SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP TAXPAYER
BILL OF RIGHTS DISCLOSURE STATEMENT AND RULES GOVERNING ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS
The Township and its taxpayers have mutual obligations when it comes to reporting and payment of lawfully imposed taxes. It is the obligation of each taxpayer to accurately report all information required for each tax return and to timely file and pay the tax determined to be due thereon. It is the obligation of the Township to treat all taxpayers in a fair and equitable manner when the Township is seeking to determine the accuracy of any tax return or is enforcing the payment of any tax due. This Taxpayers Bill of Rights Disclosure Statement as required by Act 50 of 1998 is the Township's commitment that it will keep its obligation.
TAXES SUBJECT TO BILL OF RIGHTS
Not all taxes are subject to this Bill of Rights. For example, real estate taxes on your property are not included in the schedule of "eligible" taxes hereinafter referred to, although it does apply to the payment of interest on refunds of real estate taxes.
The taxes to which this Bill of Rights applies are taxes imposed by the Township under the authority of the Local Tax Enabling Act sometimes referred to simply as Act 511. The taxes imposed by the Township under that statute which are herein referred to as eligible taxes are:
1. Earned Income and Net Profits Tax.
2. Business Privilege Tax.
3. Mercantile License Tax.
4. Occupation Privilege Tax.
NOTICE: The Township has delegated to the York Area Earned Income Tax Bureau, 1415 North Duke Street, York, Pennsylvania, 17404, responsibility for the collection of the Township's Earned Income and Net Profit Tax. Any issues relating to payment, collection or refund of this tax should be addressed to that Bureau which will provide you with a Disclosure Statement and advise you concerning its appeals process.
ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW AND AUDITS
When the Township initiates an administrative review or audit of a taxpayer's return or tax liability, the taxpayer has certain rights as well as responsibilities. For the purposes of this statement, an administrative review is initiated when the Township requests the taxpayer to produce to a Township official documentation or other information in support of the taxpayer's return, or as may be necessary to determine a taxpayer's liability should no return have been filed. An audit occurs when the Township sends a representative of the Township to a taxpayer's place of business or residence to review and analyze a taxpayer's books and records. In the case of an audit, the taxpayer will be required to produce and make available to the auditor requested documentation and information as may be necessary to determine a taxpayer's liability.
The Township must give the taxpayer at least thirty (30) calendar days written notice of an administrative review or audit. The notice must detail the documentation or information which the taxpayer is required to produce to the review officer or is to be made available to the auditor. The Township will for good cause extend the time when the documentation or information must be produced or be made available for audit upon written request of the taxpayer. Such extension request should set forth in reasonable detail the reasons why the taxpayer requires additional time and be mailed or delivered to the Township not more than twenty (20) calendar days from the date of the Township's notice.
The Township is not permitted to take any enforcement action against a taxpayer during the taxpayer's thirty (30) day response period or any extension of that period.
PERIOD OF REVIEW OR AUDIT
The Township may initiate an administrative review or audit only for tax returns or taxes payable no more than three (3) years prior to the mailing date of the Township's notice; provided, however, that if the Township determines as a result of its review or audit that during such three (3) year period the taxpayer failed to file a tax return, underreported income or failed to pay the tax due for any reporting period, then the Township can extend its period of review or audit to additional prior years. In addition, if the Township has developed sufficient information from other sources to indicate that a taxpayer failed to file a required return or pay tax which was due more than three (3) years prior to the date of the notice, the Township may extend its period of review or audit to prior years.
No action shall be commenced by the Township to recover delinquent taxes more than six (6) years following the date such taxes were due and payable.
FEDERAL TAX INFORMATION AND CONFIDENTIALITY
A taxpayer may be required by the Township to provide copies of such taxpayer's federal income tax returns if it can be shown that the federal tax information is reasonably necessary for the enforcement or collection of an eligible tax and the information is not available from other sources or from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. Federal tax information and all other information acquired by the Township as a result of a review, audit, return, report, investigation, hearing or verification will be held in confidence. Such information will not be divulged or made known to any person; no book containing any abstract or particulars will be permitted to be seen or examined by any person; and it will not be printed, published or otherwise be made known in any manner.
