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PHILADELPHIA TAX REVIEW BOARD v. NORTON (03/20/59)

March 20, 1959

PHILADELPHIA TAX REVIEW BOARD
v.
NORTON, LILLY & CO., APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 1, Oct. T., 1959, from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 1 of Philadelphia County, Sept. T., 1957, No. 2122, in case of City of Philadelphia Tax Review Board v. Norton, Lilly & Co. Order reversed.

COUNSEL

George M. Brodhead, with him Ralph C. Evert, J. Welles Henderson, and Rawle & Henderson, for appellant.

Leonard B. Rosenthal, Assistant City Solicitor, with him James L.J. Pie, Assistant City Solicitor, and David Berger, City Solicitor, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins. JJ. (hirt, J., absent).

Author: Watkins

[ 189 Pa. Super. Page 92]

OPINION BY WATKINS, J.

This appeal is taken from the action of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, dismissing exceptions taken by the appellant, Norton, Lilly & Co. to the findings of the tax review board of the City of Philadelphia. The board's opinion denied petitions for review of taxes assessed against the appellant by the

[ 189 Pa. Super. Page 93]

    department of collections of the City of Philadelphia under the mercantile license tax of the City of Philadelphia.

The appellant contends that no tax should have been assessed against it by the Department of Collections of the City of Philadelphia, for the reason that the gross receipts, so taxed, arose from foreign commerce and did not arise from business transacted in the City of Philadelphia. Therefore, the imposition of the tax upon appellant for the privilege of engaging in the business of general steamship agent for steamship lines would be unconstitutional and invalid under Art. I, Sec. 8, Clause 3 and Art. I, Sec. 10, Clause 2, of the Constitution of the United States.

The record, although not as exhaustive as it might be under the circumstances, indicates the appellant, Norton, Lilly & Co., to be a partnership consisting of eight partners having their main office in New York City with branch offices in various parts of the country, including the one located in the City of Philadelphia.

Appellant is engaged in the business of a general steamship agency for steamship lines operating solely in foreign commerce. Petitioner's functions are: Upon receipt of a radiogram concerning the vessel's arrival, it arranges for a pilot to board the vessel when it enters the Delaware Bay at Overfalls Lightship and to pilot the vessel to its berth in the Port of Philadelphia; it arranges for tugboats and with the operator of a pier for the berthing of the vessel; it contacts the stevedoring company (which performs its service as an independent contractor under a contract it already has for loading the vessel) and tells the stevedoring ...


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