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Public Utility Realty Tax

Upcoming 5/31 Deadline for 2020 PURTA Reports

Local taxing authorities are required to file the RCT-900 for tax year 2020 by May 31, 2021. There will be no exceptions to this deadline. If the department does not receive the required information by this date, local taxing authorities may forfeit the opportunity to receive Public Utility Realty Tax Act (PURTA) funding.

Please keep in mind that local taxing authorities are strongly encouraged to file their reports online at www.purta.state.pa.us. If you need assistance or have additional questions, please contact the department at ra-purta@pa.gov.

What is PURTA?

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.

What is the filing requirement for a Local Taxing Authority (LTA)? 

The Tax Reform Code of 1971 provides for a revenue distribution to local taxing authorities each October 1st.

  • “Local Taxing Authority” is defined as a county, city, institution district, borough, town, township or school district having authority to impose taxes on real estate. By law, a local taxing authority that fails to file its annual report cannot participate in this distribution.
  • To take part of the distribution, each LTA is required to file an annual RCT-900 report with the Department of Revenue by April 1st for the prior tax year. LTAs are also required to provide annual parcel data and millage rates in a manner prescribed by the department.
  • The RCT-900 can be filed by using the online PURTA system.

What is the filing/payment requirement for a Public Utility Company?

Certain public utilities are required to file an annual report, RCT-127A, with the department; this includes any person, partnership, association, corporation, electric cooperative or other entity furnishing public utility service under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission or the corresponding regulatory agency of any other state or the federal government on December 31st of the taxable year.

  • The completed RCT-127A must be submitted to ra-purta@pa.gov on or before May 1st of each year.
  • The estimated tax payment is also due on or before May 1st. Please submit the payment electronically by visiting  www.etides.state.pa.us.

What is the PURTA tax base?

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.

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

Who is exempt?

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.

Who do you contact for assistance?

If you need assistance or have additional questions, please contact the department at ra-purta@pa.gov.