COVID-19 Update: FAQ and Other Information for Clients

Articles Posted in Antitrust

In the January 21, 2021 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “Antitrust Suits Against Google Shows Damage Inflicted on Businesses, Consumers.

In reading the spate of recent antitrust actions taken against all-powerful search behemoth Google, you do not have to go very far to see damage done to businesses in our own backyard. A locally based (Paoli, Pennsylvania) search engine upstart DuckDuckGo, best known for protecting the privacy of its end-users, is one such business affected by Google’s monopoly.

Toward the end of 2020, Google was hit with three separate antitrust lawsuits brought by U.S. regulators. The first, filed in October by the Department of Justice, focused on Google’s dominance in general internet searches (the utility for which Google is most widely known). The second case, which alleges that Google used anti-competitive practices related to its advertising technology, was brought by a group of Republican state attorneys general. The third, filed in December by nearly 40 states, accuses Google of monopolistic practices in general search and search ad markets. And, as I write this column, news arrived that another antitrust investigation, this time launched by a U.K. competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority, had been launched into Google’s “Privacy Sandbox” project, which the regulator said “will potentially have a very significant impact on publishers like newspapers, and the digital advertising market.”

What is a bulk sale clearance certificate, and how is a bulk sale clearance certificate related to a Pennsylvania real estate transaction?  In Pennsylvania, a bulk sale clearance certificate must be obtained in all transactions involving the sale of fifty-one or more percent of the assets of a business, including real estate.  Because it is common for property owners to create single purpose entities to own the real estate, bulk sale clearance certificates are required in many real estate transactions, since the real estate represents the sole asset (i.e., 100%) of the assets owned by such SPE.  A bulk sale clearance certificate from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue verifies that a particular entity satisfied all tax obligations due to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including taxes, interest, penalties, fees, charges and any other liabilities up to and including the date of transfer.

Moreover, under 69 P.S. § 529, every corporation, joint-stock association, limited partnership or company organized under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or any other state that engages in business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which sells in bulk fifty-one percent or more of any stock of goods, wares or merchandise of any kind, fixtures, machinery, equipment, buildings, or real estate, shall give the Department of Revenue ten days’ notice of the sale, prior to the completion of the transfer of such property.

To provide proper notice and comport with Pennsylvania law, the seller must file form REV-181, the Application for Tax Clearance Certificate, with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry ten days before the closing of the sale. A copy of the agreement of sale and preliminary settlement statement should be included with the Application for Tax Clearance Certificate.  (Note, however, that the Department of Revenue often requests re-submission post-closing so that all closing information and interim tax returns through the date of closing may be submitted).  In addition, all such entities must file all state tax reports with the Department of Revenue to the date of the proposed closing on the transfer of property and pay all taxes and unemployment compensation contributions due to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the date of closing. If all state tax reports have been filed and if all state taxes and unemployment compensation contributions are paid up to the date of the proposed transfer, the State issues a clearance certificate to the seller, which is then provided to the buyer.

Contact Information