public accountants, funeral directors, promoters, factors, commission merchants, agents, brokers, manufacturers' representatives, advertising and public relations agencies, real estate brokers, insurance brokers and agents, cable television operators, operators of places of amusement providing either passive or active recreation, vending machine operators, barbershop operators and beauty shop operators, cleaning, pressing and dyeing establishment operators, laundry operators, shoe repair shop operators, tailors, upholsterers, electrical, plastering, bricklaying, carpentry, heat, ventilating, plumbing and painting contractors engaged in the class of heavy building or other construction of any kind or in the alteration, maintenance or repair thereof, repairers of electrical, electronic and automotive machinery and equipment or other machinery and equipment and other wares and merchandise, renters or lessors of equipment, property or real estate and other businesses, trades, occupations and professions in which there is offered any service or services to the general public or a limited number thereof.
CALENDAR YEAR
The period January 1 to December 31, inclusive.
ESTIMATED RETURN
A tax return to be filed on or before April 15 of the tax year and based upon the estimated gross receipts of business.
FINAL RETURN
A tax return to be filed on or before April 15 of the year following the tax year and based upon the actual gross receipts of business for the tax year.
GROSS RECEIPTS
In general, the "gross receipts" upon which the tax is imposed is the value of all cash, credits or property received by a person which is attributable to the carrying on of business in the Borough, undiminished by any costs of doing business, including the sale of merchandise at either wholesale or retail and services, labor and materials entered into or becoming component parts of the services performed within the Borough. A "receipt" generally will be considered attributable to the Borough if any part of the transaction or service giving rise to the receipt takes place within the Borough or is directed in any part from an office or place of business within the Borough. The broad reach of this general rule is limited in certain situations by state and federal law.
LICENSE YEAR
The period from January 1 to December 31, inclusive.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, limited partnership, association, firm or corporation. Whenever used in any clause prescribing or imposing a penalty, the term "person," as applied to associations, shall mean the partners or members thereof, and as applied to corporations, the officers thereof.
RETAIL DEALER
Retail vendors of or dealers in goods, wares and merchandise; that is, those vendors or dealers who are not wholesale vendors or dealers.
TAX ADMINISTRATOR
The person or firm contracted with to collect said tax.
TAXPAYER
A person subject to the payment of the tax imposed by this article.
TAX YEAR
The period from January 1 to December 31, inclusive.
TREASURER
The Treasurer of the Borough of Sharon Hill.
WHOLESALE DEALER or WHOLESALE VENDOR
Any person who sells to dealers in or vendors of goods, wares and merchandise for sale.
There is hereby levied for the tax year 1986 and annually thereafter a tax for general revenue purposes on the privilege of doing business as herein defined in the Borough of Sharon Hill as follows:
A. 
Imposition of tax. Effective for the tax year beginning January 1, 2015, and each year thereafter, the rate for the business privilege tax shall be as follows: 1) one mill on each and every dollar of the whole or gross volume of business transacted within the territorial limits of the Borough of Sharon Hill; 2) 1/2 mill on each and every dollar of the whole or gross volume of business transacted by wholesale dealers or vendors within the territorial limits of the Borough of Sharon Hill; 3) one mill on all non-wholesale whole or gross business of such wholesale dealers or vendors within the territorial limits of the Borough of Sharon Hill. In no event shall this article be construed to require that any taxpayer pay to the Borough of Sharon Hill a tax pursuant to the Business Privilege Tax Ordinance that is in excess of the amount of $75,000 annually.
[Amended 8-28-2014 by Ord. No. 1373]
B. 
Computation of volume of business.
(1) 
Every person subject to the payment of the tax hereby imposed who has commenced his business prior to the full calendar year prior to the tax year shall compute his annual estimated gross volume of business upon the actual gross amount of business transacted by him during said immediately preceding calendar year. (As example, for the tax year 1986, if a person is in business as of January 1, 1985, and continues to be in business for the full calendar year, then the figures for 1985 shall be the basis for the computation for his annual estimated gross volume of business.)
