[Adopted 11-26-1991 by Ord. No. 1740-91]
[Amended 11-21-1995 by Ord. No. 1846-95]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Earned Income and Net Profits Tax Code," herein referred to as the "code".
The following terms, words or phrases as used in this article shall have the meanings set forth below unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- A partnership, limited partnership or any other unincorporated group of two or more persons.
- An enterprise, activity, profession or any other undertaking of an unincorporated nature conducted for profit or ordinarily conducted for profit, whether by a person, partnership, association or any other entity.
- A corporation or joint-stock association organized under the laws of the United States, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or any other state, territory, foreign country or dependency.
- CURRENT YEAR
- The calendar year for which the tax is levied.
- The place where a person lives and has his or her permanent home and to which he or she has the intention of returning whenever absent. Actual residence is not necessarily "domicile," for "domicile" is the fixed place of abode which, in the intention of the taxpayer, is permanent rather than transitory. "Domicile" is the voluntary fixed place of habitation of a person, not for a mere special or limited purpose but with the present intention of making a permanent home, until some event occurs to induce him or her to adopt some other permanent home. In the case of businesses or associations, the "domicile" is that place considered as the center of business affairs and the place where its functions are discharged.
- EARNED INCOME
- All salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses and incentive payments whether based on profits or otherwise, fees, tips and similar remuneration received for services rendered, whether directly or through an agent, and whether in cash or in property, except income derived from the United States Government for active duty outside the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a member of its armed forces and other compensation as determined under Section 303 of the Tax Reform Code of 1971 and regulations in 61 Pa. Code Pt. I Subpt. B Art. V (relating to personal income tax). Employee business expenses are allowable deductions as determined under Article III of the Tax Reform Code of 1971. The amount of any housing allowance provided to a member of clergy shall not be taxable as earned income. The term “compensation” shall not mean or include (i) periodic payments for sickness and disability other than regular wages received during a period of sickness or disability; or (ii) disability, retirement or other payments arising under workmen’s compensation acts, occupational disease acts and similar legislation by any government; or (iii) payments commonly recognized as old age or retirement benefits paid to persons retired from service after reaching a specific age or after a stated period of employment; or (iv) payments commonly known as “public assistance,” or unemployment compensation payments by any governmental agency; or (v) payments to reimburse actual expenses; or (vi) payments made by employers or labor unions, including payments made pursuant to a cafeteria plan qualifying under Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. § 125), for employee benefit programs covering hospitalization, sickness, disability or death, supplemental unemployment benefits or strike benefits, provided that the program does not discriminate in favor of highly compensated individuals as to eligibility to participate, payments or program benefits; or (vii) any compensation received by United States servicemen serving in a combat zone; or (viii) payments received by a foster parent for in-home care of foster children from an agency of the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof or an organization exempt from federal tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 which is licensed by the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof as a placement agency; or (ix) payments made by employers or labor unions for employee benefit programs covering social security or retirement; or (x) personal use of an employer’s owned or leased property or of employer-provided services.[Amended 6-24-2003 by Ord. No. 2039-03]
- Any person who renders service to another for consideration and who is under the control of the employer, including temporary, provisional, casual or part-time employment.
- A person, partnership, association, corporation, institution, governmental body or unit or agency or any other entity employing one or more persons for salary, wage, commission or other compensation.
- INCOME TAX OFFICER or OFFICER
- The Finance Officer elected to collect and administer the tax on earned income and net profits.
- NET PROFITS
- The net income from the operation of a business, profession or other activity, except corporations, after provision for all costs and expenses incurred in the conduct thereof, determined either on a cash or accrual basis in accordance with accepted accounting principles and practices but without deduction of taxes based on income as determined under Section 303 of The Tax Reform Code of 1971 and regulations in 61 Pa. Code Pt. I Subpt. B Art. V (relating to personal income tax). The term does not include income which is not paid for services provided and which is in the nature of earnings from an investment. For taxpayers engaged in the business, profession or activity of farming, the term shall not include:[Amended 6-24-2003 by Ord. No. 2039-03]
- A. Any interest earnings generated from any monetary accounts or investment instruments of the farming business;
- B. Any gain on the sale of farm machinery;
- C. Any gain on the sale of livestock held 12 months or more for draft, breeding or dairy purposes; and
- D. Any gain on the sale of other capital assets of the farm.
