Do you still work for a Philadelphia company from your home outside the city?
Here’s a step-by-step guide to requesting a city wage tax refund.
Online forms went live on Thursday, and the paper forms will be available this week, according to Rebecca Lopez Kriss, deputy commissioner for the city’s Department of Revenue.
The city is also allowing companies to make requests for all their employees, but those will take longer than individual requests.
In November, the city launched its new online Philadelphia Tax Center, where you can set up a web account to pay taxes and also apply for refunds, said Christopher Jones, attorney with Ballard Spahr’s tax group.
“Because of COVID-19 remote work, the city last year began allowing employers to request city wage tax refunds, and they’ll allow it again in 2021,” said Jones.
How you can file for your city wage tax refund
1. If your company doesn’t file en masse, you can file for your own refund. You’ll need a letter from your employer or from payroll to accompany your refund request.
The letter — signed and on company letterhead — must include the dates you were required to work outside Philadelphia.
Here’s a link to the city’s website: tax-services.phila.gov/
Here’s a link to the form itself: www.phila.gov/documents/2021-wage-tax-forms/
2. Since November, all wage tax refund requests can be submitted online at the site above.
This includes all nonresidents’ refunds. You don’t need a username and password to request a refund on the Philadelphia Tax Center, but it may help to set up an account if you also need to pay other city taxes.
If you choose to go old school and use paper forms to apply for your wage tax refund, the city will be posting those online in the coming weeks.
3. For salaried employees, you’ll need your W-2 from payroll.
And don’t forget that letter from your employer: Nonresident employees who submit a refund request online must attach the “working-from-home” letter from their company.
4. Then it’s time to wait. Typically it will take six to eight weeks for your refund to be sent. Here’s a Philadelphia Tax Center video from last year explaining the process:
“While we will always make paper forms available, submitting through the Philadelphia Tax Center is the fastest way,” Lopez Kriss said.
The new system is mobile-enabled and available in Spanish. The city is working to add functionality for taxpayers to check the status of their requests, but that’s not live yet.
Note: You will not receive a refund if you owe delinquent taxes or fees to the City of Philadelphia.
Finally, you have three years from when your return is due to get your city wage tax refund.
Still have questions? You can email the Department of Revenue at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at these phone numbers: 215-686-6574/6575/6578.
Or your employer could file for you
If you have an awesome-sauce boss who files for a refund on your behalf, that’s even better.
Employers will be able to request 2021 wage tax refunds on behalf of their workers, just as they were for 2020 city wage tax refunds. Employers can file in bulk, but that system is still in development. The Department will make it available as soon as possible.