Township of Lower Gwynedd, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Rules and regulations governing the collection of the Mercantile License Tax were formally adopted by the Board of Supervisors by Res. 88-17, passed April 21, 1988]
STATUTORY REFERENCES
Authority to enact — See Act. No. 511 of 1965, Sec. 2.
Annual reenactment unnecessary — See Act. No. 511 of 1965, Sec. 4.
Limitation on rate — See Act No. 511 of 1965, Sec. 8(2).
Township and special tax levies — See 2nd Class Secs. 905 et seq.
GENERAL REFERENCES
Tax Collector — See Ch. 240.
Business privilege tax — See Ch. 886.

§ 888.01 Short title.

[Ord. 250. Passed 2-16-1988]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Mercantile License Tax of the Township of Lower Gwynedd," or just the "mercantile license tax."

§ 888.02 Definitions.

[Ord. 250. Passed 2-16-1988]
As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
(a) 
Collector. "Collector" means the appointed or elected Mercantile License Tax Officer of Lower Gwynedd Township.
(b) 
Gross Volume of Business. "Gross volume of business" means and includes the gross amount of cash, credits or property of any kind or nature received in either cash or credit transactions allocable or attributable to the Township by reason of any sale (including resales of goods, wares or merchandise taken by a dealer as a trade-in or as part payment for other goods, wares or merchandise) made by any wholesale or retail vendor or dealer or person engaged in conducting a restaurant or other place where food, drink or refreshments are sold. Excluded from "gross volume of business" are the following:
(1) 
The receipts from a sale of goods, wares or merchandise in which the goods are delivered from a place of business regularly maintained outside the Township by the taxpayer to a place of business regularly maintained outside the Township by the purchaser, provided that such delivery is not made for the purpose of evading this tax;
(2) 
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 or merchandise, in the usual and ordinary course of business;
(3) 
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 or she acquired the goods, wares or merchandise, provided that the other dealers are not the parent or a subsidiary organization of the vendor and have no other cooperative arrangement or affiliation with the vendor; and
(4) 
Any other receipts excluded by the Local Tax Enabling Act, 53 P.S. Sec. 6902(12), as amended.
(c) 
Person. "Person" means any individual, partnership, limited partnership, association, corporation, trust or other legally recognizable entity, except such as are wholly exempt from taxation under the Act of December 31, 1965 (P.L. 1257), as amended, 53 P.S. Sec. 6901 et seq. Specifically exempted from taxation under this chapter are 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 or any "person" vending or disposing of articles of his or her own manufacture for shipment or delivery from the place of the manufacture thereof, or any farmer vending or disposing of his or her own produce, or any other "person" exempted by law.
(d) 
Retail Dealer and Retail Vendor. "Retail dealer" and "retail vendor" mean any person who is a dealer in or a vendor of goods, wares and merchandise, except a person who is a wholesale dealer or vendor or who is a wholesale and retail dealer or wholesale and retail vendor, as defined in this chapter.
(e) 
Tax Year. "Tax year" means the twelve-month period beginning January 1 of each year, except that the tax year for 1988 shall be April 1, 1988, through December 31, 1988.
(f) 
Taxpayer. "Taxpayer" means any person subject to tax under this chapter.
(g) 
Temporary, Seasonal or Itinerant Business. "Temporary, seasonal or itinerant business" means any business that is conducted at one location for less than 60 consecutive calendar days.
(h) 
Treasurer. "Treasurer" means the Treasurer of the Township or the Collector.
(i) 
Wholesale and Retail Dealer and Wholesale and Retail Vendor. "Wholesale and retail dealer" and "wholesale and retail vendor" mean any person who sells to retail dealers or retail vendors and to other persons.
(j) 
Wholesale Dealer and Wholesale Vendor. "Wholesale dealer" and "wholesale vendor" mean any person who sells to retail dealers or retail vendors and to no other persons.

§ 888.03 License required; fee; application; assignments; replacement.