- A person, partnership, association or other entity domiciled outside the Township of Cheltenham.
- PERSON or INDIVIDUAL
- A natural person.
- PRECEDING YEAR
- The calendar year before the current year.
- A person, partnership, association or other entity having a domicile in the Township.
- SUCCEEDING YEAR
- The calendar year following the current year.
- A person, partnership, association or other entity required hereunder to file a return of earned income or net profits or to pay a tax thereon.
- The Township of Cheltenham, a First Class Township governed by the provisions of its Home Rule Charter, coextensive with the boundaries of such Township.
Residents. A tax at the rate of one-half of one percent (1/2 of 1%) is hereby imposed on each dollar of earned income received and net profits earned by residents of the Township.
Nonresidents. A tax at the rate of 1% is hereby imposed on each dollar of earned income received and net profits earned by nonresidents of the Township for work done or services performed or rendered in the Township.
[Amended 8-18-1992 by Ord. No. 1757-92]
Minimum income. All persons whose total earned income or net profits as defined herein is less than $2,000 per year shall be exempt from the imposition of the tax imposed by this article.
[Amended 11-16-2011 by Ord. No. 2228-11]
Tax year. The tax levied under this article shall be applicable to earned income received and to net profits earned by residents and nonresidents for the period beginning January 1, 1992, and ending December 31, 1992, or for the taxpayer's fiscal year or portion thereof extending into the calendar year commencing January 1, 1992. The tax shall continue in force thereafter on a calendar-year basis, without annual reenactment, unless the rate of the tax is subsequently changed. The Township of Cheltenham may, by ordinance, change the rate, and such changes shall become effective on the date specified in the amending ordinance.
Beginning with the calendar year January 1, 1992, every taxpayer shall, on or before April 15 of such year and each year thereafter, make and file with the Officer a declaration of his estimated net profits during the period beginning January 1 and ending December 31 of the then current year on declaration forms provided by the Officer. The term "estimated net profit" shall mean the net profit determined under this article for the preceding taxable year. The taxpayer shall pay to the Officer the total amount of estimated tax determined to be due on such estimated net profits, in four equal installments, as follows:
[Amended 4-21-1992 by Ord. No. 1751-92; 8-18-1992 by Ord. No. 1757-92]
If a taxpayer, during the calendar year 1992 or any year thereafter, anticipates net profits after March 31 of the calendar year, then he shall make and file a declaration on or before July 31, October 31 of the then current year or January 31 of the succeeding year, whichever of these dates next follows the date on which the taxpayer first anticipates net profits. If a taxpayer anticipates net profits after May 31 or August 31 of the current year, then he shall file a declaration and make the estimated tax payments in equal installments on the remaining payment dates. The taxpayer shall pay to the Officer in equal installments the amount of tax due thereon on or before the quarterly payment dates which remain after the filing of his declaration.
[Amended 4-21-1992 by Ord. No. 1751-92; 8-18-1992 by Ord. No. 1757-92]
Beginning with the calendar year 1993, or before April 15 of each calendar year, and each succeeding year thereafter, every taxpayer shall file with the Officer a final income tax return, showing the amount of the net profits earned for the preceding year, the total amount of tax due thereon and the total amount of estimated tax theretofore paid with the declaration of estimated tax. At the time of filing a final return, the taxpayer shall pay to the Officer the balance of tax due or may make demand for a refund or credit in the case of any overpayment. Any taxpayer may, in lieu of paying the fourth quarterly installment of his estimated tax, elect to make and file with the Officer his final return on or before January 31 of the succeeding year and to pay the tax in full at that time.
