Your local tax forms are in the mail (hopefully your mail) and you have a filing requirement even if you do not receive it!


By Jim Gilboy

One of the pieces of mail that arrive every January or February, like credit cards bills with charges for your Christmas presents, is your local earned income tax return. In the past, many of these forms came from your local municipality or service providers hired by the municipalities. However, because of Pennsylvania Act 32, there are many changes related to 2012 local income tax filings this spring and we can expect to hear about a few problems.

Act 32 significantly reduced the number of tax collectors in Pennsylvania (from 560 to 69) and established a single Tax Collection District (TCD) in each county. The exceptions are Allegheny County where there are 4 TCDs, and Philadelphia County which is exempt from Act 32. This law is a positive step forward from the old way of collecting local taxes and should be a more efficient process that saves the taxpayers money.

Many taxpayers will be receiving their local income tax forms from a new tax collector this year. This is bound to create some problems, and I have experienced one of these issues first hand. When I checked my mail this past Friday night, I was surprised to have received 119 local earned income tax forms addressed to my home. Now, three of these forms were correctly mailed to me and family members, but the other 116 were intended for an apartment complex a few miles away but were incorrectly addressed to my address.

The Post Office informed me that they would not accept the incorrectly addressed mail for return because it was sent Bulk Mail and they do not return bulk mail. A Postal employee volunteered to me that many of these local tax forms are coming back to the Post Office with missing or incorrect addresses on them.

I was able to reach a representative of the tax collector on Monday morning and she was very surprised by my situation. She called back in half an hour with a resolution to the situation. She informed me that the addresses would be updated for the residents of the apartment complex and a new form would be mailed to them. She instructed me to dispose of the incorrect tax forms that I received. Fortunately, there were no social security numbers on these forms, just an account number, so no sensitive data was ever in danger of being compromised by this mix up.

The important fact remains that even if you do not receive a local earned income tax form in the mail, you still have the requirement to file your local income tax return by the due date, which is generally April 15.

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This advice is not intended or written to be used for, and it cannot be used for, the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that may be imposed, or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another person, any tax related matter.

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