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BIDDLE APPEAL (11/11/57)

November 11, 1957

BIDDLE APPEAL


Appeal, No. 368, Jan. T., 1957, from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 6 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1957, No. 8165, in case of appeal of Livingston L. Biddle et al., trustees. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Charles J. Biddle, with him Ernest L. Nagy, Leslie M. Swope and Drinker, Biddle & Reath, for appellants.

David Berger, City Solicitor, with him Jacob J. Siegal and Karl I. Schofield, Assistant City Solicitors, and Levy Anderson, First Deputy City Solicitor, for appellee.

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

Author: Jones

[ 390 Pa. Page 461]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE JONES

The trustees under the will of Anthony J. Drexel, deceased, appeal from an order of the court below sustaining a tax assessment by the City of Philadelphia on personal property of the Drexel trusts for the year 1957. The sole issue involved is whether the whole of the tax assessed against the trust property is payable to Philadelphia or whether it should be divided proportionately among Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties which are the several places of residence of five of the six Drexel trustees who live in Pennsylvania. The appellants do not question the quantum of the property assessment nor their liability for the tax but, merely, the right of Philadelphia County to receive it.

[ 390 Pa. Page 462]

By section 1 of the Act of June 17, 1913, P.L. 507 (72 PS § 4821) all personal property of the classes therein enumerated owned, held, or possessed by any person, inter alia, as active trustee for the use, benefit, or advantage of other persons, is made taxable annually for county purposes (or in cities co-extensive with counties for city and county purposes) at the millage rate prescribed by the Act.

Whether the tax on personal property of trust estates was apportionable among the counties of the respective residences of multiple trustees was first raised in Griscom's Estate, 333 Pa. 186, 3 A.2d 693, where two trusts were involved. For one of the trusts there were two trustees, one of whom resided in Philadelphia County and the other in Montgomery County. For the other trust there were three trustees who resided respectively in Florida, in Montgomery County and in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. It was there held that Philadelphia County, being the trust domicile, was entitled to the whole of the personal property taxes on both trust estates.

The same day that the opinion in Griscom's Estate, supra, was handed down, this court also decided Dorrance's Estate, 333 Pa. 162, 3 A.2d 682, where the Commonwealth had made an assessment of trust property for purposes of the tax levied by the State Personal Property Tax Act of June 22, 1935, P.L. 414, 72 PS § 3242, et seq. There were four trustees of the Dorrance trust, three of whom resided respectively in Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties, Pennsylvania. The fourth trustee was a New Jersey corporation having its principal office in the City of Camden. Finding that the domicile of the trust was in New Jersey, this court held that Pennsylvania had no right to levy any personal property tax against the trust estate notwithstanding

[ 390 Pa. Page 463]

    that three of the four trustees ...


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