Regulations

Regulations of The Municipal & School Earned Income Tax Office

(As Amended 07/15/14)


I. TAX BASE

A. “EARNED INCOME”: Compensation received by a person or his personal representative for services rendered, whether directly or through an agent, and whether in cash or in property. Compensation as determined under Section 501 of Act 32 of 2008. This includes but is not limited to:

1. Salaries

2. Wages

3. Tips received directly by the employee or through his or her employer

4. Gratuities

5. Commissions

6. Bonuses

7. Incentive payments

8. Vacation/holiday pay

9. Termination/severance pay

10. Payment incentives for early retirement

11. Reimbursements and allowances in excess of allowable business expenses

12. Director's fees

13. Jury duty

14. Witness fees

15. Eligible reimbursed moving expenses in excess of allowable expenses on Pennsylvania Schedule UE, UE-1

16. Honoraria

17. Executor/Executrix or administrator’s fees

18. Covenants not to compete

19. Proceeds from an employee stock ownership to extent of excess computed undercost-recovery method

20. Reimbursements made by an employer for dependent care, legal services, or other personal services

21. National Service Education Awards

22. Income from Peace Corps, VISTA, Job Corps and AmeriCorps

23. Income earned by household employees not acting as independent contractors.(Independent contractor payments are taxable as Net Profits.)

24. Employee contributions to an eligible Pennsylvania retirement plan

B. “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 the accounting system used in such business, professions, or other activity, but without deduction of taxes based on income. Each business or profession is taxed separately, and net profits are to be determined with reference only to the gross income and expenses of that business, without the income of one enterprise with the expenses of another. [See Aronson V. City of Pittsburgh, Commonwealth Court, 485 A 2d 890 (1985). 555 A. 2d1288 (1989)]. A loss in the “Net Profits”class of income may be offset against a profit in the “Net Profits” class of income. A loss in the “Net Profits”class of income may NOT be offset against “Earned Income”.

Net profits shall be determined under section 303 of the Act of March 4, 1971 Code PT I Subpt. B Art. V (relating to personal income tax).

The following examples are includable in net profits:

1.  Interest received in credit sales

2. Discounts received from Pennsylvania for timely remitting of sales tax

3. Damages/awards settlements received, except for personal injuries cases. Both punitive and compensatory damages received in personal injury actions are excluded when physical sickness or injury has occurred. Punitive damages awarded on a personal injury claim where no physical sickness or injury has occurred, such as awards made in defamation actions, are taxable income for determining correct net profits

4. Rental income received or produced by a licensed real estate agent who is actively involved in the business of renting properties or by an individual, not a licensed realtor, who is required to report profit or loss on a schedule C

5. Payments received by independent contractors, subject to appropriate offset for expenses such as those permitted on a schedule C

II. TAXABLE COMPENSATION OF EMPLOYEES

The following items of remuneration shall be subject to this tax as a part of and in addition to other forms of earned income:
 
1. AWARDS

2. BACK PAY AWARDS

3. CAFETERIA PLAN: (The Tax Office will follow Pennsylvania State Income Tax Regulations.) A plan which follows pre-tax employee deductions for a given benefit

4. CASH FOR OPTING OUT OF BENEFIT PLAN: Ex. – Employee does not elect employer provided coverage for medical, he/she then receives a pre-determined amount of cash for electing no coverage.

5. FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS: Dependent Care, $5,000 limit

6. 401 (K): Employee deductions for a 401 (K) plan

7. GROUP LEGAL ASSISTANCE: Employee deductions for Group Legal.

8. VACATION: Employee buys extra days. Employee sells extra days.

9. COURT AWARDS: to the extent that they represent back wages.
 

10. DEFERRED COMPENSATION PLAN CONTRIBUTIONS: (401K,403B, pure annuity, 408K6, 414H2, 457, 501C, TSA)

11. EMPLOYEE DISCOUNTS: if Federally Taxable (20 percent or more).
 

12. EMPLOYEESTOCK OPTIONS:

(when exercised). (See Marchlen V. TheTownship of Mt. Lebanon)

EMPLOYERS CONTRIBUTIONS TO A “CAFETERIA PLAN”:

to the extent employee could have elected taxable benefits.

