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FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
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Do I still have to pay EMST or OPT?
How will the LST revenue be used by the Township of Lower Merion?
How many people does this affect?
When is payment of the LST due?
Will employers have to vary withholding amounts to make sure that $52 is collected from every employee?
If LST is incorrectly withheld is there a refund process?
Is there any way for those eligible for an exemption to avoid having LST withheld?
Will any person who works in the Township be exempt from paying LST?
What differentiates the EMST from the LST?
What is the Local Services Tax (LST)?
What is the zoning classification of my property?
How long is the plan review process?
What do I need to do to install a pool?
What about households where no one is physically able to place their refuse/recycling within five-feet of the curb line?
Does Lower Merion Township have an Emergency and Municipal Services Tax (EMST)?
What are residents required to do to assist the sweeping process?
Where can I review a copy of the Township's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) or Budget?
Where can I find information on the Township’s outstanding debt?
Are there legal steps to having a going out of business sale?
What are the requirements for a home based business?
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Q: Do I still have to pay EMST or OPT?
A: The Township will continue to collect EMST and/or OPT for any year prior to January 1, 2008. Taxpayers are still required to file the Fourth Quarter EMST return for the quarter ending December 31, 2007. This return is due on or before January 31, 2008.
Q: How will the LST revenue be used by the Township of Lower Merion?
A: Act 7 requires municipalities to use at least 25 percent of the tax revenue for emergency services, including police, fire and ambulance protection. The remainder may be use for road construction or maintenance, property tax reduction, or property tax relief through the implementation of a homestead or farmstead exemption.
Q: How many people does this affect?
A: It is estimated that approximately 41,000 people work in Lower Merion Township. Of that number, approximately 20% are Township residents; the remaining 80% are non-resident individuals who come into the Township and enjoy the many services and amenities provided by the Township.
Q: When is payment of the LST due?
A: The LST is effective January 1, 2008 and provides that employers are responsible for withholding the LST for each individual subject to the tax. Employers are required to withhold the LST for each individual who reaches or is expected to reach the minimum level of $12,000 in annual compensation. Employers and/or self-employed individuals are required to remit the tax collected and file a tax return with the Township’s Department of Finance Business Tax Collections Office on or before the last day of April, July, October and January for the four quarters ending the last day of March, June, September and December. In the case of schedule C filers (self-employed individuals, Sole Proprietors, etc.), the entire $52 LST should be paid in the first quarter. If a self-employed or sole proprietor does not reasonably expect to have gross receipts of more than $12,000 from within the Township then an Exemption Certificate can be filed.
Q: Will employers have to vary withholding amounts to make sure that $52 is collected from every employee?
A: No, the amount of LST paid for an individual will vary depending on the individuals hire date and/or termination date. Employers are only required to withhold the prorated amount for each per pay period that an employee works. The only situation which would require a lump sum catch up withholding is if an employee has filed an exemption certificate and subsequently exceeds $12,000 in income.
Q: If LST is incorrectly withheld is there a refund process?
A: The Township will refund any overpayment of LST tax in excess of $1 to individuals that file a Refund Application with required documentation to demonstrate that they were not subject to the tax. In order to be refunded, the Township must have received the withheld funds from the employer.
Q: Is there any way for those eligible for an exemption to avoid having LST withheld?
A: Yes, employees or individuals who had total earnings and net profits of less than $12,000 within the Township of Lower Merion in the prior calendar year (2007) and reasonably expect that they will not earn more than $12,000 in 2008 can file an Exemption Certificate to prevent LST withholding. Exemption Certificates and instructions are available on the township website. There are substantial penalties for filing fraudulent exemption claims.
Q: Will any person who works in the Township be exempt from paying LST?
A: The Township’s ordinance provides a low-income exemption to individuals whose total earnings and net profits from all sources within the Township are less than $12,000 per calendar year. The LST also includes a new Active Duty Military Exemption for any individual called into active military service at any time during the tax year. Active military service does not include weekend or summer reservist training.
Q: What differentiates the EMST from the LST?
A: The major difference between the EMST and LST is the manner in which the tax is withheld and paid. Unlike the EMST which was withheld in a lump sum, LST is withheld over the number of annual pay periods an employer has established for the calendar year. The LST also expands the available exemptions for employees.
Q: What is the Local Services Tax (LST)?
A: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Act 7 of 2007 amended the Local Tax Enabling Act, Act 511 of 1965, to make major changes to the Emergency and Municipal Service Tax (EMST) effective January 1, 2008. The EMST is being renamed the Local Services Tax (LST) to better reflect how the funds are used by municipalities. Like the EMST, the LST is a payroll tax in the amount of $52 per year paid by ALL individuals (employed or self-employed) who work in the Township and are not eligible for an exemption.
Q: What is the zoning classification of my property?
A: It varies since there are approximately 19 different districts. To find out your district, please contact us at 610-645-6200. You can also use the zoning search form, but remember that the definitive answer on zoning classifications are the Zoning Maps in the Building Department.
Q: How long is the plan review process?
A: Generally, two weeks for residential, three weeks for commercial.
Q: What do I need to do to install a pool?
A: Installing a pool in Lower Merion requires a building permit.  Please click here for pool permit requirements.
Q: What about households where no one is physically able to place their refuse/recycling within five-feet of the curb line?
A: The Township offers a program to exempt qualified disabled homeowners who meet certain criteria from paying the fee to maintain rear yard collection service. Customers who wish to apply for this exemption can obtain an application here or call the Township’s Public Works Department at (610) 645-6150 for an application.