[Ord. 250. Passed 2-16-1988]
(a) 
Every person desiring to continue to engage in or hereafter to begin to engage in the business of wholesale or retail, or wholesale and retail, vendor or dealer in goods, wares and merchandise, and any person conducting a restaurant or other place where food, drink or refreshments are sold in the Township, shall, on or before the 75th day of the tax year or prior to commencing business in any such tax year, apply for and procure a mercantile license for each place of business in the Township from the Treasurer, who shall issue the same upon payment of a fee of $10 for each wholesale or retail license, upon payment of a fee of $10 for each license for a restaurant or other place where food, drink or refreshments are sold, and upon payment of a fee of $15 for each wholesale and retail license.
(b) 
Each application for a license shall be signed by the applicant, if a natural person, and, in the case of an association or a partnership, by a member or partner thereof, and, in the case of a corporation, by an officer thereof, or by the authorized person of any other legal entity.
(c) 
Such licenses shall not be assignable and shall be conspicuously posted at each place of business within the Township at all times.
(d) 
In the case of loss, defacement or destruction of any license, the person to whom the license was issued shall apply to the Treasurer for a new license, for which a fee of $10 shall be charged.

§ 888.04 Tax levy and rate.

[Ord. 250. Passed 2-16-1988; Ord. 321. Passed 1-23-1996]
A tax to provide revenue for general Township purposes is hereby levied, assessed and imposed upon every person engaging in any of the following occupations or businesses in the Township, at the rate hereinafter set forth. Such persons shall pay a mercantile license tax for the licensed year, at such rate, subject to the exemptions hereinafter set forth. However, in no event shall the annual mercantile license tax herein imposed be less than $10 for each of the places of business of every such person:
(a) 
Wholesale vendor or dealer in goods, wares and merchandise of every kind, at the rate of 1/2 mill on each dollar of the gross volume of business transacted by such person during the tax year.
(b) 
Retail vendor or dealer in goods, wares and merchandise of every kind and all persons engaged in conducting restaurants or other places where food, drink or refreshments are sold, at the rate of 3/4 mill on each dollar of the gross volume of business transacted by such person during the tax year.
(c) 
Wholesale and retail vendor or dealer in goods, wares and merchandise of every kind at the rate of 1/2 mill on each dollar of the gross volume of wholesale business transacted by such person during the tax year and at the rate of 3/4 mill on each dollar of the gross volume of retail business transacted by such person during each tax year.

§ 888.05 Final return; forms; certification.

[Ord. 250. Passed 2-16-1988; Ord. 338. Passed 2-10-1997]
(a) 
On or before April 15 after the end of the tax year, every person subject to the tax hereby imposed shall make a return to the Treasurer based upon the actual gross volume of business transacted by the taxpayer during the period for which the taxpayer is subject to tax. Such final return shall state the amount of tax due upon the final computation.
(b) 
Every return, as hereinafter required, shall be made upon a form furnished by the Treasurer. Every person making such return shall certify the correctness thereof under the penalties of perjury.

§ 888.06 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor's Note: Former Section 888.06, Estimated return and comptation of estimated gross volume of business, was repealed 2-10-1997 by Ord. No. 338.

§ 888.07 Date of return; election reestimated and final returns.

[Ord. 250. Passed 2-16-1988; Ord. 338. Passed 2-10-1997]
On or before April 15 after the end of the tax year, every person subject to the tax hereby imposed shall make a final return as required by Section 888.05(a).

§ 888.08 Payment of tax.

[Ord. 250. Passed 2-16-1988; Ord. 338. Passed 2-10-1997]
At the time of filing the final return, if the full amount of the tax due from the taxpayer for the tax year has not been paid, the taxpayer shall pay the amount of tax finally shown to be due upon the filing of the final return for the applicable tax year.

§ 888.09 Duties of Treasurer; rules and regulations.