FELLOWSHIP:

if the recipient is required to provide a substantial service, e.g., Advance Research/Teaching, unless excluded below.

FINANCIALPLANNING AND COUNSELING FEES:

Provided by outside consultant.

GIFTS FROM EMPLOYER

GOLDEN PARACHUTE PAYMENTS:
Regular salary or those deemed excess compensation subject to 20% Federal Excess Tax.

GROUP LEGAL SEVICES
 HOLIDAY PAY
 INTEREST EARNED ON BUSINESS ACCOUNTS
 INTEREST:

on below market loans.

JURY DUTY PAY

MEALS AND LODGING:

not for employers convenience.

MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE IN LIEU OF OTHER COMPENSATION

NATIONAL GUARD/RESERVE:

including active duty within Pennsylvania.

NON-CASHPAYMENT FOR SERVICES RENDERED

NON-QUALIFIEDSTOCK BONUS INCENTIVE PLAN:

employer contributions: forfeitable and non-forfeitable.

PAYMENT INCENTIVES FOR EARLY RETIREMENT

PAYMENT IN LIEU OF BENEFITS:

(ex: employee receives cash for not participating in health insurance plan)

PAYMENTS REALIZED IN THE FORM OF DEBT FORGIVENESS:

as payment for compensable services.
 
PREMATURE PROFIT DESTRIBUTION:

not rolled over into a qualified pension plan, individual retirement account or an annuity plan.

PREMATURE WITHDRAWAL OR EARLY DISTRIBUTION:

from retirement or pension plan on the contributions not taxed when earned, including employer contributions, interest earned and employee contributions actually received by the taxpayer from a regular IRA or from a Roth IRA to the extent not previously taxed, according to Pennsylvania State Tax regulations.


PRE-TAX ITEMS:

under sec 125 Cafeteria Plan. (The tax office will follow Pennsylvania State Income Tax Regulations)

PRIZES

PROCEEDS FROM PROFIT SHARING PLANS:

unless qualifying as the sole retirement plan.

RESERVE MILITARY SERVICE PAY:

including active duty within Pennsylvania.

SCHOLARSHIPS STIPENDS, GRANTS AND FELLOWSHIPS:

if services are rendered in connection therewith.

SEVERANCE PAY

SICK PAY (if wage continuation)

STIPENDS:

paid to medical interns and residents pursuant to an internship or residency program that conforms with the“Essentials of an Approved Internship” or the “Essentials of an Approved Residency” as established by the American Medical Association are taxable.


STOCK BONUS PLANS

STOCK OPTIONS (WHEN EXERCISED BY EMPLOYEE)

TAXES:

paid by employer on behalf of employee.

TUITION FORGIVENESS / REDUCTION:

to Federal limit and not for employers benefit.

 III. ACTIVITIES  SUBJECT TO TAX ON NET PROFITS

A. Income from rentals and/or sales of Real Estate. For the purpose of this regulation the following terms shall have the definitions herein after given. “Real Estate” shall embrace lots, buildings, apartments, hotels buildings, office buildings, apartment houses, single dwellings, duplex apartments, garages and similar structures.

“Labor” is intended to apply to janitor, maid or supervisory service, whether performed by the owner, his agents or employees.

“Service”shall include elevator, heat, light, power and the like.

1. Income from rental of real estate: Rental income received from the operation by persons, trust companies or real estate agents, acting for or on behalf of persons or estates, is subject to the tax if the owner, either himself or through agents or servants, actively manage and supervises the real estate by providing labor and service in connection therewith.

2. The furnishing of labor and service signify “activity” and participation on the part of the taxpayer and classifies him as conducting or carrying on a “business” as defined for this tax.

3. If a person owns several parcels of real estate from which he receives rental income and provides services to some of the properties, he is only liable for the tax on the net rentals of those properties in connection with which services are furnished.