Each final return shall be substantiated by attaching a copy of the taxpayer's Schedule C or E, or form 1099, or other appropriate schedule from his United States income tax return for the same year.
The taxpayer may file an amended declaration of estimated net profits and make adjustments for payment of the estimated tax in cases where a taxpayer who has filed the declaration thereafter anticipates additional net profits not previously declared or finds that he has overestimated his anticipated net profits. The Tax Officer may provide for such underpayments or overpayments by appropriate regulations.
Every taxpayer who discontinues his business before December 31 of the current year shall, within 30 days after the discontinuance of the business, file his final return as hereinabove required and pay the tax due or make demand for a refund or credit in the case of an overpayment.
Beginning with the calendar year 1992 and each succeeding year thereafter, every taxpayer who is employed for salary, wage, commission or other compensation and who receives any earned income not subject to the provisions relating to collection at the source shall make and file with the Officer, on a form prescribed, prepared and supplied by the Officer, a quarterly return on or before April 30 of the current year, July 31 of the current year, October 31 of the current year and January 31 of the succeeding year, setting forth the aggregate amount of earned income not subject to withholding by him during the three-month period ending March 31 of the current year, June 30 of the current year, September 30 of the current year and December 31 of the current year, respectively, and subject to the earned income tax, together with such other information as the Officer shall require. Every taxpayer who makes such a return shall, at the time of the filing of the return with the Officer, pay to the Officer the amount of tax shown as due thereon. On or before April 15 of the succeeding year, the taxpayer shall make and file a final return showing the amount of earned income for the preceding year, the total amount of tax withheld thereon and the balance due, if any.
Each final return reporting earned income shall be substantiated by attaching a copy of the employers' W-2 statement, form 1099 or other appropriate schedule to reflect such earned income.
If any return or payment is due on a weekend or national or state holiday, such return or payment shall be considered timely if postmarked the first business day immediately thereafter. Any return or payment shall be considered timely if postmarked on or before 12:00 noon on the due date as provided herein.
Each individual resident who earns in excess of $3,000 of earned income or net profits per calendar year shall register with the Tax Officer on forms provided by said Officer.
The registration form shall include the name, address, social security number, current occupation, employer, employer's address and any additional information required by the Tax Collector.
Registration of occupants of rental units. The owner of any apartment house or rental unit located in the Township, or the authorized representative of the owner, shall submit to the Township a list of the occupants, consisting of the names and apartment designations, of all persons 18 years of age and older residing in the apartment house or rental unit and who are not transient occupants. The list shall be submitted within 60 days from January l, 1992, and shall be updated quarterly thereafter every April 1, July l, October 1 and January 1 in each succeeding year.
Penalties. The failure to register by any individual resident or the failure of an owner of any apartment or rental unit to register as provided in this article shall constitute a summary offense and shall be subject to the penalties as are provided for in this article.
Every employer, as hereinbefore described and defined, shall be obligated from January 1, 1992, and thereafter so long as this article is in effect, to withhold from wages of employees subject to the tax imposed by this article the amount of earned income tax due, in accordance with the withholding procedures set forth hereinafter.
Every employer having an office, factory, workshop, branch, warehouse or other place of business within the Township of Cheltenham, who employs one or more persons, other than domestic servants, for salary, wage, commission or other compensation, who has not previously registered, shall, within 15 days after becoming an employer, register with the Tax Collector his name and address, the name and form of entity to which such business is conducted and such other information as the Tax Collector may require in order to administer and collect the tax herein imposed.
Every employer having an office, factory, workshop, branch, warehouse or other place of business within the Township, who employs one or more persons, other than domestic servants, for salary, wages, commission or other compensation, shall deduct at the time of payment thereof the tax imposed by this article from the earned income due to his employee or employees and shall, on or before April 30 of the current year, July 31 of the current year, October 31 of the current year and January 31 of the succeeding year, file a return and pay to the Tax Officer the amount of earned income taxes deducted during the preceding three-month periods ending March 31 of the current year, June 30 of the current year, September 30 of the current year and December 31 of the current year, respectively. Such returns shall show the name and social security number or tax identification number of each such employee, the earned income of such employee during such preceding three-month period, the earned income tax deducted therefrom, the street address of the employee and the Township where he resides, the political subdivision imposing such earned income tax, the total earned income of all such employees during the preceding three-month collection period and the total earned income tax deducted therefrom.
