There is a bill currently in the Senate that would impose a tax on legal services. If passed, this could impact your access to legal help when you really need it and cost you more!
Let’s face it, people generally only need legal help when they have a big problems that seriously impact their financial situation and ability to provide food, shelter and education for their families. Taxing legal services in these instances will place a further financial strain on those who can least afford it. It will also serve to stifle access to legal services.
- For many, hiring a lawyer is a necessity and not a luxury item, as effective legal representation requires counsel.
- Access to justice is a basic constitutional right and justice should not be treated as a commodity.
- Legal representation is needed most by those with lower and moderate incomes, including seniors on fixed incomes. For instance, representation is often necessary to: obtain workers' compensation or Social Security benefits wrongly denied, fight a property assessment by local government, deal with a hostile landlord or tenant, have a simple will written or probate a will, avoid a home foreclosure
Everyone should call and write to their state senator and representatives! Tell them to oppose this bill!
Bellow is a sample of the letter you could send. Please take action!
Dear Senator [Last Name]:
I am writing as an attorney from [town and county] and a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) to ask that you vote against Senate Bill 76. This bill would impose a sales tax on most legal services and create a major financial barrier for individuals with lower and moderate incomes who need legal representation the most.
For many Pennsylvanians, hiring a lawyer is a necessity and not a luxury item. Access to justice is a basic constitutional right that should not be taxed and treated as a commodity. Increasing the cost of effective legal representation by imposing a sales tax would impact persons of limited means who often need a lawyer to:
· obtain workers’ compensation or social security benefits that have been wrongly denied
· fight a property assessment action by their local government
· deal with a hostile landlord or tenant
· have a simple will written or probate the will of a loved one
· avoid a home foreclosure
I understand the difficult fiscal problems that the Commonwealth is now facing, but a tax on legal services is not the proper fix. This financial burden should not be shifted to individuals who are truly in need of legal representation. Please join me and the PBA in opposing this legislation.