4. Where, however, the rental income is derived merely from passive ownership of real estate, it is not taxable even though the owner or his agents may make repairs or do such other acts which an owner normally does to preserve his property.

5. When any property falls within the taxable classification above given, the manner of its acquisition, i.e.,purchase, gift, inheritance, fiduciary, or as fiduciary mortgagee inpossession, etc., does not affect the taxability of the income derived there from.

6. Where a taxpayer is in doubt as to the taxable status of rental income, or the gain or profit from sale of real estate he shall submit a detailed written statement to the Officer for a ruling.

B. Fiduciaries: A fiduciary is a person who holds trust,property, monies or properties to which another has a beneficial title or interest, or who received and controls income for another person or persons.

Commissions or fees received by a fiduciary constitute taxable income, where a fiduciary is regularly engaged in a business of profession as a fiduciary, or is engaged in a business or profession commonly regarded as being incidental or collateral there to, for example, an attorney-at-law, real estate agent, etc., or if such commission or fees represent a substantial portion of the earnings or income of the fiduciary; or, when the administration of the trust requires a substantial portion of the fiduciary’s available working time.

C. Royalties: Certain income received as a “royalty” is considered taxable under this tax. This type of income includes monies received by the owner of a patent or private formula for the use of it, or the right to act under it; or by the author of a book or other copy rightable property.

D. Payments received from government in support of agriculture including payments for not farming.
  
E. Income received from an LLC(Limited Liability Company) if income is subject to Social Security Tax.

F. “Bonus Depreciation” and Section179 Deduction amounts are to be calculated for local income tax purposes in the same manner calculated for Pennsylvania personal income purposes and not as according the federal income tax provisions.
 

IV. EXCLUSIONS FROM GROSS INCOME

ACTIVE DUTY PAY, MILITARY-PERFORMED OUTSIDE OF PENNSYLVANIA

AGENT ORANGE AND VIETNAM herbicide litigation awards.

AIR TRAVEL – Fair Market value if employer provided.

ALIMONY

BONUSES:

by a state or the United States for active military service.

CAFETERIA PLAN:

(The Tax Office will follow Pennsylvania State Income Tax Regulations)

AD&D:

Employee deductions for an Accidental Death and Dismemberment plans.

DENTAL:

Employee deductions for Dental plan.

LIFE INSURANCE:

Employee deductions for Whole Life Group Term Life.

LTD:

Employee deductions for Long Term Disability.

MEDICAL:

Employee deductions for Health Insurance Programs, Hospitalizations, and
 
HMO’s

Flexible medical spending accounts.

VISION:

Employee deductions for a vision care plan.

CAPITAL GAINS

CHILD SUPPORT

DEATH BENEFITS:

wages earned through date of death and gifts paid to family.

DEPENDENT CARE FACILITY PROVIDED BY EMPLOYER

DISABILITY

DIVIDENDS

EMPLOYER PAID MEDICAL, AND LIFE INSURANCE PREMIUMS

FELLOWSHIPS:

based on need or academic achievement

FINANCIAL PLANNING AND COUNSELING FEES:

provided by company employee.

GAMBLING/LOTTERY WINNINGS


GI BILL BENEFITS INCLUDING TUITION AND LIVING EXPENSES

GIFTS

HEALTH INSURANCE PAID BY S-CORP FOR SHARHOLDER

INHERITANCE

IRA PAYMENTS RECEIVED UPON RETIREMENT

INSURANCE PAYMENTS

INTEREST

LIFE INSURANCE PREMIUMS:

group term life and other.

LIFE INSURANCE PROCEEDS

LONG TERM DISABLILITY

LOTTERY WINNINGS

MEALS AND LODGING

employer’s convenience.

OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE ACTS

PARSONAGE/ HOUSING/ RENT/ UTILITIES PAYMENTS received by member of clergy

PENSIONS

PERSONAL INJURY AWARDS

PERMANENT LOSS OF BODY FUNCTION:

disfigurement or medical expense reimbursement-amounts received.

