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SCHNABEL COMPANY v. PITTSBURGH SCHOOL DISTRICT. (07/21/55)

July 21, 1955

SCHNABEL COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
PITTSBURGH SCHOOL DISTRICT.



Appeals, Nos. 136, 137, and 138, April T., 1954, from orders of County Court of Allegheny County, 1951, Nos. A-1167 and A-1170 of 1951, and No. A-1482 of 1952, in cases of The Schnabel Company, a Corporation, v. School District of Pittsburgh and James P. Kirk, Treasurer; and Same v. City of Pittsburgh and James P. Kirk, Treasurer. Orders reversed in part but otherwise affirmed.

COUNSEL

Morris M. Berger, with him Franklyn E. Conflenti, for appellant.

Oscar G. Peterson, Assistant Solicitor, with him Mortimer B. Lesher, Solicitor, Niles Anderson, Assistant Solicitor, attorneys for appellee, School District of Pittsburgh.

J. Frank McKenna, Jr., Solicitor, with him Robert Engel, Assistant Solicitor, attorneys for appellee, City of Pittsburgh.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Ross, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, and Ervin, JJ.

Author: Hirt

[ 178 Pa. Super. Page 554]

OPINION BY HIRT, J.

The Act of June 20, 1947, P.L. 745, 24 PS § 582.1 et seq., authorized the School District of the City of Pittsburgh to impose an annual license tax on wholesale and retail vendors or dealers in goods, wares and merchandise. On the authority of the Act of June 25, 1947, P.L. 1145, 53 PS § 2015.1 et seq. the City of Pittsburgh enacted its Ordinance No. 488, effective November 29, 1947, which imposed a similar tax on the same classes of dealers.

Plaintiff in this record concedes that it is a Pennsylvania Corporation "engaged in business in the City of Pittsburgh, the nature of which is the manufacture of truck bodies and truck units and the sale of various types of trucks, buses and other automotive equipment." Identical questions are involved in the appeals before us. They each relate to a mercantile license tax on a part of plaintiff's business described in the following stipulation of counsel, in lieu of testimony,

[ 178 Pa. Super. Page 555]

    upon which the validity of the assessments was determined in the court below. It was stipulated that "Petitioner [the present appellant in these cases] sells to customers, residents of Pennsylvania outside of the limits of the City and the School District, through salesmen who solicit orders at the customer's places of business. That two types of sales are involved: (1) Funeral cars; (2) Bus bodies, which are to be installed on chassis furnished by the customers. In both instances, the customers take the delivery at the plant of the Superior Motor Coach Corporation, in Lima, Ohio. In no instance does Petitioner have physical possession of either the funeral cars or the bus bodies. In the course of business, Petitioner invoices its customer. However, the customers make payment at the plant of the Superior Motor Coach Corporation, at Lima, Ohio, at time of delivery. As to funeral cars, the chassis are delivered by the automobile manufacturer to Superior Motor Coach Corporation, where the funeral body is installed, and is then delivered to the customer at Lima, Ohio. As to the buses, the customer, himself, furnishes the chassis, has it delivered to the Superior Motor Coach Corporation, at Lima, Ohio, where Superior installs the body-buses on the chassis, and then makes delivery to the customer at the factory... In both instances, the customer pays his money for the amount of the invoice to Superior at the time he takes possession of the merchandise. Superior then credits Schnabel with the amount to which Schnabel is entitled as its portion of the profit on the deal."

Basically a mercantile license tax, as the name implies, is a tax on the privilege of doing business in the taxing district. Keystone Metal Co. v. Pittsburgh, 374 Pa. 323, 330, 97 A.2d 797. The dollar value of ...


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