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LAUBACH REALTY COMPANY v. EASTON SCHOOL DISTRICT (11/12/64)

decided: November 12, 1964.

LAUBACH REALTY COMPANY
v.
EASTON SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Dec. T., 1963, No. 57, in case of Laubach Realty Company v. School District of City of Easton.

COUNSEL

Jacob A. Raub, for appellant.

John F. Oldt, for appellee.

Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (Rhodes, P. J., absent). Opinion by Woodside, J.

Author: Woodside

[ 204 Pa. Super. Page 375]

This is an appeal by the Easton School District from the judgment entered on the pleadings in an assumpsit action brought to recover a portion of the 1963 school taxes. Laubach Realty Company (Laubach) paid its 1963 school tax under protest while awaiting the outcome of an appeal to the Northampton County Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes (Board) from its real property assessment for 1962.

The school district says in its brief that the "only real question in the case" is whether or not the taxpayer followed the correct procedure in appealing its assessment under The Fourth to Eighth Class County Assessment Law of 1943, May 21, P. L. 571, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5453.101 et seq.

The steps taken by the taxpayer to question the assessed valuation of its real property are as follows:

Upon being notified during the summer of 1962 that its 1962 assessed valuation was set at $586,600, Laubach filed a written appeal on August 17, 1962 with the Northampton County Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes pursuant to § 701, as amended, of The Fourth to Eighth Class County Assessment Law, supra, 72 P.S. § 5453.701, which requires such appeal to be filed by the first day of September.

[ 204 Pa. Super. Page 376]

Article VII of the Assessment Law, supra, sets forth a specific time schedule for the board to adhere to in hearing the appeals and handing down its order affirming, raising or lowering the appealed assessment. In the instant case, as in Taylor Borough Appeal, 408 Pa. 56, 182 A.2d 754 (1962), the board did not comply with the legislatively created schedule. Section 701 requires the board to begin hearings on the first business day following the first of September and to have all appeals heard and acted upon no later than the first day of October. In the instant case, the board, confronted by a multitude of appeals involving properties located in the area where Laubach's properties are located, undertook an exhaustive study of all assessments in that area, delaying its ultimate decision of Laubach's appeal until September 26, 1963, almost a full year after it was directed by the statute to have acted upon it.

Meanwhile Laubach's 1963 school taxes were levied upon the original 1962 assessment of $586,600, and became due on July 1, 1963. On August 23, 1963, over a year after its appeal was filed and with its outcome still pending, Laubach paid under written protest the 1963 school tax of $12,611.90, based on the original assessment.

When the board's order of September 26, 1963, previously referred to, was filed, it reflected a lowering of Laubach's 1962 assessment from $586,600 to $365,700, reducing the 1963 tax which should have been paid by Laubach from $12,611.90 to $7862.55, or an overpayment of $4,654.36 (reflecting the ...


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