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COMMONWEALTH v. UNION COLLIERIES COMPANY (01/05/53)

January 5, 1953

COMMONWEALTH
v.
UNION COLLIERIES COMPANY, APPELLANT



Appeal, No. 9, May T., 1953, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Commonwealth Docket, 1945, No. 143, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Union Collieries Company. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Roy J. Keefer, with him Joseph G. Robinson, Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay and Hull, Leiby & Metzger, for appellant.

George W. Keitel, Deputy Attorney General, with him Robert E. Woodside, Attorney General, for appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 372 Pa. Page 453]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE JONES

The appellant, Union Collieries Company, a Pennsylvania corporation, claimed an exemption in its capital stock tax report for so much of the value of its voting shares (less than a majority) in another corporation as represented property or assets located or having their legal situs without the Commonwealth. The Department of the Auditor General disallowed the claim as did also the Board of Finance and Revenue. On appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, the case was tried to the court without a jury. The learned trial judge unexceptionably found all material and relevant facts and rejected the defendant's claim. Judgment for the Commonwealth was accordingly entered which the court en banc confirmed; and the defendant brought this appeal.

The statute upon which the appellant bases its claim to exemption is the Act of April 20, 1927, P.L. 311,

[ 372 Pa. Page 454]

    as amended by the Act of June 22, 1931, P.L. 687, which in presently material part reads as follows: "Section 1.... whenever any corporation, limited partnership, joint-stock association, or company, incorporated or formed under the laws of this Commonwealth, and liable to the payment of tax upon its capital stock, or specifically exempted therefrom under the laws of this Commonwealth, shall own, either directly or through subsidiary or sub-subsidiary corporations, a majority of the total issued and outstanding shares of voting stock of any corporation, limited partnership, joint-stock association or company, then, in such cases, so much of the value of all shares of stock, so owned in such other corporation, limited partnership, jointstock association, or company, as represents property or assets located or having a legal situs without this Commonwealth, shall not be liable to taxation, under the laws of this Commonwealth providing for the taxation of capital stock of corporations, limited partnerships, joint-stock associations, and companies, but shall be excluded in determining the value of the capital stock of such owning company for purposes of taxation."

The facts, none of which is in dispute, revolve about the stock-owning relationship of three corporations, to wit, the defendant company, the Bessemer Coal and Coke Corporation (of Pennsylvania) and Consolidation Coal Company, a foreign corporation, all of whose property or assets were located or had their legal situs without the Commonwealth. For convenience, each of these corporations will be referred to hereinafter by the first name of its corporate title.

During the taxable period involved, viz., the last eight months of 1944, Union was a subsidiary of Bessemer, the latter company owning 117,483 shares of the ...


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