Taxation — See Ch. 138.
Taxpayers wishing to appeal the decision of the Finance Director relating to any assessment, determination, ruling or refund of any tax levied under this chapter shall file a petition for review and decision.
A petition is timely filed if the letter transmitting the petition is postmarked by the United States Postal Service on or before the final day on which the petition is required to be filed. Deadlines for filing petitions are as follows:
Refund petitions shall be filed within three years after the due date for filing the final return as extended or one year after actual payment of an eligible tax, whichever is later. If no final return is required, the petition shall be filed within three years after the due date for payment of the tax or within one year after actual payment, whichever is later.
Petitions for reassessment and from rulings of the Finance Director shall be filed within 90 days of the date of the assessment notice or of the ruling.
All petitions shall be filed by hand delivery or by registered or certified mail to the Finance Director, Township of Lower Merion, 75 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19003-2376.
The petition may be in letter form but shall contain the following information:
The name and address of the taxpayer and his representative, if any.
The tax years in question.
A copy of the Finance Director's decision to which the petition relates.
A full and complete statement of the taxpayer's position, including all supporting documents which the taxpayer seeks to have considered. The taxpayer may, if it chooses, submit any legal authority or citations which support its position.
A request that a hearing be held on the petition or a statement that a hearing is waived.
Upon receipt of the petition the Finance Director shall forward a copy to the Hearing Officer. If a hearing is waived, the Finance Director shall also forward the Finance Department's file with respect to the taxpayer to the Hearing Officer.
A hearing on the petition, if requested, shall be scheduled by the Hearing Officer within 45 days of its filing. All hearings shall be held at the Lower Merion Township Administrative Building, unless the Hearing Officer, the taxpayer and the township agree otherwise.
All testimony before the Hearing Officer shall be sworn, but customary rules of evidence may be waived in the interest of fairness and judicial economy. It is not required that testimony be transcribed.
Any request for a continuance of the hearing by the taxpayer must be accompanied by a letter agreeing to an extension of time for the Hearing Officer to make a decision on the petition, which extension must be at least equal to the number of days' delay caused by the request.
The Hearing Officer's decision on the petition shall be in writing and shall be forwarded by regular mail to the taxpayer and the township within 60 days of the date a complete and accurate petition is received. Failure to act within 60 days (unless waived or extended by the taxpayer) shall result in the petition being deemed approved.
The Hearing Officer's decision shall be based on principles of law and equity.
Any person aggrieved by the Hearing Officer's decision who has a direct interest in the decision shall have the right to appeal de novo to the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County within 30 days of the date of the decision.
The Hearing Officer shall be appointed by the Board of Commissioners of Lower Merion Township, which shall determine the qualifications and compensation, if any, of such person. The Hearing Officer may establish those procedures consistent with due process and not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter or the regulations promulgated by the Director of Finance which the Hearing Officer deems appropriate for the conduct of hearings and the orderly presentation of testimony.