[Adopted 3-12-1975 by Ord. No. 1975-3 (Ch. 24, Part 2, of the 1990 Code)]
This article shall be known as the "Swatara Township Business Privilege Tax Ordinance."
[Amended 12-10-1980 by Ord. No. 1980-14]
The following words and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this article, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- Any activity carried on or exercised for gain or profit in the Township of Swatara, including, but not limited to, the sale of merchandise or other tangible personalty or the performance of services.
- BUSINESS PRIVILEGE TAX OFFICER
- That person duly appointed by resolution of the Board of Commissioners of Swatara Township to administer and enforce the provisions of the Swatara Township Business Privilege Tax Ordinance, which officer shall serve at the pleasure of the Board of Commissioners.
- LICENSE FEE
- The annual filing or registration fee to administer the regulatory provisions of this article. The payment of the license fee shall not relieve the holder from payment of the tax imposed by this article.
- LICENSE YEAR
- The period January 1 to December 31, inclusive, except that the license year 1975 shall be the period July 1 to December 31, inclusive.
- 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.
- A person subject to the payment of the tax imposed by this article.
- TAX YEAR
- The period from January 1 to December 31, inclusive, except that the tax year 1975 shall be the period from July 1 to December 31, inclusive.
- The Township of Swatara.
- WHOLESALE DEALER
- Any person who sells to dealers in, or vendors of goods, wares, and merchandise, and to no other persons.
[Amended 12-10-1980 by Ord. No. 1980-14]
There is hereby levied for the tax year 1975 and annually thereafter a tax for general revenue purposes on the privilege of doing business as herein defined by person in the Township of Swatara, as follows:
Rate and basis of tax. The rate of the tax on each and every dollar of the whole or gross volume of business transacted within the territorial limits of the Township of Swatara shall, except in the case of wholesale dealers, be 3/4 mill. In the case of wholesale dealers, the rate of the tax shall be 1/2 mill. Three-fourths mill shall mean $0.75 per $1,000 of gross volume of business and 1/2 mill shall mean $0.50 per $1,000 of gross volume of business. Each person engaged in a business temporary, seasonal or itinerant by its nature shall pay at the rate of 3/4 mill on each dollar of the whole or gross volume of business transacted.
Persons, business and receipt exempted.
Persons and businesses. Persons 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.
No such tax shall be assessed and collected on a privilege, transaction, subject, or occupation which is subject to a state tax or license fee.
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 by any such person or company or on any privilege or transaction involving the rendering of any such public utility service.
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.
Production and manufacture. No such tax shall be assessed and collected on goods, articles, and products, or on by-products of manufacture, or on minerals, timber, natural resources, and farm products, manufactured, produced, or grown in the Township of Swatara, or on the preparation or processing thereof for use or market, or on any privilege, act or transaction related to the business of manufacturing, the production, preparation or processing of minerals, timber and natural resources or farm products, by manufacturers, by producers, and by farmers with respect to the goods, articles and products of their own manufacture, production or growth, or any by-products of manufacture, or on the transportation, loading, unloading or dumping or storage of such goods, articles, products or by-products.
Incidental use of residential property. No such tax or fee shall be assessed and collected on rental received by an owner from a building originally erected as a private dwelling house and occupied as a residence by such owner during the tax year.
Determination of whole or gross volume of business.
Whole or gross 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 and/or services rendered, subject only to the following allowable deductions and exemptions:
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.
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.
Any commission paid by a broker to another broker on account of a purchase or sales contract initiated, executed or cleared with such other broker.
Bad debts, where the deduction is also taken in the same year for federal income taxation purposes.
Taxes collected as agent for the United States of America, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the Township of Swatara.
Every person subject to the payment of the tax herein 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 Township by a method to be determined by the Business Privilege Tax Officer.
Partial exemptions. Where whole or gross volume of business in its entirety cannot be subjected to the tax imposed by this article by reason of the provisions of law, the Business Privilege Tax Officer shall establish rules and regulations and methods of allocation and evaluation so that only that part of the whole or gross volume of business which is properly attributable and allowable to doing business in the Township shall be taxed hereunder.
Rate when same tax is imposed by two taxing bodies. If any person is liable for the same tax on the same subject imposed under the Local Tax Enabling Act of 1965, December 31, Pamphlet Law 1257 (53 P.S. § 6901 et seq. and 53 P.S. § 6924.101 et seq.), and its amendments, to the Township and one or more political subdivisions of the state, then and in that event the tax shall be apportioned by such percentage as may be agreed upon by such political subdivisions, but in no event shall the combined taxes of both subdivisions exceed a maximum rate of tax as fixed by the said enabling act permitting the imposition of such taxes.
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.
[Amended 12-10-1980 by Ord. No. 1980-14; 7-8-1981 by Ord. No. 1981-4]
Filing of returns.
