Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 2, 2013

Somerset City Council hears first reading of tax ordinance

Somerset —  

City officials last week heard the first reading of an ordinance to establish its own occupational tax in an effort to claim its share of the revenue.
Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler during the Monday, Feb. 25 Somerset City Council meeting emphasized the city’s own occupational tax rate is offsetting the county’s current 1 percent rate, taken from employees’ pay and from businesses’ net profit. 
That means no one will be paying an occupational tax to two different entities.
“There’s no additional dollars, we’re just dividing up the pot,” said Girdler. “We and the county are just cooperating ... there will be no increase at all on anybody’s taxes.” 
According to the ordinance, read by Somerset City Attorney Carrie Wiese during the meeting, the city’s rate could be set at six-tenths of a percent, if nothing changes with the ordinance. 
Wiese touched on several parts of Ordinance 13-02. Sections of the ordinance include which businesses must pay the city’s tax and which businesses are exempt — things that align fairly closely with the county’s current tax ordinance. 
“Businesses already exempt from the county’s occupational tax will be exempt from our occupational tax as well,” Wiese said. “You don’t pay the county occupational tax, you’re probably not going to have to pay the city occupational tax.”
Wiese also touched on penalties for businesses that do not pay the tax in an effort to evade payment, how businesses should file returns for the IRS and the city, and how the tax is meant to be collected through the employers’ payroll system, 
“It’s exactly the same as the other occupational taxes paid,” said Wiese. “It’s the same way the county occupational tax works now.
“Any business that pays the county occupational tax will understand this,” Wiese later said. 

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