(2) 
Every person subject to the payment of the tax hereby imposed who has commenced or who commences his business before the beginning of the tax year but after the beginning of the full calendar year prior to the tax year shall compute his estimated annual gross volume of business for the tax year upon the gross volume of business transacted by him during the prior calendar year, taking the monthly average during said period and multiplying the same by 12. In the event that he shall be in business fewer than 90 days in the prior calendar year, he shall be permitted to use sufficient days in the calendar year in which the tax year begins to equal 90 successive days after the commencement of his business, to take a monthly average thereon, and to multiply the average by 12.
(3) 
Every person subject to the payment of the tax hereby imposed who has commenced or commences his business subsequent to the beginning of the tax year, if there shall be less than three months from the commencement of his business to the end of the tax year, shall compute his annual gross volume of business upon the actual gross amount of business transacted by him during the tax year; if there shall be more than three months from the commencement of his business to the end of the tax year, he shall compute his estimated gross volume of business for such tax year upon the gross volume of business transacted by him during the period from the commencement of his business to the end of the tax year, taking the monthly average during the first three months of business and multiplying the same by the number of months from the commencement of business to the end of the tax year.
(4) 
Every person subject to the payment of the tax hereby imposed who engages in a business temporary, seasonal or itinerant by nature shall compute his estimated gross amount of business to be transacted by him for the period said person engages in such temporary, seasonal or itinerant business within the Borough by a method to be determined by the Tax Administrator.
(5) 
The Tax Administrator is hereby authorized to accept payment under protest of the amount of business privilege tax claimed by the Borough in any case where the taxpayer disputes the validity or amount of the Borough's claim for tax. If it is thereafter judicially determined by a court of competent jurisdiction that the Borough has been overpaid, the amount of the overpayment shall be refunded to the taxpayer. The provisions of this section shall be applicable to cases in which the facts are similar to those in a case litigated in a court of competent jurisdiction.
C. 
Persons, businesses and receipts exempted.
(1) 
Persons and businesspersons employed for a wage or salary, nonprofit corporations or associations organized for religious, charitable or educational purposes, agencies of the Government of the United States or of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the business of any political subdivision or of any authority created or organized under and pursuant to any act of assembly are exempt from the provisions of this article.
(2) 
No such tax shall be assessed and collected on a privilege, transaction, subject or occupation which has been held by the courts of Pennsylvania to be the basis for the exemption from the imposition of a privilege tax by a municipality.
(3) 
Utilities. No such tax shall be assessed and collected on the gross receipts from utility service of any person or company whose rates of service are fixed and regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission or on any public utility service rendered by any such person or company or on any privilege or transaction involving the rendering of any such public utility service.
(4) 
State tax on tangible property. No such tax shall be assessed and collected on the privilege of employing such tangible property as is subject to a state tax except on sales of admission to places of amusement or on sales or other transfers of title or possession of property.
D. 
Determination of gross or whole volume of business. The gross or whole volume of business upon which the tax hereunder is computed shall include the gross consideration credited or received for or on account of sales made, rentals and/or services rendered, subject only to the following allowable deductions and exemptions:
(1) 
The dollar volume of business transacted by wholesale and retail dealers derived from the resale of goods, wares and merchandise taken by any dealer as trade-in or as part payment for other goods, wares and merchandise, except to the extent that the resale price exceeds the trade-in allowance.
(2) 
Refunds, credits or allowances given by a taxpayer to a purchaser on account of defects in goods, wares or merchandise sold or on account of goods, wares or merchandise returned.
(3) 
Any commissions paid by a broker to another broker on account of a purchase or sales contract initiated, executed or cleared with such other broker.
(4) 
Bad debts where the deduction is also taken in the same year for federal income taxation purposes.
