We have written a couple of posts about the Lancaster County-wide Property Tax Reassessment.  In this post, we want to focus specifically on commercial and industrial properties.  This includes any sort of income producing properties, including apartments and other rental properties.

As we explained before, the aim of the 2018 Reassessment is to make the assessed value of property equal to the actual fair market value of that property.  That is relatively easy to do with residential property – the County can see what properties of a similar size and location have sold for, and compare that to your residential property.  But for commercial property, that is much more difficult.  Your commercial property is different from most other properties. 
Continue Reading Lancaster County Reassessment – Commercial and Industrial Property Assessment Appeals

By now, all property owners have had some time to stew over the preliminary reassessments they have received.  You’ve read our recent post on the Lancaster County property reassessment, searched Google for more information and discussed it with friends and neighbors.  The good news is, you don’t have to do anything yet.  That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s not time for you to start considering your options and preparing for the inevitable.

Final assessments will be mailed to all property owners on June 1, 2017.  You have 40 days from the date of final notice to file your appeal if you don’t agree with your property’s assessed value or the value becomes final.  As is the case with everything else in life, that time will fly by.  And because the appeal process may in some cases require an appraisal of your property, your decision to begin the process should be made sooner rather than later.
Continue Reading To Appeal, or not to Appeal – That is the question after you receive your property reassessment.

If you own property in Lancaster County, you probably have heard a lot about the County-wide property reassessment.  You should have received your Preliminary Assessment Notice in the mail.  If you suffered from a bit of shell shock after opening the Notice, take a breath, there are things you can do if you feel the value attributed to your home is incorrect.
Continue Reading So I Received My Preliminary Property Assessment Notice. Now What?

Ask yourself this question, and answer honestly: how do I feel about my business recordkeeping?

Last month I attended a presentation hosted by a friend and coworker, Dave the Tax Guy of ITP Taxes. The topic: Recordkeeping. I know, I know, sounds like a topic as enthralling as watching paint dry. But I can assure you, Dave quickly had the undivided attention of everyone in the room, as he told a harrowing story about the process of working through an audit by the IRS. 
Continue Reading Improving Business Recordkeeping

As income tax season is quickly ramping up, I am commonly asked by clients which parent can claim the children as dependents when they are separated from the other parent. And like any good lawyer, I often say it depends.

So what exactly does it depend on? According to the Internal Revenue Service, in order to claim a child as a dependent he or she must be a qualifying child. Assuming your children are qualifying children, only one exemption can be claimed per qualifying child. The IRS has determined that the “custodial parent” gets the to claim the exemption. The IRS has its own definition of “custodial parent.” According to their regulations, a custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lived for the greater number of overnights in the calendar year.
Continue Reading Tax season – Who Gets to Claim the Kids?

After years of rumors that the tax would be phased out completely (maybe even since its enactment in 1844), the day has come. Effective January 1, 2016, Pennsylvania’s Capital Stock and Foreign Franchise Tax was finally eliminated.

Prior to its elimination, the tax applied to Pennsylvania corporations with capital stock, joint-stock associations, limited liability companies

The Lancaster County Tax Collection Bureau (lctcb.org) recently clarified their stance on the quarterly tax return and payment obligation for individuals who earn at least $25,000.00 per year and are either self-employed or do not have the tax withheld from his or her paycheck. These individuals must file quarterly tax returns and make quarterly estimated tax payments, or will be subject to interest and penalties for any tax that was not paid by the due date, plus a $25.00 late fee. Quarterly payments are due 30 days after the end of each calendar quarter.

In the past, the Tax Collection Bureau has taken a more forgiving approach with these taxpayers, foregoing the fine and the quarterly payment obligation even though the Bureau revised its Supplemental Information Regarding Annual and Quarterly Tax Return Filing Requirements and Filing Extensions (http://www.lctcb.org/earned-income-tax/annual-return-filing-requir.pdf) on January 1, 2014.
Continue Reading Lancaster County Small Business Tax Update

In the early stages of starting a business, entrepreneurs often face many problems, most of which require time and money to evaluate and resolve. That being said, there are certain investments a business owner can make that will save a lot of time and money in the long run – one of which is evaluating what laws are applicable to the business and how to best comply with such laws.

Failure to comply with applicable laws can lead to fines, penalties, corporate liability and even personal liability, depending on the facts and circumstances of each case. Noncompliance isn’t the only issue to think through – the interaction between these laws and the potential impacts on your business are also important considerations.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to what laws apply to a particular business.  In this blog post I attempt to give you a framework to begin to evaluate what laws may apply to your business. Of course, this list is not intended to be exhaustive or a replacement for consulting an experienced business attorney, but I hope that you will find it to be helpful.

Local Laws

Local laws, commonly referred to as ordinances, may be applicable to your business depending on what city, town or municipality it is located in. Ordinances may require certain licenses, permits and real estate requirements. For example, the City of Lancaster recently approved an ordinance which requires businesses with locations within the city limits to register by filling out a form and paying a business registration fee of $35.00. Ordinances can typically be found on a local website or by contacting the municipal office.

State Laws and Regulations

State laws are enacted by the state legislature and may apply to your business by virtue of being organized under the laws of a particular state, or if your business meets certain statutory criteria, such as having a physical location in the state, marketing or conducting other business operations within a state. State laws often point to regulatory bodies to develop specific regulations which further interpret and perhaps enforcement of the laws in a particular area. An example of such a regulatory agency would be the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which issues regulations interpreting the Pennsylvania Liquor Code. The Bureau of Liquor Control and Enforcement within the Pennsylvania State Police then enforces the Liquor Code and PLCB regulations. 
Continue Reading As a Small Business Owner Do You Know the Laws that Apply to Your Business?