(Photo by Julie Zeglen)
During the City of Philadelphia’s daily update on the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday, Mayor Jim Kenney announced Philly would be making some changes to its tax code in an effort to provide local businesses with additional economic relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
They mayor said the City is facing its own budget challenges and is “advocating endlessly” for more funding from the state and federal governments to provide businesses with more support.
“I recognize that none of these changes will be enough to fully overcome the impact of an economic downturn that has hit certain sectors — including restaurants — tremendously,” Kenney said. “But rest assured that within the constraints of the City’s own budget challenges, we are looking for new ways to provide relief.”
Philly's small businesses are critical to our city, and we know they are struggling. Today, @PhilaRevenue announced 3 changes to provide businesses with some relief:
-Updated exemptions for Use & Occupancy tax
-Ability to amend BIRT returns
-Extended Refuse Fee due dates
— Jim #MaskUpPHL Kenney (@PhillyMayor) December 1, 2020
The tax changes include amending Use & Occupancy guidance to exempt restaurants and bars from Use & Occupancy tax on the square footage of the business used for indoor dining (within its dining room space) during the period when indoor dining is prohibited. The exemption comes from the recent closure of indoor dining that went into effect Nov. 20 through at least the new year.
Second, the revenue department will provide guidance and instructions to businesses that feel they overestimated their 2020 Business Income & Receipts Tax estimated payment to amend the return and “provide a new, more realistic, estimated payment and have the difference refunded.” This process will take between six and eight weeks for businesses to receive refunds, the City said.
And third, the City will be extending Refuse Fee due dates, making the $500 refuse fee now due by June 30, 2021. Previously, half of the annual fee was due by the end of the year. More detailed information about these three changes to businesses taxes can be found on the City’s website.
City gov also rolled out a Resources for Businesses tool with an aim to connect local business owners and entrepreneurs with orgs that offer guidance on starting, running and growing a business. Free and low-cost services including legal assistance, workshops and funding opportunities are available on the tool, and users can search by organization name, keyword or type of resource.
The mayor also reminded folks that the Department of Commerce’s Office of Business Services can also help business owners navigate available City services and regulations, and help people through the process of opening, operating or growing a business in Philadelphia. The office can reached by calling the City’s business services hotline (215-683-2100) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.-30-
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