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WIEMAN AND WARD COMPANY v. PITTSBURGH (05/04/55)

May 4, 1955

WIEMAN AND WARD COMPANY
v.
PITTSBURGH, APPELLANT.



Appeals, Nos. 27, 28 and 29, March T., 1955, and Nos. 39, 40 and 41, March T., 1955, from orders of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1951, No. 2605, July T., 1951, No. 2170, and Jan. T., 1951, No. 2014; July T., 1951, No. 2169, and Jan. T., 1951, Nos. 2604 and 2015, in cases of Wieman and Ward Company, etc. v. City of Pittsburgh et al. and same, v. The School District of Pittsburgh et al. Orders reversed.

COUNSEL

David Stahl, Assistant City Solicitor, with him J. Frank McKenna, Jr., City Solicitor, for City of Pittsburgh, appellant.

Oscar G. Peterson, Assistant Solicitor, with him Mortimer B. Lesher, Solicitor, for School District, appellant.

J. Wray Connolly, with him William f. Swanson, Jr., and Moorhead & Knox, for appellees.

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

Author: Stern

[ 381 Pa. Page 537]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE HORACE STERN

The question is whether certain sales made by The Wieman and Ward Company, a Pennsylvania corporation engaged in Pittsburgh in the business of wholesale dealer in coal, coke and pig iron, are transactions

[ 381 Pa. Page 538]

    the gross receipts from which are properly includable in computing the mercantile license taxes of the City of Pittsburgh and the School District of Pittsburgh, or whether they are exempt therefrom because they involve interstate commerce.

The mercantile license tax of the City of Pittsburgh is imposed under an Ordinance which is authorized by the Act of June 25, 1947, P.L. 1145, as amended, and which provides, in the case of a wholesale dealer, for a tax at the rate of 1 mill on each dollar of the volume of his annual gross business. The mercantile license tax of the School District is imposed by the Act of June 20, 1947, P.L. 745, as amended, which provides, in the case of a wholesale dealer, for a tax at the rate of 1/2 mill on each dollar of the volume of his annual gross business.

The Wieman and Ward Company filed with the City and the School District combination mercantile tax returns for the years 1948, 1949, 1950, and 1951, based on its annual gross intrastate business, and it duly paid the taxes thereon. The City and the School District, however, assessed the Company additional taxes based upon sales in which certain interstate features were involved. The Company filed bills of complaint that the additional assessments be declared null and void. The court below sustained its contentions, whereupon the City and the School District took the present appeals.

The transactions on which the controversy is based are classified by the parties in six categories for ...


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