Earlier this month, Governor Tom Wolf unveiled his proposed budget and tax plan for Pennsylvania for the fiscal year 2015-2016. The plan contains a proposed ten percent increase in the Sales and Use Tax rate to 6.6% tax and an expansion of the tax to many professional services, including most legal services.
Governor Wolf’s plan exempts businesses-to-business purchases of legal service from the tax; however, individuals seeking advice for matters such as establishing or probating a will, resolving an employment issue or disputing a workers compensation claim, or a sole proprietor needing representation in a vendor dispute would be saddled with the additional expense in order to obtain legal counsel. A tax on legal services would unnecessarily burden Pennsylvania consumers, possibly forcing those with financial challenges to go without retaining a lawyer and bear the result. An individual might also choose to seek unlicensed counsel from a firm based in state that does not impose a tax. Additionally, Pennsylvania’s law firms would be burdened with the task and increased cost of the administrative services required to comply with the tax, which in turn, would be passed along to the client in the form of higher rates.
While, according to a post on the Allegheny County Bar Association’s website, the organization has taken a “wait and see” approach, both the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Philadelphia Bar Association have come forth to actively oppose the tax on legal services and are encouraging members to contact their legislators to ask them to vote against it.
For a formatted letter to use in communicating opposition to the proposed tax directly to your legislator, visit the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Legislative Action Page.
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Click here for your Senator’s contact information
Click here for your Representative’s contact information
Click here to email Governor Wolf