(5) 
Taxes collected as agent for the United States of America, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the Borough of Sharon Hill.
E. 
Partial exemptions. Where the gross or whole volume of business in its entirety cannot be subjected to the tax imposed by this article by reason of the provision of law, the Tax Administrator, with the approval of the Borough Council of the Borough of Sharon Hill, shall establish rules and regulations and methods of allocation and evaluation so that only the part of the gross or whole volume of business which is properly attributable and allowable to doing business in the Borough of Sharon Hill shall be taxed hereunder.
F. 
Records. The taxpayer, to obtain the foregoing enumerated exclusions and deductions, shall keep books and records of his business so as to show clearly, accurately and separately the amount of such sales and services as are excluded from the tax and the amounts of such sales and services which he is entitled to deduct from the gross volume of business as hereinbefore provided.
A. 
Forms; certification. Every return shall be made upon a form furnished by the Tax Administrator. Every person making a return shall certify the correctness thereof by affidavit.
B. 
Estimated returns; final returns. Every person subject to the tax imposed by this article shall be required to file an estimated return and a final return unless otherwise provided for in this article. Each time an estimated return is required to be filed, the final return shall be filed the following year. If it is determined that the amount of tax paid in the estimated return was greater than required by the final return, the taxpayer shall be entitled to either apply the overpayment to the estimated return for the year in which the final return in question is being filed or, in the alternative, is entitled to a refund. In the event that the estimated tax was less than the amount finally determined to be owed in the final return, the taxpayer shall be liable to pay said tax upon the filing of the final return.
(1) 
Every person subject to the tax imposed by this article who commenced his business on or before January 1 of the full calendar year previous to the beginning of any tax year shall, on or before the 15th day of April of the tax year, file with the Tax Administrator an estimated return setting forth his name, his business, his business address and such other information as may be necessary in arriving at the actual gross amount of business transacted by him during the preceding calendar year and the amount of tax due.
(2) 
Every person subject to the tax imposed by this article who has commenced his business before the beginning of the tax year but after January 1 of the full calendar year previous to the beginning of the tax year shall, on or before the 15th day of April of the tax year, file with the Tax Administrator as estimated return setting forth his name, his business, business address and such other information as may be necessary in arriving at the estimated gross amount of business transacted by him as calculated under § 332-36B(2) hereof in the amount of tax due.
(3) 
Every person subject to the tax imposed by this article who commenced business subsequent to the beginning of any tax year shall, within 100 days from the date of commencing said business, file with the Tax Administrator either an estimated return or a final return, in accordance with § 332-36B(3) hereof, setting forth his name, his business and business address and such other information as may be necessary in arriving at the estimated or actual gross amount of business transacted by him as calculated under § 332-36B(3) hereof in the amount of tax due.
(4) 
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 at the time application is made for the business privilege license file a return with the Tax Administrator setting forth his name, his business, his business address and such other information as may be necessary in arriving at the estimated gross amount of business to be transacted by him as calculated in accordance with § 332-36B(4).
(5) 
Any person going out of or ceasing to do business shall, within seven days from the date of ceasing to do business, file a return showing the actual gross volume of business conducted and done by such person during the tax year in which said person ceased doing business and pay the tax due as computed thereon at the rate herein provided for at the time of filing said return. If such tax has been previously paid based upon estimated gross receipts, the taxpayer shall be entitled to a refund, without interest, of any excess tax paid for the tax year in which business was terminated.
C. 
Payment of tax and penalties for late payment. The business privilege tax and mercantile tax levied pursuant to this article shall be due and payable on the date on which the taxpayer is required to file a return as set forth above, and if the same is not paid on said date, 10% shall be added thereto, plus an additional 1% for each month and any fractional part of a month until paid.
A. 
After the effective date of this article, any person desiring to conduct or to continue any business as herein defined within the Borough of Sharon Hill shall file with the Tax Administrator an application for a business license and shall pay a fee as set from time to time by resolution of Borough Council for the license and for each annual renewal thereof.
