A Philadelphia Tax Clearance Certificate proves you’re in compliance with the City’s tax laws or that your tax account is up-to-date. This document is required to apply for Philadelphia tax discounts, obtain certain City licenses, or enter into a contract with the City.

Philadelphia Tax Clearance Certificates are generally valid for 30 days after they are issued. But the frequency of when you may need this document will depend on the type of transaction you are conducting. For example, building contractors need tax clearance each time they apply for a permit. Restaurant owners need a tax clearance certificate each time one of their City licenses is up for renewal.

Check your status online

It’s easy to check your compliance status or request a tax clearance certificate online—follow these steps:

  • Find the “Tax clearance” panel at the foot of the Philadelphia Tax Center’s homepage and select “Request a tax clearance certificate.”
  • Carefully read the “Warning” and select “Accept.”
  • On the “Tax clearance request” screen, choose the tax clearance type you need and be ready to share your Federal Employer ID or Social Security Number. Enter your name and select “Search.” Follow the on-screen instructions to complete and submit your request.

When you select “Search,” you’ll see an option to print a compliance certificate if your account is in good standing. Nevertheless, if your tax account is delinquent, the system will display a “failure” message and instruct you to log into your Philadelphia Tax Center profile for more information.

There is no need to create a username and password, but doing so can streamline the resolution of tax clearance issues. When you log in, you’ll have access to direct information about missing returns or payments. Due to the confidential nature of tax information, we cannot provide specific details unless you are logged into the Tax Center or contact us by email or telephone.

Need help?

If you have issues obtaining a tax clearance certificate through the Philadelphia Tax Center, you can get additional assistance by:

  • Emailing your request to tax.clearance@phila.gov. Make sure to 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). Expect a response within 3-5 business days.
  • Visiting us in person at the Municipal Services Building (MSB).

Processing times

The quickest way to get a Philadelphia Tax Clearance Certificate is online through the Philadelphia Tax Center. If your account is current, the system generates your certificate immediately. If you send paper returns through the mail, 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. If you owe taxes, you must pay the balance in full at tax-services.phila.gov or set up a payment plan to get your tax clearance.