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Philadelphia Airport — Watch Where You Are Working

2 min readBy: Gerald Prante

If you work in an area that is close to many different taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. jurisdictions, you are probably familiar with the differing rates that each has. But if you work at Philadelphia International Airport, even your co-worker may be paying a different rate than you. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Don Peterson may be one of the few people who didn’t change jobs, didn’t move to a new home, and didn’t get a pay cut – but still got a $400 break on his city wage tax last year.

His secret: working at Philadelphia International Airport.

Not just any work. But work that squarely plants him behind the US Airways ticket counters in Terminal A-West, the three-year-old international terminal.

Working the same job in Terminals B or C, where US Airways does the majority of its business, would hit Peterson right in the wallet – because the terminal that Peterson transferred to last year, you see, is in a part of the city-owned airport that is outside Philadelphia.

And that means no city wage tax.

But it gets even more complicated:

Consider 55-year-old Ron Hanselman, a US Airways worker who pushes wheelchairs and helps elderly passengers board flights. He does all this work in the new international terminal.

But to begin his day, Hanselman must obtain his daily assignment at an office near Gate 16 in Terminal B, a gate that happens to sit in Tinicum. And to get there, he must walk through the B concourse, which is in Philadelphia.

Because of that work-related stroll through the city, he said, US Airways has determined that he, and others in that job, must pay the city wage tax on 55 percent of his hours. (Full Story)

Philadelphia does have one of the highest city taxes in the country, as was illustrated by a recent Tax Foundation piece on the income taxes that visiting athletes are forced to pay on road trips. And these high city taxes can put one airline at the airport that is subject to the Philadelphia tax at a competitive disadvantage relative to those who are lucky enough to be in a terminal that avoids the city’s tax.