A waiver of the rear yard collection fee will be granted when the subscriber’s application includes a doctor's confirmation that he or she is disabled and not able to transport a 50- pound refuse container to the curb for collection. Waivers will not be granted to those who reside with others who are physically capable of bringing trash containers to the curbside.

If a subscriber has previously filed a waiver form along with documentation from their doctor indicating a permanent disability, the Township will allow the annual waiver form to be re-certidfied by the disabled subscriber (without a doctor's signature).  The subscriber must also re-certify that there are no others residing in the home who are physically capable of brinigng the trash to the curbside.  All other requests for a disability waiver must be submitted along with confirmation of the disability form their doctor.
Q: Does Lower Merion Township have an Emergency and Municipal Services Tax (EMST)?
A: No, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Act 7 of 2007 amended the Local Tax Enabling Act, Act 511 of 1965, to make major changes to the Emergency and Municipal Service Tax (EMST) effective January 1, 2008. The EMST is being renamed the Local Services Tax (LST) to better reflect how the funds are used by municipalities. Like the EMST, the LST is a payroll tax in the amount of $52 per year paid by ALL individuals (employed or self-employed) who work in the Township and are not eligible for an exemption. However, delinquent EMST is still collected for the years 2005 through 2007.

Any individual (self-employed or employee) who earns $3,500 or more per calendar year is required to pay EMST. A payment of $52 is due in the first quarter in which the individual reaches $3,500. It is the responsibility of the employer to deduct and remit this tax.

Emergency and Municipal Services Tax was due on or before the last day of April, July, October and January for the four quarters ending the last day of March, June, September and December. Late returns are subject to penalty of ½% per month and interest of ½% per month.
Q: What are residents required to do to assist the sweeping process?
A: Citizens must avoid parking cars in the street on the days their district is scheduled for sweeping.
Q: Where can I review a copy of the Township's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) or Budget?
A: Copies of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and Budget can be reviewed at any of the Township Libraries and are available on the Finance Department website.
Q: Where can I find information on the Township’s outstanding debt?
A: The Township’s CAFR and annual Budget contain extensive information on the Township’s debt. Further information is available on the Finance Department website under Township Debt.
Q: Are there legal steps to having a going out of business sale?
A: Yes, for more information please contact the Finance Department at 610-645-6142.
Q: What are the requirements for a home based business?
A: All home based businesses must have zoning approval. Contact the Building Regulations Department for a Zoning Application at 610-645-6165. In addition, after zoning approval, you must obtain a business license at 610-645-6142 or email businesstax@lowermerion.org.
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