Any employer who, for two of the preceding four reporting periods, has failed to deduct the proper tax or any part thereof or has failed to pay over the proper amount of tax to the Township may be required by the Tax Officer to file his return and pay the tax monthly. In such cases, payments of tax shall be made to the Tax Officer on or before the last day of the month succeeding the month for which the tax was withheld.
On or before February 28 of the succeeding year, every employer shall file with the Tax Officer:
An annual return showing the total amount of earned income deducted, the total amount of tax paid to the Tax Officer for the period beginning January 1 of the current year and ending December 31 of the current year.
A withholding statement for each employee employed during all or part of the period beginning January 1 of the current year and ending December 31 of the current year, setting forth the employee's name, address, social security number, the amount of earned income paid to the employee during said period, the amount of tax deducted, the political subdivisions imposing the tax upon such employee and the amount of tax paid to the Tax Officer. Every employer shall furnish at least two copies of the withholding statement to the employee for whom it is filed.
Every employer who discontinues business for any reason on or prior to December 31 of the current year shall, within 30 days after the discontinuance of business, file the returns and withholding statement hereinabove required and pay the tax due.
Every employer or responsible officer of such employer who willfully or negligently fails or omits to make the deductions required by this section and who fails to remit the earned income taxes withheld shall be personally liable, as a fiduciary, in an amount equal to 100% of the taxes which he was required to deduct and withhold under this article. The term "responsible officer" shall include any person who would be a responsible officer for purposes of remitting federal income tax withholding at the source to the federal government.
The failure or omission of any employer to make the deductions required by this section shall not relieve any employee from the payment of the tax or from complying with the requirements of this article as to the filing of declarations and returns.
Designation of Tax Officer. The Finance Officer of the Township is hereby designated the Tax Officer for purposes of administering this article and any amendments thereto, or such private agency or deputy as he may designate. The Tax Officer is empowered to collect and receive the taxes, interest, fines, penalties and other payments authorized by this article and to administer terms of this article.
Bond. The Tax Officer, before entering upon his official duties, shall give and acknowledge a bond to the Township. If the Board of Commissioners shall, by resolution, designate any bond previously given by the Tax Officer as adequate, such bond shall be sufficient to satisfy the requirements of this subsection.
Each such bond shall be joint and several, with one or more corporate sureties which shall be surety companies authorized to do business in this commonwealth and duly licensed by the Insurance Commissioner of this commonwealth.
Each bond shall be conditioned upon the faithful discharge by the Tax Officer, his agents, assistants and appointees of all trusts confided in him by virtue of his office, upon the faithful execution of all duties required by him according to law of all moneys and all balances thereof paid to, received or held by him by virtue of his office, and upon the delivery to his successor or successors in office of all books, papers, documents or other official things held in right of his office.
Each such bond shall be taken in the name of the appointing authority or authorities and shall be for the use of the political subdivision or political subdivisions appointing the officer and for the use of such other person or persons for whom money shall otherwise appear, in the case of a breach of any of the conditions thereof by the acts or neglect of the principal on the bond.
The Township of Cheltenham or any person may sue upon said bond in its or his own name for its or his own use.
Each such bond shall contain the name or names of the surety company or companies bound thereon. The Township of Cheltenham shall fix the amount of the bond at an amount equal to the maximum amount of taxes which may be in the possession of the officer at any given time.
The Township of Cheltenham may, at any time, upon cause shown and due notice to the officer, and his surety or sureties, require or allow the substitution or the addition of a surety company acceptable to the Township for the purpose of making the bond sufficient in amount, without releasing the surety or sureties first approved from any accrued liability or previous action on such bond.