PRIZES AND AWARDS


PROFITS APPLICABLE TO LIMITED PARTNERS WITHIN A LIMITED PARTNERSHIP ENTITY

PROFIT FROM THE CASUAL EXCHANGE OR SALE OF PROPERTY


PUBLIC ASSSITANCE

RAILROAD RETIREMENT BENEFITS

RELOCATION:

up to Pennsylvania State allowance.

RENT RECEIVED WITHOUT THE PROVISION OF SERCIVES

RETIREMENT

ROYALTIES DERIVED FROM GAS, OIL OR MINERAL RIGHTS

SCHOLARSHIPS


S CORPORATION INCOME

SICK PAY, THIRD PARTY

SOCIAL SECURITY

STRIKE BENEFITS

TIMBER, SALE OF

TUITION:

for employers benefits.


UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

VETERANS RETIREMENT OR DISABILITY

WORKER’S COMPENSATION

V. EMPLOYEE’S DEDUCTIONS FOR EXPENSES DIRECTLY CONNECTED WITH EMPLOYMENT:

Employees who incur and pay expenses directly connected with the performance of their duties or services, may deduct such expenses in computing the amount subject to the tax to the extent that:

A. No reimbursement is made by the employer.

B. They are reasonable and actual.


C. They are recognized as deductions by the State Of Pennsylvania for income for tax

purposes.

1. Illustration of expense which maybe deducted:

a. Transportation while on the employer’s business. If you lease a car for 30 days or more, you may have to include an “inclusion amount”, as required by IRS regulations, in your income for each year you lease the car.

b. Meals, lodging and tips if away at least overnight. (No per diem)

c. Business phone calls.

2. Examples of expenses which may not be deducted:

a. No per diem for meals and lodging (must have actual receipts)

b. Personal, family or living expenses.

c. Commuting to and from work, including travel between two or more different jobs.

d. Old age benefit taxes.

e. Federal Income tax, Gift, Inheritance and Estate Taxes.

f. Group Insurance.

g. Hospitalizations.

h. Telephone for convenience ofemployee.

i. Pension plan payments, including IRA’s, Keogh, Section 401 (K) plans.

j. PersonalTaxes.

k. Contributions to deferred compensation plans.



VI. RETURNS WHICH MUST BE FILED

A. WITHHOLDING RETURN: An individual, co-partnership, LLC, LLP association, corporation, trust, estate, or government body or unit (other than the Federal Government), or any entity who or that employs one or more persons on a salary, wage, commission or other compensation, must file a return of tax withheld (see section XII for due dates) and an annual return (w-2 is preferred, list is acceptable) showing total gross wages and local tax withheld.

B. NET PROFIT RETURN: An individual must file a return on NetProfits Earned from the conduct of a business, profession or other activity.

C. PARTNERSHIP RETURN: A co-partnership, association or joint venture is not required to file a return; however, the co-partners are individually liable for payment of their tax.

D. S. CORPORATION RETURN: An S Corporation is not required to file a return nor is the shareholder’s share of profits taxable to the individual. Officers of S Corps must pay tax on salaries and wages received or on an amount that represents compensation for services performed for the corporation.

E. LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY(LLC): An LLC is not considered to be a taxable unit; however, if the LLC elects to be taxed as a partnership, the members are to be individually liable for the payment of their tax.

F. INDIVIDUAL RETURNS: Every individual resident (no joint returns permitted) of the taxing district who has “earned income” or “netprofits” shall file a tax return. Such return shall set forth the items of “earned income” and “net profits”; the individual’s name, address, social security number and taxing district PSD code. Copies of W-2 forms, 1099”s and appropriate income (1040 C, F, K-1, etc.) and expense (2106, UE1, UE2, etc.) schedules, must be attached. With regard to “net profits”, each business or profession is taxed separately; a loss in“net profits” may be offset against “net profits”.