NOTICE OF UNDERPAYMENT
If as a result of an administrative review or audit it is determined that a taxpayer has underpaid an eligible tax liability, the Township must notify the taxpayer in writing of the basis for such underpayment. Such notification shall include:
1. The tax period or periods for which the underpayment is asserted.
2. The amount of the underpayment detailed by tax period.
3. The legal basis upon which the Township has relied to determine that an underpayment exists.
4. An itemization of the revisions made by the Township to a return or report filed by the taxpayer that results in the determination that an underpayment exists.
5. An assessment of penalty and interest on the amount of each underpayment detailed by tax period.
ABATEMENT OF PENALTY AND INTEREST
1. Discretionary Abatement. A taxpayer receiving a notice of underpayment which includes penalty and interest may request the Township to abate any interest attributable in whole or in part to any error or delay by the Township in the performance of a ministerial act so long as no significant aspect of the error or delay can attributed to the taxpayer. Such interest abatement may also be requested with respect to any payment of tax to the extent that any error or delay in payment was attributable to an officer, employee or agent of the Township being erroneous or dilatory in the performance of a ministerial act. The Township will be the sole judge of what constitutes the timely performance of ministerial acts respecting eligible taxes.
2. Mandatory Abatement. The Township must abate any portion of any penalty or excess interest attributable to erroneous advice furnished to a taxpayer in writing by an officer, employee or agent of the Township acting in his or her official capacity if (a) this advice was in response to a specific written request by the taxpayer; (b) was reasonably relied upon by the taxpayer; and (c) the portion of the penalty or addition to tax or excess interest did not result from a failure of the taxpayer to provide adequate or accurate information.
The Township has legal authority to enter into written agreements with any delinquent taxpayer which allows such taxpayer to satisfy a delinquent eligible tax liability in installment payments. Such agreements are discretionary with the Township, but are authorized whenever it is determined that the agreement will facilitate collection of the delinquent tax.
The following rules apply to installment payment agreements:
1. The agreement shall be for a fixed term of months providing for equal monthly installments of the delinquent taxes, penalty and interest.
2. The Township reserves the right to terminate an installment agreement prior to the end of its term if:
(a) It is determined that information provided by the taxpayer to the Township prior to the date of the agreement was inaccurate or incomplete; or
(b) The Township believes that the collection of the tax pursuant to the agreement is in jeopardy.
3. The Township reserves the right to alter, modify or terminate the agreement if it finds that the financial condition of the taxpayer has significantly changed. In such case, the Township must provide the taxpayer with a notice which contains the reasons why the Township believes a significant change has occurred at least thirty (30) days prior to the effective date of the proposed alteration, modification or termination of the agreement.
4. The Township also reserves the right to alter, modify or terminate the agreement if the taxpayer fails to (a) pay any installment of delinquent tax at the time the installment is due; (b) pay any current eligible tax liability at the time the liability is due; or (c) provide a financial condition update as requested by the Township.
5. Notwithstanding the terms of any installment agreement, the taxpayer may at any time prepay in whole or in part any eligible tax payable pursuant to the agreement.
REFUND OF OVERPAYMENTS
A taxpayer who has overpaid an eligible tax may file a written request with the Township for a refund or credit of the tax. A refund request must be made written three (3) years of the due date of the report showing the tax liability (or extended due date) or within one (1) year of actual payment of the tax, whichever is later. If no report is required, the refund request shall be made within three (3) years after the due date for payment of the tax or within one (1) year of the actual payment, whichever is later.
Where a taxpayer files a tax return with the Township showing an overpayment, such return shall be deemed a request for a cash refund unless otherwise indicated on the tax return. Other requests for a refund shall be in writing, and may, but do not have to be, in the form of a Petition For Refund. If filed in Petition form, the taxpayer is entitled to have the refund adjudicated pursuant to the administrative appeal process hereinafter disclosed.
