The Corporate and Tax Group consists of five units.
Tax & Revenue Unit
The Tax & Revenue Unit is responsible for enforcing the collection of Philadelphia taxes, water debt, and other receivables, representing the City in trial and appellate tax cases, advising the administration and City Council on tax issues, and drafting tax legislation. It has three divisions:
- Major Tax Litigation Division
- Real Estate Tax Division
- Mass Revenue Litigation Division
Major Tax Litigation Division
The Major Tax Litigation Division represents the City of Philadelphia in all business tax petitions to the Philadelphia Tax Review Board and files delinquent business tax collection complaints over $35,000 in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County. It also handles most appeals from those cases. In addition to collecting business taxes, the Major Tax Litigation Division collects all City receivables in Federal Bankruptcy Court for all Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 bankruptcies where the City is a creditor. In addition, this division provides legal advice and helps draft legislation for both City departments and City Council. The division also reviews and approves all Revenue Department regulations and tax credit agreements. Finally, the division handles business tax payoffs for liens, judgments, and business tax accounts.
Real Estate Tax Division
The Real Estate Tax Division of the Tax & Revenue Unit is responsible for representing the City of Philadelphia in the collection of delinquent real estate taxes. That division handles one-third of the foreclosure portfolio directly and manages two-thirds of the portfolio assigned to outside counsel. It also files actions to have a receiver appointed to sequester rents from delinquent commercial property to be applied toward delinquent real estate taxes and other municipal claims. The Real Estate Tax Division also litigates all tax assessment appeals, exemption appeals, and tax abatement cases appealed from the Board of Revision of Taxes (BRT) to the Court of Common Pleas. Finally the division works with Revenue to administer the Owner-Occupied Payment Agreement (OOPA) program for low-income taxpayers and handles appeals from the denial of those agreements.
Mass Revenue Litigation Division
The Mass Revenue Litigation Division of the Tax & Revenue Unit is responsible for representing the City of Philadelphia in all water petitions before the Philadelphia Tax Review Board. It also files lawsuits for all business tax delinquencies under $35,000, all non-filer actions, and all water delinquencies before the Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court in Philadelphia County. This division also handles appeals from the Tax Review Board involving water and most Municipal Court appeals to the state appellate courts. In addition, this division provides legal advice to Revenue’s Water Revenue Bureau. The division also reviews regulations promulgated by the Department of Revenue’s Water Revenue Bureau and Philadelphia Water Department and provides legislative support to both departments.
As Chief Counsel to the Revenue Department, Frances Ruml Beckley leads the unit responsible for enforcing the collection of Philadelphia taxes and agency receivables, for advising the administration and City Council on tax issues, and for representing the City in trial and appellate tax cases.
Frances served as chief counsel from January 2011 to February 2014. From March 2014 to April 2016, she worked in the Appeals and Legislation Unit of the Philadelphia Law Department, where she focused primarily on tax legislation and served as Counsel to the Philadelphia Water, Sewer & Storm Water Rate Board. Before coming to the City full-time, she did consulting work for the Tax Unit and had worked in large law firms (including Drinker Biddle and Ballard Spahr) representing taxpayers in federal, state, and local tax matters. She graduated from Harvard College, Yale Law School, and NYU’s LLM in Taxation program. Immediately after law school, she clerked for the Honorable Jose Cabranes (before his elevation from the District of Connecticut to the Second Circuit) and the Honorable Walter Stapleton (Third Circuit). She is a past chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s State and Local Tax Committee and an adjunct professor at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.
As Chief Deputy of the Tax & Revenue Unit, Frank Paiva is responsible for enforcing the collections of Philadelphia taxes and agency receivables, representing the City in trial and appellate tax cases, advising the administration and City Council on tax issues, and drafting tax legislation.
Prior to serving as Chief Deputy of the Tax & Revenue Unit, Frank led the Major Tax Litigation and Bankruptcy Division of the Philadelphia Law Department. Prior to joining the City’s Law Department, Frank was a senior associate in the tax department of the international law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. He is also a certified public accountant with several years’ experience at the accounting firm formerly known as Arthur Young and Company.
Frank received his Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, from Fordham University’s College of Business Administration. He received his Juris Doctorate with high honors from Duke University’s School of Law. He is admitted to practice before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the U.S. Tax Court, and the U.S. Court of Claims. Frank is a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is also a member of the State and Local Tax Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association and served as its past chairman.