A Business Privilege License (BPL) is required by all persons and/or businesses that engage in a business, profession, or other commercial activity within the City of Bethlehem. Said licensees are required to file Business Privilege and Mercantile Tax returns annually on their gross receipts from activities conducted in the City of Bethlehem. Persons or businesses actively conducting business within the City Limits but have their base of operations outside of the City of Bethlehem are not exempt from a BPL or Business Privilege and Mercantile Tax. This specifically includes, but is not limited to property services, property rentals, festival vendors and other temporary activities that have gross receipts for operations/services conducted within the City of Bethlehem's limits. In the event that a licensee conducts business at more than one location in the City of Bethlehem, an additional license is required for each additional place of business.
The BPL annual license fee is $25.00. The license period runs from May 1st through April 30th of the following year. The fee shall not be prorated by the portion of the license year elapsed when it is procured. The BPL shall be obtained 90 days prior to the start of conducting operations.
The issuance of a BPL does not presuppose, denote, or imply compliance with the requirements of the City of Bethlehem’s other applicable laws or regulations. Specifically, a BPL does NOT replace the requirement of a Certificate of Occupancy for any occupied premise in the City of Bethlehem.
BPLs are non-transferable, any purported transfer or assignment shall be void and ineffective. Persons and/or businesses that engage in a business, profession, or other commercial activity without having first procured a BPL are subject to penalty and fine.
Business Privilege and Mercantile Tax
The Business Privilege and Mercantile Tax is assessed on the gross receipts of all businesses operating within the City of Bethlehem. The tax is levied at 1.5 mils on retail sales, service and rentals ($1.50 per $1,000.00 of business) and at 1 (one) mil on wholesale sales ($1.00 per $1,000.00 of business). Annual returns are due the first Monday in May of the succeeding tax year.
Due to the hardship caused by the COVID -19 pandemic, City of Bethlehem BPL tax payments for 2019 have been extended until July, 15 2020
Taxpayers whose annual gross receipts can reasonably be expected to exceed $ 2,000,000.00, are encouraged to file quarterly declarations of estimated tax and pay twenty-five percent (25%) of the estimated annual tax with each filing. Quarterly returns are due on or before April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31. Any overpayment of tax may either be credited to the next year's first quarterly installment or refunded to the taxpayer.
The City of Bethlehem uses a third party servicer for BPL Licensing and collection of Business Privilege and Mercantile Tax. All BPL registrations, Business Privilege and Mercantile tax payments and returns for the City of Bethlehem are processed by:
Tri-State Financial Group
Phone: (610) 270-9520
Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm