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Public Utility Realty Tax

The public utility realty tax (PURTA) is levied against certain entities furnishing utility services regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission or a similar regulatory body. The commonwealth imposes this tax on public utility realty in lieu of local real estate taxes and distributes the local realty tax equivalent to local taxing authorities.

The PURTA tax base is the fair market value of utility realty, defined as the assessed value of the realty as adjusted by the common level ratio of the county in which the realty is located.

Public utilities furnishing sewage services and municipal authorities furnishing public utility service are exempt from the tax. Also exempt are easements, pipelines, railroad beds, tracks or other lines, machinery and equipment not affixed to the land. Land and improvements indispensable to the generation of electricity are excluded from the PURTA tax base and the realty tax equivalent, as are certain other property subject to local taxation.

For detailed and historic Pennsylvania PURTA information, please review the Tax Compendium.

Registered users are encouraged to report and remit tax through the online PURTA system.