The Township of Cheltenham shall designate the custodian of the bond required to be given by the Officer.
Tax Officer's records. The Tax Officer shall collect and receive all such taxes, shall furnish a receipt for payment when requested to do so by a taxpayer and shall keep a record showing the amount received by him for each taxpayer under this article, together with the date of the receipt of such payment.
Regulations. The Tax Officer is hereby empowered to prescribe, adopt, promulgate and enforce rules and regulations relating to any matter or procedure pertaining to the administration and enforcement of the provisions of this article, subject, however, to the approval of the Board of Commissioners of the Township. Such rules and regulations shall be inscribed by the Tax Officer into a book kept for that purpose and open to inspection by the public and thereupon shall have the same force and effect as if they had been incorporated into this article.
Audits. The Tax Officer or any other person designated by the Township of Cheltenham is hereby authorized to examine any of the books, papers and records of any employer, supposed employer, taxpayer or supposed taxpayer in order to verify the accuracy of any return made or, if no return was made, to ascertain the amount of tax due by any person under this article. Every such employer, supposed employer, taxpayer or supposed taxpayer is required to forward to the Tax Officer or such other authorized person the means, facilities and opportunities for such examination and investigations hereby authorized.
Copies of United States returns. The Tax Officer is authorized to examine any person under oath concerning any income which should have been reported for purposes of collecting the earned income tax imposed by this article and shall have the power and is hereby authorized to request, examine and obtain from any taxpayer or person in the employ of the taxpayer legible copies of books, records, federal and state income tax statements and other papers relevant to determining the amount of such tax verifying the accuracy of the return and the liability therefor.
Power to make return. The Tax Officer or any other official or agent so designated by the Township shall have the power to examine returns, correct erroneous returns and prepare tax returns on behalf of taxpayers who refuse to file returns.
Confidential information. Any information gained by the Tax Officer or any other official or agent of the Township as a result of any return, investigation, hearing or examination required or authorized by this article shall become confidential, except for official purposes or except for purposes of collection of the tax imposed hereunder in accordance with proper judicial procedures or as otherwise provided by law. Any disclosure of any such information contrary to the provisions of this subsection shall constitute a violation of this article.
Power to pay refunds. The Tax Officer shall have the power to make refunds of overpayments and authorize the refunding of taxes erroneously or improperly collected from or paid by the taxpayers for any period of time not to exceed three years subsequent to the date of payment of the sum involved. The Tax Officer shall refund, on petition of and proof by the taxpayer, any earned income tax paid on the taxpayer's ordinary and necessary expenses allowable under relevant provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, to the extent that such expenses are not paid by the taxpayer's employer.
Penalty for wrongful disclosure. Any person who, except as permitted by the provisions of the foregoing Subsection H of this section, divulges any information which is confidential under the provisions of this article shall, upon conviction thereof before any District Justice or court of competent jurisdiction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $500 for each offense and costs and, in default thereof, shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 30 days.
Fiscal year taxpayer. The Tax Officer is authorized, in his discretion, to establish different filing, reporting and payment dates for taxpayers whose fiscal years do not coincide with the calendar year.
Payment to other political subdivisions. The Tax Officer shall, at least quarterly, distribute earned income taxes to the appropriate subdivisions. The political subdivisions shall not be required to request the Officer to distribute the funds collected but shall at least annually reconcile their receipts with the records of the Tax Officer and return to or credit the Officer with any overpayment. If the Tax Officer, within one year after receiving a tax payment, cannot identify the taxing jurisdiction entitled to a tax payment, he shall make payment to the municipality in which the tax was collected.
Civil suit. The Tax Officer may sue in the name of the Township for the recovery of taxes, interest and penalties due and unpaid under this article in accordance with the provisions of the Local Tax Enabling Act of the General Assembly of the commonwealth (Act of December 31, 1965, P.L. 1257, No. 511, § 1, et seq., 53 P.S. § 6901 et seq., as amended, herein the "Local Tax Enabling Act").