Every person subject to the payment of the tax imposed by this article shall on or before the date hereinafter specified file a quarterly return, on a form prescribed and furnished by the Business Privilege Tax Officer, and shall concurrently therewith pay to the Business Privilege Tax Officer the tax due upon the actual whole or gross volume of business transacted by him during the applicable quarterly period:
In the event the tax due upon the actual whole or gross volume of business transacted by a person subject to the payment of the tax during the applicable quarterly period is less than $25, such person need not file a return for that quarter; when in any subsequent quarter of the same calendar tax year the combined actual whole or gross volume of business transacted for any non-reported quarters and such subsequent quarter would require the payment of tax of $25 or more, a return shall be filed indicating the combined volume and the required tax shall be paid thereon according to the return and tax due portion of the schedule set forth above.
On or before January 31st of each year, all persons subject to the payment of the tax imposed by this article shall file a return covering all quarterly periods of the previous calendar year for which a return had not previously been filed and shall pay the tax due thereon; provided, however, that if the tax due on such return is less than $1, no payment is required. (However, a return must be filed even though no payment is due.)
The Business Privilege Tax Officer is hereby authorized to accept payment under protest of the amount of business privilege tax claimed by the Township's claim for tax. If it is thereafter judicially determined by a court of competent jurisdiction that the Township has been overpaid, the amount of the overpayment shall be refunded to the taxpayer. The provisions of this article shall be applicable to cases in which the facts are similar to those in a case litigated in a court of competent jurisdiction.
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 Business Privilege Tax Officer setting forth his name, his business, his business address and such information as may be necessary in arriving at the estimated gross amount of business to be transacted by him as calculated in accordance with § 261-32C.
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 with the Business Privilege Tax Officer showing the actual gross volume of business conducted and done by such person during that 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.
Payment of tax and penalties for late payment. The business privilege 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, 5% shall be added thereto, plus an additional 1% per month or fractional part of a month until paid.
Receipt. The Business Privilege Tax Officer shall, upon payment to him of the business privilege tax, give the person paying the same a receipt therefor.
[Amended 12-10-1980 by Ord. No. 1980-14; 4-11-1990 by Ord. No. 1990-1]
After the effective date of this article, any person desiring to conduct, or to continue to conduct any business, as herein defined, within the Township of Swatara shall file with the Business Privilege Tax Officer an application for a business privilege license and shall pay a fee established from time to time by the Board of Commissioners for the initial license fee and for each renewal thereof. The license issued shall be conspicuously posted in the place of business for which the 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.
Any person who shall conduct, transact or engage in any of the business subject to the tax imposed by this article, without having first secured a business privilege 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, be sentenced to pay a fine not to exceed the sum of $600 for any one offense, recoverable with costs, or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, if the amount of said fine and costs shall not be paid.
Each day on which such person violated this article may be considered as a separate offense and punishable as such as afore-provided.
[Amended 12-10-1980 by Ord. No. 1980-14]
The Business Privilege Tax Officer is charged with the duties of collecting and receiving the license fees, 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.
The Business Privilege Tax Officer and his duly appointed deputies are hereby empowered with the approval of the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Swatara 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 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 any rules and/or regulations promulgated pursuant hereto.
In the event the person to be assessed neglects or refuses to make a return, then in such case the Business Privilege Tax Officer shall assess said person or persons on such an amount of whole or gross volume of business as the said Business Privilege Tax Officer deems reasonable and appropriate. In all cases of assessment, the Business Privilege Tax Officer 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.
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 this article. Such accounts and records must disclose in detail the gross receipts and other data pertaining to the taxpayer's gross volume of business, and must be sufficiently complete to enable the Business Privilege Tax Officer to verify all transactions. The Business Privilege Tax Officer is 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 return made, or if no return was made, ascertain the tax due.
Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Business Privilege Tax Officer shall have the right to appeal to the Court of Common Pleas, as in other cases.
The Business Privilege Tax Officer shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, give bond to the Township, with a surety company or other company authorized by law to act as surety, to be approved by the Board of Commissioners, or its designee, in an amount designated by resolution, conditioned for the faithful discharge of his duties, and further conditioned on a just accounting for and paying over all monies belonging to the Township funds that may come into his hands, and to adequately protect the Township from any illegal or unfaithful action by the Business Privilege Tax Officer. The costs of such bond shall be paid by the Township.
[Amended 12-10-1980 by Ord. No. 1980-14]
Any information gained by the Business Privilege Tax Officer, or any other official, agent, or employee of the Township, 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.
[Amended 12-10-1980 by Ord. No. 1980-14]
The Business Privilege Tax Officer or his appointed deputies shall have the power in the name of the Township to institute proceedings against any and all persons who violate the provisions of this article.
Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to empower the Township 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 Township 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 power or jurisdiction to be in violation of the Constitution of the United States or of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or any other provision 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 (53 P.S. § 6901 et seq. and 53 P.S. § 6924.101 et seq.), and its amendments, and shall become effective 30 days after the passage thereof and the giving of public notice by advertisement of that fact.