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FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION v. BOARD FINANCE & REVENUE COMMONWEALTH (11/15/51)

November 15, 1951

FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF FINANCE & REVENUE OF COMMONWEALTH



Appeals, Nos. 10 to 14, inclusive, May T., 1952, from decrees of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, 1949, Commonwealth Docket Nos. 235, 247, 248, 249 and 274, respectively, in cases of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Board of Finance & Revenue, etc., The First National Bank of Susquehanna v. Same and Nazareth National Bank & Trust Company v. Same. Decrees affirmed.

COUNSEL

Frank A. Sinon, with him Rhoads & Sinon, Calvin F. Smith and Smith, Paff, Van Sickle & Gafford, for appellants.

David Fuss, Deputy Attorney General, with him Robert E. Woodside, Attorney General, for appellee.

Carl F. Chronister, with him Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, Roy J. Keefer, Hull, Leiby & Metzger, John Y. Scott, Manuel Kraus and Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, for amici curiae.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Jones, Bell and Ladner, JJ.

Author: Stern

[ 368 Pa. Page 465]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE HORACE STERN

As the court below properly held, plaintiffs in these cases did not meet the statutory requirements which, if complied with, would have entitled them to refunds of taxes allegedly paid under an erroneous interpretation of the law.

The determination of the questions here presented depends principally upon the chronology of the proceedings from which they arose.

The Emaus National Bank filed with the Department of Revenue a shares tax report for the year 1939 for taxes imposed by the Act of July 15, 1897, P.L. 292, as amended. Settlement was made by the Department in November, 1940. The tax was paid in January, 1943 by the application by the Department

[ 368 Pa. Page 466]

    of a tax credit. In July, 1943 another bank -- the First National Bank & Trust Company of Easton -- filed an appeal in the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County from the settlement of its shares tax for the year 1939 on the ground that the Department had employed the book value of its assets instead of their actual value, and had failed to exclude from the tax the shares held by religious, charitable and eleemosynary organizations. Because of certain intermediate proceedings the court did not decide that appeal until May, 1949, at which time it rendered a decision in favor of the bank's contentions. (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. First National Bank & Trust Co. of Easton, 60 Dauph. 388). Meanwhile, in January, 1946, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which had taken over the assets of Emaus National Bank pursuant to the Federal Reserve Act, filed a petition with the Board of Finance and Revenue for the refund of a part of the 1939 tax imposed upon the shares of that bank which, it asserted, had been erroneously assessed because the fiscal officers of the Commonwealth, in computing the tax, had employed the book value of the bank's assets instead of their actual value and had included shares held by religious, charitable and educational institutions. In September, 1949, the Board refused the petition on the ground that the requirements of section 503(a) of the Fiscal Code of 1929, as amended, had not been met. Thereupon Federal Deposit Insurance ...


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