[Adopted 8-31-1992 by Ord. No. 415B (Ch. 24, Part 5, of the 2003 Code of Ordinances)]
This article shall be known as the "Amended Business Privilege Tax Ordinance."
The following words and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meaning ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- Any activity carried on or exercised for gain or profit in the City of Lock Haven including, but not limited to, the sale of merchandise or other tangible personalty, the performance of services and the rental of personalty and/or realty.
- CALENDAR YEAR
- The period January 1 to December 31, inclusive.
- The City of Lock Haven, Clinton County, Pennsylvania.
- COMMON CONTROL
- Those business entities whose income is combined for the purpose of inclusion on a single federal individual, partnership or corporate tax return.
- 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 the association shall mean the partners or members thereof, and as applied to corporation, the officers thereof.
- TAX ADMINISTRATOR
- The person or agency duly appointed by the City of Lock Haven to administer the within tax.
- TAX YEAR
- The period from January 1 to December 31, inclusive.
- A person subject to the payment of the tax imposed by this article.
- WHOLESALE DEALER
- "Wholesale dealer" or "wholesale vendor" shall mean any person who sells to dealers in, or vendors of, goods, wares and merchandise and to no other persons.
There is hereby levied for the tax year 1992 and annually thereafter a tax for general purposes on the privilege of doing business as herein defined in the City of Lock Haven as follows:
Rate and basis of tax. The rate of tax on each and every dollar of the whole or gross volume of business transacted within the territorial limits of the City of Lock Haven shall be 1 1/2 mills; 1 1/2 mills shall mean $1.50 per $1,000 of gross volume of business; except that the rate of the tax on each and every dollar of the whole or gross volume of business transacted by wholesale dealers or wholesale vendors within the territorial limits of the City of Lock Haven shall be one mill. All non-wholesale business of such wholesale dealers or wholesale vendors shall be taxed at the general rate of 1 1/2 mills.
Computation of volume of business.
Ongoing business. Every person subject to the payment of the tax hereby imposed shall use as his annual estimated gross volume of business the actual gross amount of business transacted by him during the immediately preceding calendar year, providing that his business was begun prior to such preceding calendar year.
New business. If the business was begun during the first nine months of the calendar year, the gross volume of business used to calculate the tax due in the beginning year shall be the first three months' average, times the number of months of operation during the tax year. The annual estimated gross volume of business for the second year of operation shall be calculated by annualizing the beginning year's actual gross volume of business. If the business was begun within the last three months of the calendar year, the actual gross volume of business shall be used to calculate the beginning year's tax liability. The annual estimated gross volume of business for the second year of operation shall be calculated by analyzing the gross volume of business from the first 90 days of operation, even if some of the 90 days fall within the second year.
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 City by a method to be determined by the Tax Administrator.
The Tax Administrator 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 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.
Payments made under any mercantile tax for business to which this tax is applicable shall be credited to this tax and vice versa.
Persons, businesses and receipts exempted.
Persons and businesses. Persons employed for a wage or salary, not for profit corporations or associations organized for religious, charitable or educational purposes, agencies of the government of the United States or 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.
Every person whose total tax due under this article from all sources under common control for any tax year is less than $20 is exempt from filing a return and payment of tax for that tax year.
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, and which tax or license fee has been held to be the basis for exemption from the imposition of a business privilege tax by a municipality.
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 Pubic Utility Commission or 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.
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 City of Lock Haven or on the preparation or processing thereof for use or market, or on any privilege, act or transaction relating 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 privilege, act or transaction relating to the business of processing by-products of manufacture or on the transportation, loading, unloading or dumping or storage of such goods, articles, products or by-products.
Determination of gross or whole volume business. 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:
The dollar volume of business transacted by wholesale and retail dealers 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 City of Lock Haven.
Partial exemptions. Where gross or whole volume of business 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 provision of law, the Tax Administrator, with the approval of the Council of the City of Lock Haven, shall establish rules and regulations and methods of allocation and evaluation so that only that part of the gross or whole volume of business which is properly attributable and allowable to doing business in the City 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 and its amendments, to the City 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 said Enabling Act permitting the imposition of such taxes, and if no maximum rate of tax is fixed by said Enabling Act, the tax due hereunder shall be reduced by the amount of tax on the same subject collected by one or more other political subdivision(s); provided, however, that said reduction shall be limited to an amount not to exceed 50% of the amount otherwise due hereunder.
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 6924.101 et seq.
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.
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.
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 June 15 of the tax year file with the Tax Administrator a return setting forth his name, his business address and other such 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 the tax due.
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 June 15 of the tax year file with the Tax Administrator a 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 § 365-258B(2) hereof and the amount of tax due, provided 100 days have elapsed from the commencement of the business to June 15 of the tax year. If a taxpayer has not been in business for 100 days as of June 15 of the tax year, whether or not he commenced business within the tax year, his return shall be filed within 100 days of the commencement of his business.
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 commencement of business for the tax year file a return with the Tax Administrator 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 § 365-25B(1).
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.
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. All taxpayers who shall fail to pay said tax by the due date shall be charged a penalty of 10%, plus an additional 1% per month or fractional part of a month, commencing with the penalty period, until said tax is paid.
Receipt. The Tax Administrator shall, when requested, upon payment to him of the business privilege tax, give the person paying the same a receipt therefor.
[Amended 2-24-2003 by Ord. No. 670]
After the effective date of this article, any person desiring to commence or recommence any business, as herein defined, within the City of Lock Haven shall register with the Tax Administrator and shall pay a one-time registration fee in an amount as established from time to time by resolution of City Council. Registration shall be permanent, but will expire when the business is inactive for one complete tax year.
[Amended 2-24-2003 by Ord. No. 670]
Any person who conducts, transacts or engages in any of the businesses subject to the tax imposed by this article, without having first registered with the Tax Administrator, or who fails to file a tax return as required by the provisions of this article, or who willfully files a false return, or who fails to maintain such records and books of account as shall enable him to make a true and correct return in accordance with the provisions of this article or any person or persons subject to, or supposed to be subject to, the tax imposed by this article who refuses to allow the Tax Administrator or his deputies to examine the books, papers and records of any such person or persons or who fails to comply with any other provision of this article shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $600, plus costs and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days.
Each day on which such person violated this article may be considered as a separate offense and punishable as such as aforeprovided, without the necessity of filing a separate complaint.
The Tax Administrator 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 from each person paying the tax and the date of such receipt.
The Tax Administrator and his duly appointed deputies are hereby empowered, with the approval of the Council of the City of Lock Haven, 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 charged with enforcing the provisions of this article 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 Tax Administrator or his duly appointed deputies shall assess said person or persons 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.
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 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.
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 City of Lock Haven 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.
The Tax Administrator or his duly appointed deputies shall have the power, in the name of the City of Lock Haven, to institute proceedings against any and all persons who violate the provisions of this article.
If for any reasons the tax is not paid when due and 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 interest and penalties herein imposed.