Philly Businesses Can Get Some Tax Relief Through New City Measures

Mayor Jim Kenney and his top finance officials announced three new rules aimed at providing some help to businesses ailing from the COVID-19 pandemic economic downtown.

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Businesses in Philadelphia can now seek some relief from city taxes and fees through three new measures announced Tuesday.

They aim to lessen the burden created by the economic downtown caused by the monthslong COVID-19 pandemic, city finance officials said.

"“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,” Mayor Jim 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."

The three new rules are:

  • Amendment to the Use and Occupancy Tax: This change to the U&O, which charges businesses based on the amount of footage used for their workspace, allows restaurants, bars and other businesses to lower the space they are taxed on because of shutdowns to inside eating and service.
  • Amendment to the Business Income and Receipts Tax: This rule allows businesses to lower their estimated revenue to lower the 2020 BIRT tax charged by the city. Refunds will be issued in 6-to-8 weeks for businesses that paid their estimated BIRT taxes in advance.
  • Refuse Fee Due Date Extension: Half of the $500 annual fee is normally due by Dec. 31 of each year, which is halfway through the city's fiscal year. However, the initial payment has now been postponed. The full fee will be due June 30.

The city also launched a new web tool on its Commerce Department website that helps businesses connect with organizations and resources to help navigate the economic downtown and make it through the pandemic. It's called the Business Resource Finder and can be found HERE.

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