Appeal, No. 21, May T., 1961, from decree of Orphans' Court of Dauphin County, No. 601 of 1947, in re estate of Gertrude Hemler Tracy, deceased. Decree reversed.
Ralph S. Snyder, Deputy Attorney General, with him Anne X. Alpern, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, appellant.
D. Alexander Wieland, with him William S. Bailey, and Brown, Brown & Wieland, and Bailey, Pearson, Miller & Bolton, for appellee.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BOK.
Testatrix died on October 3, 1947, and probate of her will and the grant of letters followed. Under her testament the income from her estate was payable to her sisters until the death of the survivor of them, when the corpus was to be distributed to certain named charities.
The surviving sister died on December 1, 1958.
At the time of testatrix's death the bequests to charity were taxable under the Act of June 20, 1919, P.L. 521, Art. I, § 1, as amended, 72 PS § 2301. By Acts of May 28, 1956, P.L. (1955) 1757, and of July 11, 1957, P.L. 821, 72 PS § 2301.1, both made effective as of June 1, 1957, the Legislature provided that "No transfer inheritance tax shall be imposed upon the transfer of any property, real or personal, or of any vested or future interest therein or income therefrom, in trust or otherwise", to charitable institutions.
On March 5, 1959, the Commonwealth filed its appraisement showing as taxable the value of the testatrix's gifts to charity, and on March 30, 1959, a transfer inheritance tax was assessed on such value. The estate appealed from the appraisement and assessment, which the court below sustained, holding that the gifts to charity were now exempt from tax. The Commonwealth then appealed.
The parties agree that the right to tax accrued at death, which is the taxing event, and that the transfer occurred at that time. The Act of 1919, in imposing the tax on a transfer, made it payable when the person liable for the tax shall actually come into possession of the taxable estate at the end of intervening estates for life or years. The Act of 1956, exempting
gifts to charities, was made prospectively effective to June 1, 1957, and by the Act of July 11, 1957, P.L. 821, unincorporated associations or societies were added ...