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City of Philadelphia

Technical Rulings

Requesting a Private Letter Ruling

A taxpayer may submit a written request to the Department for a private letter ruling when the Philadelphia Code or Revenue's regulations do not adequately address the proper tax treatment for the taxpayer's particular set of facts or circumstances. However, the Department is not obligated to issue a taxpayer a private letter ruling.

A taxpayer's request for a private letter ruling should be as detailed as possible. First and foremost, the identity of the taxpayer seeking the ruling must be disclosed. The Department will not issue a ruling for an undisclosed taxpayer. The ruling request should always provide the taxpayer's specific question(s) to be answered by the Department. The taxpayer must also provide a detailed set of facts and circumstances as applicable to the situation or transactions (whether the event(s) already occurred or are being contemplated) along with any identified applicable federal, state or local tax statutes governing the fact pattern or transaction. If the taxpayer believes that the Department should take a particular tax position, the taxpayer should provide the reasons for that position.

The private letter ruling is valid only for the taxpayer who requested it and cannot be used or relied upon by another taxpayer. In addition, the private letter ruling may not be used or cited as a precedent in a judicial proceeding.

Fees for private letter ruling:
  • $1,500 for any opinion on the Realty Transfer Tax
  • $1,000 for any other tax-related opinion.
  • $2,000 additional fee for an expedited ruling (within 20 days of the receipt of a complete and proper request)

Therefore if a taxpayer is seeking an expedited ruling on the Realty Transfer Tax for example, the combined fee is $3,500. The fee is due and payable at the time of the request.

Any request for a private letter ruling may be withdrawn by the taxpayer at any time before the ruling has been issued, but the withdrawn request will not entitle the taxpayer to a refund of the fee unless the opinion remains outstanding for more than 120 business days after the receipt of a proper and complete request.

Ruling Requests

Department of Revenue
Technical Staff
ATTN: Joseph F. Procopio
Municipal Services Building
Room 400
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19102