Want to start a new business, apply for City tax discounts, get a business license, or contract with the City? In all of these instances, you will need to have a Philadelphia tax clearance certificate handy.

Why you need it

A tax clearance certificate shows that you are in good tax standing with the City. This means you have filed all required returns and paid everything you owe. It proves your business has fulfilled its tax obligations.

Generally, City Tax Clearance Certificates are good for 30 days from their date of issuance. But the frequency of needing a clearance will depend on the type of transaction you are conducting.

A building contractor needs tax clearance each time they apply for a permit. A restaurant owner needs a certificate each time one of their City licenses is up for renewal.

Check your status and apply online

To check your compliance status, visit City of Philadelphia Tax Compliance System. Start by selecting the reason the compliance is needed, then type in your name or business name. You will also need your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Social Security Number (SSN).

When you hit “Search,” you will see an option to print a compliance certificate if your account is in good standing.

If your account is delinquent, you will see a non-compliance message with a reference number. The message will also contain a phone number and email address for you to contact us. You must pay the outstanding amount in full or set up a payment plan to receive a clearance certificate.

Other ways to apply

We also accept requests for tax clearance by email or in person:

  • Email your requests to tax.clearance@phila.gov. Please include your name, account number, entity ID (FEIN, SSN), property address (if applicable) and why you are requesting a certificate (ex. Zoning Board, Permits/Licenses), OR,
  • Visit us at the Municipal Services Building (MSB) for in-person requests.

 Processing times

The quickest way to get a City Tax Clearance Certificate is through our tax clearance portal. If your account is current, the system generates your certificate immediately.

If you send your request by email, it will take 3-5 business days to process.

When you have tax debts, you should set up a payment plan or pay the balance in full at www.phila.gov/pay  to get your clearance.

If you file online or mail-in paper returns, the process can take up to several weeks.

If you file and pay online, we will need a copy of the payment receipt to document your account and issue a compliance certificate.

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