[Amended 5-24-2012 by Ord. No. 1359]
B. 
The license shall be conspicuously posted in the place of business for which such license is issued and shall remain in effect for the license year or fraction of year for which said license was issued. In cases where more than one place of business is conducted, a separate license shall be issued for each place of business. Any taxpayer who is in default in payment of tax due hereunder shall be refused a license until such tax is paid in full.
A. 
Any person who shall conduct, transact or engage in any of the businesses subject to the tax imposed by this article without having first secured a business license for the year or any person who shall fail to file a tax return as required by the provisions of this article or any person who shall willfully file a false return shall, upon summary conviction before a Magisterial District Judge of Delaware County, be sentenced to pay a maximum fine as provided from time to time by state statute, together with costs of prosecution, or to imprisonment in the county jail for a term not to exceed 30 days, or both.
[Amended 7-14-1988 by Ord. No. 1180]
B. 
Each day on which such person violated the article may be considered as a separate offense and punishable as such as afore-provided.
A. 
The Treasurer is charged with the duties of collecting and receiving the taxes, fines and penalties imposed by this article. It shall 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 Tax Administrator and his duly appointed deputies, under the direction of the Treasurer, are hereby empowered to prescribe, adopt and promulgate rules and regulations relating to any matter pertaining to the administration and enforcement of the article, including provisions 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, and charged with enforcing the provisions of this article and any rules and/or regulations promulgated pursuant hereto.
C. 
In the event that the person to be assessed neglects or refuses to make a return, then in such case the Tax Administrator or his duly appointed deputies shall assess said person on such an amount of whole or gross volume of business as said Tax Administrator or his deputies deem reasonable and appropriate. In all cases of assessment, the Tax Administrator or his duly appointed deputies shall give the parties assessed a notice in which shall be stated the trade, business, occupation or class and the amount of the business privilege tax imposed or levied.
D. 
The taxpayer shall maintain such records and books of account as will enable him to make a true and accurate return in accordance with the provisions of the article. Such accounts and records must disclose in detail the gross volume of business and must be sufficiently complete to enable the Tax Administrator or his deputies to verify all transactions. The Tax Administrator or his deputies are hereby authorized to examine the books, papers and records of any person or persons subject to or supposed to be subject to the tax imposed by this article in order to verify the accuracy of the return made or, if no return was made, ascertain the tax due.
E. 
Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Tax Administrator shall have the right to appeal to the Court of Common Pleas, as in other cases.
Any information gained by the Tax Administrator or any other official, agent or employee of the Borough as a result of any returns, investigations, hearings or verifications required or authorized by this article shall be confidential, except in accordance with proper judicial order or as otherwise provided by law.
A. 
In each and every case and on a case-by-case basis, the Tax Administrator or his duly appointed deputies, after having first obtained the written consent and approval of the Borough of Sharon Hill, shall have the power in the name of the Borough to institute proceedings against any and all persons who violate the provisions of the article.
B. 
Where legal action is brought for the recovery of this tax, the taxpayer thereafter shall, in addition to penalties and interest, be responsible and liable for collection costs, including attorney's fees.
A. 
Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to empower the Borough to levy and collect the taxes hereby imposed on any person or any business or any portion of any business not within the taxing power of the Borough under the Constitution of the United States and the laws and Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
B. 
If the tax, or any provision thereof, imposed upon any person under the provisions of the article shall be held by any court of competent power or jurisdiction to be violation of the Constitution of the United States or of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or any other provisions of the law, the decisions of the court shall not affect or impair the right to impose the taxes or the validity of the taxes so imposed upon other persons as herein provided.
This article is enacted pursuant to the authority of the Local Tax Enabling Act, 1965, December 31, Pamphlet Law 1257, as amended,[1] and shall become effective January 1, 1992, and shall continue thereafter unless amended or repealed.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 6924.101 et seq.