Limitations period to recover taxes. Any suit brought to recover the tax imposed by this article shall be begun within three years after such tax is due or within three years after the declaration or return has been filed, whichever date is later; provided, however, that this limitation shall not prevent the institution of a suit for the collection of any tax due or determined to be due in the following cases:
Where no declaration or return was filed by any person although a declaration or return was required to be filed by him under the provisions of this article, there shall be no limitation.
Where an examination of the declaration or return filed by any person or of other evidence relating to such declaration or return in the possession of the Tax Collector reveals a fraudulent evasion of taxes, there shall be no limitation.
In the case of substantial understatement of earned income tax liability of 25% or more and there is no fraudulent evasion of the tax, suit shall be begun within six years.
Where any employer has deducted taxes under the provisions of this article and has failed to pay the amount so deducted to the Tax Collector or where any person has willfully failed or omitted to make the deductions required by this article, there shall be no limitation.
Period to recover erroneous refunds. The Tax Officer may sue for recovery of an erroneous refund, provided that such suit is begun two years after making such refund, except that the suit may be brought within five years if it appears that any part of the refund was induced by fraud or misrepresentation of material fact.
Interest and penalty. If, for any reason, the tax or estimated tax is not paid when due, interest at the rate of one-half of one percent (1/2 of 1%) per month or fractional part of a month on the amount of said unpaid tax shall be added and collected. An additional penalty of one-half of one percent (1/2 of 1%) per month or fractional part of a month on the amount of said unpaid tax shall be added and collected.
Fine. Any person who fails, neglects or refuses to make any declaration or return required by this article; any employer or responsible officer of an employer who fails, neglects or refuses to register or to pay the taxes deducted from his employees or fails, neglects or refuses to deduct withholding taxes from his employees; any person who refuses to permit the Tax Officer or any agent designated by him to examine his books, records, federal and state income tax returns and other papers; and any person who knowingly makes any incomplete, false or fraudulent return or does anything whatsoever to avoid the full disclosure of the amount of his net profits or earned income in order to avoid the payment of the whole or any part of the tax imposed by this article shall, upon conviction thereof before any District Justice or court of competent jurisdiction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $500 for each offense and costs. In default of payment of such fine and costs, such person shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 30 days.
Interest and fines cumulative. The interest, penalties and fines imposed under this article shall be in addition to any other charges imposed by any other section of this article.
Failure to receive forms no defense. The failure of any person to receive or procure forms required for making the declaration or returns required by this article shall not excuse him from making such declaration or return or relieve such person from liability for the taxes, interest and fines prescribed in this article.
Payment of taxes, etc. over to Township. All taxes, interest, fines and costs of suit and necessary attorney's fees received, collected or recovered by the Collector under the provisions hereof shall be payable into the treasury of the Township.
Credit for payment of a tax like the tax imposed by § 270-52 of this article to other political subdivisions of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (except for a like tax paid to the School District of Cheltenham Township coterminous with the Township) or to any political subdivision located outside the boundaries of the commonwealth shall be allowed in accordance with Section 14 of the Local Tax Enabling Act.
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 6914.
Philadelphia wage tax. Income earned by residents of the Township which is subject to the Philadelphia City Wage Tax or the Philadelphia Net Profits Tax shall not be subject to the earned income and net profits tax imposed by this article.
Nothing contained in this article 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 of Pennsylvania.
The headings of this article are solely for convenience and are not part of this article.
The provisions of this article are severable, and if any of its provisions or exemptions shall be held to be illegal, invalid or unconstitutional as to any part of the period designated herein as the tax year, the decisions of any court shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions of this article or affect or impair its application as to any other part of said tax year, and the requirements as to the tax shall operate as of the effective date of this article, and the computation of tax and payment thereof shall be applied and adjusted accordingly.
This Article has been enacted under the authority of the Local Tax Enabling Act and Section 1-302(g) of the Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law, approved April 13, 1972, P.L. 184, No. 62, § 101 et seq.; 53 P.S. § 1-101 et seq.