VII. NON-RESIDENT TAXATION

For Districts that levy a non-resident tax, the entire earned income/compensation and net profits received and/or earned by a non-resident of the Taxing District who is employed n the Taxing District or engaged in the operation of a business, profession, or other activity for income or profit in the Taxing District, and is not required to pay a similar tax elsewhere, is subject to this tax; provided, however, that non-residents are not subject to taxation by school districts.

Any person claiming non-residency status must provide proof of non-residency such as a passport with a valid student or exchange visitors’’ visa, a driver’s license, a local tax return from his or her resident municipality, voter registration card, or other acceptable documentation. Any person claiming non-residency exemption status must provide proof of payment of the local earned income/compensation and net profits tax elsewhere for the concurrent time period.

The earned income/compensation tax, as levied on non-residents by the Ordinance and Resolutions of the municipalities, shall relate to and is imposed at the rate of one percent (1%) upon the salaries, wages, commissions and other compensation paid by an employer or on his or her behalf to a person who is employed by him or her. Therefore, if an employer has its place of business within the municipality employs an individual, and all salaries, wages, etc., are paid to the employee from said employer, then wages, salaries, etc. are taxable at the rate as levied by the municipality. (rates can be found at the DCED website http://munstatspa.dced.state.pa.us/findLocalTax.aspx) It makes no difference that the employee spends a significant amount of time outside the municipality on business. The critical factor is whether the salaries, wages, etc. are paid to the employee from the employer or business located within our taxing jurisdiction(s). If this is the case, then the tax is properly levied and no refunds should be issued.

VIII. ESTIMATED TAX

A. Every taxpayer of the taxing district, having a tax liability of $240.00 or more shall make payment of estimated income tax. The quarterly installments shall be due April 15, July 15, October 15 of the tax year and January 15 of the tax year following. Failure to make estimated payment will result in the imposition of interest and penalty as set forth in section XIII.

IX. WAGE ATTACHMENTS

The Municipal and School Earned Income Tax Office will issue wage attachments for unpaid taxes in accordance with Pennsylvania laws.

X. BAD CHECKS

The Municipal and School Earned Income Tax Office may charge a fee for collection on any check that is returned.

XI. CHANGES IN THE LANGUAGE OF ACT 511 BY THE PENNSYLVANIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Should the Pennsylvania General Assembly amend Act 511 or Act 32 language, the language shall be incorporated into these rule and regulations.

XII. ACCOUNTING, PAYMENT AND RECORDS, ACCOUNTING METHODS

No uniform method of accounting is prescribed. Each taxpayer shall adopt such forms and methods of accounting as in his judgment are best suited for his purpose. The two principal methods of accounting are: (1) the cash receipts and disbursement method and (2) the “accrual basis” method. If the method employed does not clearly reflect the net income, the computation shall be made by the Income Tax Officer, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, to clearly reflect the net income.

ACCOUNTING PERIOD

If the taxpayer has no annual accounting period or does not keep books, the net income shall be computed onthe basis of the calendar year.

NET LOSS

“Net Loss” in any year may not be carried to another year.

PAYMENT BY EMPLOYERS

A. REGISTRATION OF EMPLOYERS

If an employer has a place of business within a tax collection district and employs one or more persons, other than domestic servants, for compensation, the employer shall register, withhold applicable tax and file returns.

For purposes of these regulations, “place of business” includes without limitation any location from which an employee regularly conducts business for the employer; an employee’s home if the employer regularly mails or email directions to the employee at the home, or the employee regularly mails or emails business communications to the employer, employer customers, or employer vendors from the home.

B. CERTIFICATION OF EMPLOYEES

An employer shall require each new employee to complete a Local Earned Income Taxpayer Residency Certification form provided by the DCED to help identify the political subdivision where an employee is domiciled and employed. The employer shall retain residency information provided by the employee and, upon request, shall provide this information tothe tax officer to reconcile, correct or otherwise confirm the political  subdivision information for the employee. An employer shall also require any employee who changes his/her addressor domicile to complete a certificate of residency form.