INTEREST ON OVERPAYMENTS
With the exceptions hereinafter noted, all overpayments of tax by a taxpayer to the Township, including taxes on real property, shall bear simple interest from the date of overpayment until the date of resolution. The rate of interest on overpayments shall be the same rate the state is required to pay on overpayments pursuant to Section 806.1 of the Act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.) 343, No. 176), known as the Fiscal Code.
The exceptions to the Township's obligation to pay interest are:
1. No interest shall be allowed if an overpayment is refunded or applied against any other tax interest or penalty due the Township within 75 days after the last date prescribed for filing the report of the tax liability or within 75 days after the date the return or report of the liability due is filed, whichever is later.
2. Overpayments of interest or penalty shall not bear any interest.
A taxpayer's acceptance of the Township's check for refund of an overpayment shall not prejudice the taxpayer's right to claim additional overpayment and interest on such additional overpayment. Tender of a refund check by the Township is deemed to be acceptance of the check by the taxpayer and interest ceases to run on the amount tendered whether or not the taxpayer negotiates the check.
For the purposes of determining the Township's obligation to pay interest on the refund of any overpayment by the taxpayer, the following definitions apply:
Date of Overpayment. The later of the date paid or the date tax is deemed to have been overpaid as follows:
1. Any tax actually deducted and withheld at the source shall be deemed to have been overpaid on the last day for filing the report for the tax period, determined without regard to any extension of time for filing.
2. Any amount overpaid as estimated tax for the tax period shall be deemed to have been overpaid on the last day for filing the final report for the tax period, determined without regard to any extension of time for filing.
3. An overpayment made before the last day prescribed for payment shall be deemed to have been paid on the last day.
4. Any amount claimed to be overpaid with respect to which a lawful administrative review or appellate procedure is initiated shall be deemed to have been overpaid 60 days following the date of initiation of the review or procedure.
Date of resolution. The date the overpayment is refunded or credited as follows
1. For a cash refund, a date preceding the date of the Township's refund check by not more than thirty (30) days.
2. For a credit for an overpayment:
(i) the date of the Township's notice to the taxpayer of the determination of the credit; or
(ii) the due date for payment of the tax against which the credit is applied, whichever first occurs. For a cash refund of a previously determined credit, interest shall be paid on the amount of the credit from a date ninety (90) days after the filing of a request to convert the credit to a cash refund to a date preceding the date of the refund check by not more than thirty (30) days whether or not the refund check is accepted by the taxpayer after tender.
APPLICATION OF VOLUNTARY PAYMENTS
Unless otherwise specified by the taxpayer, all voluntary payment of an eligible tax shall be prioritized by the Township as follows.
4. Any other fees or charges.
ENFORCEMENT OF TAX
Once it has been determined that a taxpayer owes an eligible tax which is unpaid, the Township will take all action legally permitted to be taken to enforce its claim. Such action may include obtaining additional information from you, auditing your records, entering into a settlement with you of any disputed amount of tax, or obtaining liens on your property, wage attachments, levies, seizures and sales of your property in appropriate circumstances. Interest and penalties will be imposed on any tax which is due and unpaid, and under certain circumstances the Township may seek a criminal prosecution against the taxpayer.
The Township has established an administrative process to receive and make determinations on petitions from taxpayers relating to the assessment, determination or refund of an eligible tax. All such petitions will be assigned to a hearing officer who will from time to time be appointed by the Board of Supervisors of the Township.
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE FOR ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS
1. Filing Petition. All petitions must be filed with the Springettsbury Township Tax Hearing Office, 1501 Mt. Zion Road, York, Pennsylvania, 17402. Petitions may be mailed or delivered to the office.
2. Time For Filing.
(a) Refund petitions must be filed within three (3) years after the due date for filing the tax return or report (as extended) or one (1) year after actual payment of the eligible tax, whichever is later. If no report is required, this petition must be filed within three (3) years after the due date for payment of an eligible tax or one (1) year after actual payment, whichever is later.
