– Legislation that provides for greater accountability of locally elected tax collectors and includes a qualification exam, a continuing education program and criminal background checks for new tax collectors was recently signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf, said Rep. Mark Keller (R-Perry/Cumberland).
The new law amends Act 164 of 2014, including a change in the training requirements for tax collectors. Under Act 48 of 2015, incumbent tax collectors will no longer have to take six credits of training, effective immediately. Instead, beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, incumbent tax collectors will have to take two credits of training before the end of their four-year term of office. Training credits earned during 2015 will be credited to their accounts beginning Jan. 1, 2017.
Act 48 also:
• Requires a basic training program and examination for newly elected tax collectors beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Upon successful completion of the basic training program and exam, a newly elected tax collector will be issued a “qualified tax collector” certification by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), and will be eligible to take office.
• Establishes that individuals holding the office of tax collector after the effective date of Jan. 1, 2017, shall be known as “qualified tax collectors.”
• Clarifies that an individual who is elected as a tax collector for the term of office beginning Jan. 1, 2016, is required to submit a criminal history report to the municipality for which the tax collector was elected before taking the oath of office.
• Establishes that an individual running for a second or subsequent term of tax collector is not required to file a criminal history record check with his nominating petitions or papers.
• With exceptions for county treasurers and neighboring tax collectors, within 30 days of being appointed to fill a vacancy in the office of tax collector, the appointee shall provide a criminal history check to each taxing district serviced by that tax collector. If the appointee has not been a resident of the Commonwealth for the two years immediately preceding the appointment, then the individual shall provide a federal criminal history check to each taxing district served by that tax collector.
• Requires a tax collector’s surety bond to cover all taxes collected by a deputy tax collector.
• Specifies that a deputy tax collector shall collect taxes through the duration of an incapacitation of the tax collector, unless the taxing district determines that collection by the county treasurer or a neighboring tax collector is necessary.
• Requires an appointed deputy tax collector to be approved by the municipality for which a tax collector was elected.
• Requires renewal of qualification to be completed prior to the tax collector’s final year in office. If the tax collector fails to complete the continuing education requirements, the tax collector shall be deemed ineligible to be placed on the ballot at the end of the tax collector’s current term of office.
The Department of Community and Economic Development will contact all property tax collectors to explain the new law, and will provide more details about Act 48 at the department’s website, newpa.com
For more information on Keller and his legislative priorities, please visit RepKeller.com
Representative Mark Keller
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs