State and Local Taxation: Business Privilege Taxes and the Utility Exception in Pennsylvania

logistics, taxation, pennsylvaniaThe Local Tax Enabling Act authorizes municipalities in Pennsylvania to enact business privilege taxes; it applies throughout the Commonwealth, with the exception of Philadelphia, which is governed by separate legislation. While the scope of the act is quite broad, it does include an exclusion associated with utilities. The exclusion bars the following types of taxes:

  • “a tax on the gross receipts from utility service of any person or company whose rates and services are fixed and regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission” (PUC); or
  • a tax on the gross receipts from “any public utility services rendered by any such person or company”; or
  • a tax on the gross receipts from “any privilege or transaction involving the rendering of any such public utility service.” See 53 P.S.
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