(b) Petitions for reassessment of an eligible tax must be filed within ninety (90) days of the date of the assessment notice.
(c) A Petition will be timely filed if delivered to the Tax Hearing Office on or before the final filing date or if filed by mail it, is postmarked on or before the final filing date.
3. Content and Form of Petition. All Petitions must be in writing and shall include the following:
(a) The name and address of the taxpayer.(b) The address/addresses of any office maintained by the taxpayer in the Township if different from (a).
(c) The federal tax identification number of the taxpayer.
(d) The account number, if any, assigned to taxpayer by the Township.
(e) The type of eligible tax which is the subject of the Petition.
(f) The fiscal year(s) for which a reassessment or refund is sought.
(g) A concise statement of the reason for the petition and any facts or legal authority supporting the same.
(h) An affidavit in the form authorized by 18 Pa C.S.A. §4904.
Attached hereto marked Appendices A and B are approved forms of a Petition For Reassessment and Petition For Refund. Forms can be obtained from the Tax Hearing Office of Springettsbury Township, 1501 Mt. Zion Road, York, Pennsylvania, 17402.
4. Scheduling of Hearing.
(a) The Tax Hearing Office shall schedule a hearing within thirty (30) days of the date a petition, complete and accurate on its face, is received in the Tax Hearing Office.
(b) Notice of the date, time and place of the hearing shall be given to the taxpayer in writing and sent by first class mail.
(c) A hearing may be continued upon the written request of the taxpayer for good cause shown and the taxpayer's agreement waiving the sixty (60) day decision period until a date not less than thirty (30) days following the date of the continued hearing.
(d) All hearings will be held at the Township offices, 1501 Mt. Zion Road, York, Pennsylvania, 17402.
(a) A taxpayer may appear in any hearing for himself/herself, or may be represented by another person. Where a taxpayer appears by representation, such representative need not be an attorney or certified public accountant, but such representative should be a person possessing appropriate education, training or experience to fairly address the tax issues raised by the petition.
(b) Unless the taxpayer appears in person with the representative, the representative's authority to act for the taxpayer must be in writing and signed by the taxpayer and the taxpayer will be bound by the statements of the representative.
6. Evidence and Record.
(a) All hearings will be conducted in an informal manner and the technical rules of evidence will not apply. However, the Tax Hearing Officer shall have the power to control the conduct of the hearing to assure the orderly presentation of evidence reasonably relevant and material to the issue raised by the petition.
(b) All witnesses offering any oral testimony shall be first sworn under oath or affirmation by the Tax Hearing Officer.
(c) All documents or written statements used or offered into evidence shall be deemed used or offered pursuant to the provision of 18 Pa. C.S.A. §4904 relating to unsworn falsifications to authorities.
(d) Copies of any documents or written statements proposed to be used or offered into evidence by either the taxpayer or the Township shall be provided to the other party not less than five (5) days prior to the hearing.
(e) No stenographic record will be made of any hearing. If a taxpayer desires a stenographic record, upon ten (10) days written notice to the Tax Hearing Officer, a stenographer will be provided at the taxpayer's sole cost.
(f) All evidence presented at a hearing shall be treated as confidential information not subject to disclosure.
(a) All decisions of the Tax Hearing Officer shall be based upon the evidence presented at the hearing and the law applicable thereto.
(b) The decision of the Tax Hearing Officer shall be in writing and shall concisely set forth the facts and the law relied upon and the conclusion of the officer.
(c) All decisions shall be issued within sixty (60) days of receipt of a petition complete and accurate upon its face. Failure to issue a decision within such sixty (60) day period will result in a deemed approval of the taxpayer's petition.
(d) Notice of the decision shall be given to the taxpayer be mailing a copy by first class mail to the taxpayer at the address stated on the petition.
8. Appeal. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Tax Hearing Officer shall have the right of appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of York County, Pennsylvania by filing a Notice of Appeal within thirty (30) days of receipt of the decision.