[Adopted by Ord. No. 147-1986 (Ch. 30, Art. VIII, of the 1979 Code]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Business Privilege Tax Ordinance."
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. 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 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 deposit.
- C. In the case of a broker, commissions paid by him to another broker on account of a purchase or sales contract 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, as long as said dealers, are not the parent or subsidiary organization of the vendor or have no other affiliation or cooperative arrangement with the vendor.
- 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 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 § 428-63 of this article.
[Amended by Ord. Nos. 5-1990; 9-1993; 23-1993; 1-15-1997 by Ord. No. 6-1997; 1-14-1998 by Ord. No. 4-1998; 2-1-1999 by Ord. No. 5-1999; 2-7-2000 by Ord. No. 7-2000; 1-29-2001 by Ord. No. 2-2001; 2-4-2002 by Ord. No. 8-2002; 1-27-2003 by Ord. No. 106-2003; 1-29-2004 by Ord. No. 3-2004; 1-20-2005 by Ord. No. 94-2005; 1-26-2006 by Ord. No. 1-2006; 1-18-2007 by Ord. No. 74-2007; 1-29-2008 by Ord. No. 7-2008; 1-20-2009 by Ord. No. 52-2009; 1-26-2010 by Ord. No. 3-2010; 1-18-2011 by Ord. No. 4-2011; 1-12-2012 by Ord. No. 5-2012; 11-15-2012 by Ord. No. 67-2012; 1-30-2014 by Ord. No. 3-2014; 1-29-2015 by Ord. No. 76-2015; 1-14-2016 by Ord. No. 4-2016; 1-5-2017 by Ord. No. 76-2017; 12-7-2017 by Ord. No. 130-2017; 12-3-2018 by Ord. No. 41-2018]
Beginning with the tax year 2019, and annually thereafter, every person engaging in any business in the City of Scranton shall pay an annual tax at the rate of one mill (0.001) on each dollar of volume of the gross annual receipts thereof.
Every person subject to the payment of the tax hereby imposed who has commenced his business at least one full year prior to the beginning of any tax year shall compute his annual gross receipts upon the actual receipts received by him during the preceding calendar year.
Every person subject to the payment of the tax hereby imposed, who has commenced or who commences his business less than one full year prior to the beginning of any tax year shall compute his annual gross receipts for such tax year upon the gross receipts generated by the business transacted within the City during the first month he engages in such activity multiplied by 12.
Where a receipt in its entirety cannot be subjected to the tax imposed by this article by reason of the provisions of the Constitution of the United States, or any other provisions of law, including the exemptions within this article, the tax collector shall establish rules and regulations and methods of allocation and evaluation so that only that part of such receipt which is attributable and allocable to the doing of business in the City of Scranton shall be taxed hereunder. The tax collector 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 Scranton to the total property or assets of the taxpayer wherever owed and situated or any other method or methods of calculation other than the foregoing, calculated to effect a fair and proper allocation.
Every person subject to the payment of the tax hereby imposed who engages in business, temporary seasonal or itinerant by its nature, shall compute his annual gross receipts upon the actual gross receipts received by him during such tax year.
Every person who ceases to carry on business during any tax year after having paid the business privilege tax for the entire year shall, upon making proper application to the treasure, be entitled to receive a refund of the pro rata amount of the tax paid based upon the period of time he was not in business during the license year. In the event that a person who discontinues business during any tax year does so before payment of his tax becomes due for such year, he shall be permitted to apportion his tax for such tax year and shall pay 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.
Every individual subject to the payment of the tax hereby imposed and who is also subject to and has paid the emergency municipal services tax levied by § 428-20 of this chapter may deduct said emergency municipal services tax payment from the amount of tax due and owing under the provisions of this article.
[Amended 2-26-2006 by Ord. No. 10-2006]
Every person subject to the tax imposed by this article shall forthwith register with the tax collector and set forth his name, address, business address and the nature of the business activity in which he is engaged.
Every return shall be made upon a form furnished by the tax collector. Every person making a return shall certify the correctness thereof.
Every person subject to the tax imposed by this article, who has commenced his business at least one full year prior to the beginning of any tax year shall, on or before the 15th day of April following, and annually thereafter, file with the tax collector a return setting forth his name, his business and business address and such other information as may be necessary in arriving at the annual gross volume of business transacted by him during the preceding year and the amount of the tax due.
Every person subject to the tax imposed by this article, who has commenced his business less than one full year prior to the beginning of the tax year shall, on or before the 15th day of April following, file with the tax collector a return setting forth his name, his residence, his business, business address and such other information as may be necessary in arriving at the actual volume of business transacted by him during the period of operation prior to January 1 of that tax year and the amount of the tax due.
Every person subject to the tax imposed by this article, who commences business subsequent to the beginning of the tax year, shall, within 40 days from the date of commencing such business, file a return with the tax collector setting forth his name, his business, business address and such other information as may be necessary in arriving at the actual volume of business transacted by him during his first month of business and the amount of business and the amount of the tax due.
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 day he completes such business, file a return with the tax collector setting forth his name, his business, his business address and such other information as may be necessary in arriving at the actual gross volume of business during the tax period and the amount of the tax due.
The person making the return shall at the time of filing the return pay the amount of tax shown as due thereon to the tax collector.
It shall be the duty of the tax collector 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 receipts.
The tax collector 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 reexamination and correction of return, and payments alleged or found to be incorrect or as to which an overpayment is claimed or found to have occurred and to make refunds where necessary. Any person aggrieved by any decision of the tax collector shall have the right to appeal to court as in other cases provided.
The tax collector 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.
The tax collector is hereby authorized to examine the books, papers and records of any taxpayer or supposed taxpayer, in order to verify the accuracy of any return made or, if no return was made, to ascertain the tax due. Every such taxpayer or supposed taxpayer is hereby directed and required to give to the tax collector the means, facilities and opportunity for such examinations and investigations as are hereby authorized.
The tax collector may sue for the recovery of taxes due and unpaid under this article.
If for any reason the tax is not paid when due in each year, interest at the rate of six percent per annum, and an additional penalty of 1/2 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. There 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.
Whoever makes any false or untrue statement on his return, or who refuses to permit inspection of the books, records or accounts of any business in his custody or control when the right to make such inspection by the tax collector is requested and whoever fails or refuses to file a return required by this article shall, upon conviction before a District Justice, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $500 for each offense and, in default of payment of said fine, shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 30 days for each offense.
Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to empower the City of Scranton 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 City of Scranton under the Constitution of the United States and the laws and Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
If the tax, or any portion thereof, imposed upon any person 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 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the decision of the court shall not affect or impair the right to impose the tax or the validity of the tax so imposed upon other persons as herein provided.
If a final decision of a court of competent jurisdiction holds any provision of this article or the application of any provision to any circumstances to be illegal or unconstitutional, the other provisions of this article or the application of such provision to other circumstances, shall remain in full force and effect. The intention of Council is that the provisions of this article shall be severable and that this article would have been adopted if any such illegal or unconstitutional provisions had not been included.
The tax collector is hereby authorized to accept payment under protest of the amount of business privilege tax claimed by the City in any case where the taxpayer disputes the validity or amount of the city's claim for tax. If it is thereafter judicially determined by a court of competent jurisdiction that the City has been overpaid, the amount of the overpayment shall be refunded to the taxpayer.