[Ord. 250. Passed 2-16-1988]
(a) 
It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to collect and receive the fees, taxes, fines and penalties imposed by this chapter. It shall also be his or her duty to keep a record showing the amount of tax received by him or her and the date of payment. A receipt shall be given to the person paying the tax.
(b) 
If the Treasurer is not satisfied with the return and payment of tax made by any taxpayer under this chapter, he or she is hereby authorized to make a determination of the tax due by such person, based upon the facts contained in the return, or upon any information within his or her possession or that comes into his or her possession, and for this purpose the Treasurer, his or her deputy and his or her authorized agent are authorized to examine the books, papers and records of any such person to verify the accuracy of any return or payment made under the provisions thereof or to ascertain whether the taxes imposed by this chapter have been paid. The Treasurer is hereby authorized and directed to make and keep such records, prepare such forms and take such other measures as may be necessary or convenient to carry this chapter into effect and may, in his or her discretion, require reasonable deposits to be made by licensees who engage in a business temporary, seasonal or itinerant by its nature.
(c) 
If any taxpayer neglects or refuses to make any return and payment of tax required by this chapter, or if, as a result of an investigation by the Treasurer, a return is found to be incorrect, the Treasurer shall estimate the tax due by such person and determine the amount due from such person for taxes and for penalties and interest thereon.
(d) 
The burden is hereby imposed upon any person claiming an exemption from the payment of the tax hereby imposed to prove to the satisfaction of the Treasurer, by clear and convincing evidence, his or her legal right to such exemption.
(e) 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection (e) was repealed 2-10-1997 by Ord. No. 338.
(f) 
Any information contained on the returns of the taxpayer and any information obtained as a result of the examination of the books and records of the taxpayer shall be confidential except for official purposes and except for purposes of judicial order.
(g) 
The Treasurer is hereby authorized to make rules and regulations, consistent with the provisions of this chapter, relating to the interpretation or application of any section of this chapter or to any matter affecting the administration and enforcement of this chapter, including provision for the reexamination and correction of returns and the adjustment or refund of any overpayment of tax.

§ 888.10 Method of recovery; interest and penalty on delinquent payments.

[Ord. 250. Passed 2-16-1988; Ord. 389. Passed 8-21-2001]
(a) 
All taxes due and unpaid under this chapter, as well as any applicable interest, penalties and costs of collection (including reasonable attorney's fees), shall be recoverable by the Lower Gwynedd Township Tax Collector and/or the Lower Gwynedd Township Solicitor as other debts due to the Township are now by law recoverable.
(b) 
To each civil complaint requesting payment for taxes, interest and penalties under this chapter, there shall be added a civil penalty of 10% of the tax or $300, whichever is greater, together with the costs of suit and reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the Township as provided by the Local Tax Collection Act, being the Act of May 15, 1945 (Pt. 1050), Sec. 21, 72 P.S. § 5511.21 et seq. Recognizing that much additional time is required of the Lower Gwynedd Township Tax Collector to prepare and file a civil complaint before the local District Justice, prepare for a hearing before the local District Justice, conduct settlement negotiations, prepare payment plans and other additional functions necessitated by the collection process and litigation, the Lower Gwynedd Township Tax Collector shall be entitled to additional compensation in the amount of $300 to be paid from the penalty portion of each fully paid settlement or judgment. All civil penalties lawfully levied and collected which are in addition to the minimum civil penalty of $300 shall be paid to Lower Gwynedd Township. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the award of attorney's fees for collection efforts.
(c) 
All taxes due under this chapter shall bear interest at the rate of 1 1/4% per month or fractional part of a month, from the day they are due and payable until paid.

§ 888.11 Nontaxable persons and businesses; severability; rules and regulations of Collector.

[Ord. 250. Passed 2-16-1988]
(a) 
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to empower the Township to assess, 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 Township under the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution and laws of the commonwealth.
(b) 
The provisions of this chapter are severable, and if any of its provisions or exemptions are held to be illegal, invalid or unconstitutional, or invalid or unconstitutional as to any part of the period designated herein as the tax year, the decision of any court shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions of this chapter, or affect or impair its application as to any other part of such tax year, and the requirements as to the tax shall operate as of the effective date of this chapter and the computation of tax and payment thereof shall be applied and adjusted accordingly.
(c) 
The Collector is hereby authorized to make rules and regulations consistent with the provisions of this chapter relating to the interpretation or application of any taxing section thereof or with respect to any matter affecting the administration and enforcement of this chapter, including provision for the examination and correction of returns, and the adjustment or refund of any overpayment of tax within the time provided by law.

§ 888.12 Apportionment of tax for initial tax year.

[Ord. 250. Passed 2-16-1988]
The tax imposed by this chapter shall be imposed on the gross receipts for that portion of the tax year commencing with the effective date of this chapter (April 1, 1988), and the estimated gross volume of business determined under this chapter shall be apportioned accordingly.

§ 888.99 Penalty. [1]

[1]
Editor's Note: See Section 810.99 for general Code penalty if no specific penalty is provided.