Amendments to Local Tax Collection Law
Pennsylvania recently adopted Act 164 of 2014 to amend the Local Tax Collection Law effective as to the appointment of a Deputy Tax Collector (explained below) on October 22, 2014 and as to all other provisions October 22, 2015. The amendments make the basic tax collector training program and test mandatory as a prerequisite to performing duties as a tax collector. The amendments create a Pennsylvania Qualified Municipal Collector (PQMC) designation to be awarded to those who successfully complete the basic training program and pass the basic qualification examination. The training program and test may now also be administered on-line or through a compact disc instructional program. The tax collector must provide a qualified tax collector certificate to the municipal secretary or clerk of the municipality for which the individual has been elected.
The amendments also modify tax collector qualification standards. The tax collector must now be designated as a qualified tax collector on the date he or she is scheduled to take office. If not so designated on the date scheduled to take office, the tax collector position shall be deemed vacant. An individual appointed to fill a vacant seat has sixty (60) days to become a qualified tax collector. Tax collectors in office as of the effective date of the amendments will be considered qualified tax collectors and issued a qualified tax collector’s certificate, but shall be subject to the qualification requirements upon re-election. Tax collectors must now also provide copies of renewed qualified tax collector certificates to a municipal secretary or clerk of the municipality for which the tax collector was elected upon completing mandatory annual continuing education requirements. If the tax collector fails to complete the annual continuing education requirements or provide a copy of the qualified tax collector’s certificate to the municipal secretary or clerk within sixty (60) days of issuance of the Certificate, the tax collector will be ineligible to be placed on the ballot for the office of tax collector at the end of the tax collector’s current term of office.
Another new requirement enacted by the amendments will be a State and Federal Criminal History Background Check for each new or re-elected tax collector. An individual may not submit a nomination petition for the office of tax collector, if the individual’s criminal history record indicates the individual has been convicted of burglary, robbery, theft, forgery or fraud, offenses against public administration, or hacking and similar offenses.
Finally, the amendments require the tax collector, with the approval of the taxing district and his or her surety, to deputize in writing one or more deputy tax collectors who will be empowered to collect and settle taxes during any incapacitation of the tax collector. “Incapacitation” shall mean temporarily or permanently impaired by reason of physical illness, physical disability, mental illness, mental deficiency, or other cause to the extent that the person lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning the collection and settlement of taxes.
The amendments significantly change the requirements for a tax collector. Tax collectors and municipal governments should plan ahead so they are prepared when the amendments become effective on October 22, 2015.
If you have any questions regarding this update, or any other municipal law matters, please contact Andrew Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Christian Miller, email@example.com, by email or phone at (717) 845-1524.