States tax real property in a variety of ways: some impose a rate or a millage—the amount of tax per thousand dollars of value—on the fair market value of the property, while others impose it on some percentage (the...
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- Pennsylvania Urged Not to Tax Out-of-State Emergency Resp...
Pennsylvania Urged Not to Tax Out-of-State Emergency Responders
In early February, as 800,000 Pennsylvanians were without power due to winter weather, over 5,000 out-of-state emergency responders came to their rescue to restore power lines and getting electricity flowing again. A voluntary program exists to share personnel and resources between utilities in different states for just such emergencies.
However, a problem was pointed out last week by former Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission member Wayne Gardner, in an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Unfortunately, there is a problem in Pennsylvania that recalls the old saying that no good deed ever goes unpunished: Our state requires out-of-state emergency responders and others who work here for a short period — even a single day — to file state income tax returns if they earn as little as $33. Only residents of Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia are excepted.
Put this issue on a personal level: Imagine an emergency responder who has a choice of being sent to Pennsylvania where this tax burden would be imposed upon her or another state where out-of-state emergency responders are exempt from state and local income taxes. At a time when state officials should be extending a hardy “thank you,” Pennsylvania state officials are yelling “pay me!”
Fortunately, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., have teamed up to solve this problem. Their legislation, The Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act, is a joint Democratic and Republican effort to simplify the lives of workers who might spend a few days in other states as part of their employment. It would protect them from the cost and burden of complying with multiple state tax laws.
Pennsylvania is not alone in subjecting out-of-state visitors to tax withholding on their first day of travel:
More about the proposed federal bill here.
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The Tax Policy Blog is the official blog of the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. Our economists welcome your feedback. If you would like to send an e-mail to the author of a blog post, please click on that person's name to locate his or her e-mail address or visit our staff page here.
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