C. EMPLOYERS REQUIRED TO WITHHOLD

Every employer, who employs one or more persons at a place of business within a tax collection district, shall at the time of payment deduct from the compensation due each employee employed at such place of business the greater of the employee’s resident tax or the employee’s non-resident tax as released in the official register.

WITHHOLDING BY AGREEMENT

Employers although not required to withhold a tax from the earnings of Domestic servants, Farm Labor or casual Labor not in the usual course of business may voluntarily agree with such employees to withhold the tax and remit it to the tax officer.

An out-of-state employer who employs a Pennsylvania resident at a work location outside of Pennsylvania is not required to withhold the tax. Any such employer may, however, voluntarily agree with the employee to withhold and remit the tax along with appropriate forms to the tax officer of the tax collection district in which the employee resides. For purposes of this regulation, an out-of-state employer is defined as an employer that does not have a business within the commonwealth.

PLACE AND MANNER OF PAYMENT

A. FILING AND REMITTANCE
All employers that have a place of business within a tax collection district and withhold local income tax shall file with and remit, on a quarterly basis within thirty (30) days following the end of each calendar quarter, taxes withheld to the tax officer of the tax collection district in which the employer has a place of business.


B. ELECTIVE FILING AND REMITTANCE BYMULTI-WORK LOCATION EMPLOYER


An employer with more than one place of business in more than one tax collection district may elect to remit the tax withheld from all employees in all its work locations within the Commonwealth for the preceding month and file within thirty (30) days following the end of each month one single combined monthly return as follows:

1. In order to be eligible to file combined returns and make combined payments the employer must:

a. File a notice of its intention to  file combined returns and make combined payments with the tax officer for each place of employment at least one month prior to filing its first combined return or making its first combined payment.

b. Obtain written approval from the tax officer in the tax collection district in which the employer desires to file a combined return; and

c. File its combined return and remit its combined payment electronically on a monthly, rather than a quarterly,basis.

2. An employer with payroll operation  located within one tax collection district shall file the combined return and remittance of earned income taxes withheld to the tax officer in that tax collection district; provided however, if the tax officer declines in writing to receive the combined filing, then the employer may choose to file a combined return with any tax officer in a tax collection district where the employer maintains a place of business employing one or more employees; so long as the chosen tax officer has consented.

3. An employer with payroll operations located in more than one collection district or outside theCommonwealth, may file a combined return with the tax officer of a tax collection district within which the employer has a place of business employing one or more employees, so long as the chosen tax officer has consented.

4. The election by an eligible employer to file combined returns and make combined payments shall in no way alter an employee’s workplace for purposes of non-residency tax liability.

All income tax shall be paid at the Municipal and School Income Tax Office. (All checks for the tax shall be made payable to Income Tax Officer). Taxpayers are not required to remit amounts of $1.00 or less. The tax office will not refund or credit amounts of $1.00 or less.


RECORDS TO BE KEPT BY TAXPAYERS

Taxpayers and employers are required to keep such record as will enable the filing of true and accurate declarations and returns, whether of taxes withhold at source or of taxes payable on earnings or net profits, and such records shall be preserved for a period of not less than six (6) years in order to enable the Income Tax Officer or any agent designated by him to verify the correctness of the declarations or returns filed.

XIII. INTERESTAND PENALTIES

If for any reason the tax is not paid when due, interest and penalty at the rate prescribed in Act 32 shall be added and collected for any return, declaration or payment required by the tax enactment. Where suit is brought for the recovery of any such tax, the person liable therefore shall in addition, be liable for the costs of collection and the interest and penalty herein imposed. Penalty on estimated tax payments will not be assessed if the total estimated payment equals the total tax for the preceding tax year or ninety (90%) of the current year tax.

XIV. TAXPAYERS BILL OF RIGHTS

In accordance with Act 50 of 1998 the Municipal and School Income Tax Office has adopted a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. A copy may be obtained in personor by mail at: 2790 West Fourth Street,Williamsport, PA 17701, by calling 570-601-3980 ext. 33540, or by fax at 570-327-0650. The Bill of Rights may also be accessed at our website (www.wasd.org/taxoffice/).