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COMMONWEALTH v. TETLEY TEA COMPANY (06/24/66)

decided: June 24, 1966.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
TETLEY TEA COMPANY, INC., APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, No. 77 Commonwealth Docket, 1961, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Tetley Tea Company, Inc.

COUNSEL

Robert L. Trescher, with him Gerald A. Gleeson, Jr., and Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, for appellant.

Vincent X. Yakowicz, Deputy Attorney General, with him Walter E. Alessandroni, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Musmanno.

Author: Cohen

[ 421 Pa. Page 615]

This appeal is taken from the judgment of the lower court which sustained the imposition of franchise tax on the Tetley Tea Company.

The Act of 1889, P. L. 420, as amended, imposes on certain foreign corporations a franchise tax computed as set forth in the Act. Inter alia, a company "organized for manufacturing" receives an exemption to the extent its property is used in, its employees are engaged in and its receipts are incident to manufacturing in Pennsylvania. Act of June 1, 1889, P. L. 420, § 21, as amended, 72 P.S. § 1871.

Tetley is a New York corporation maintaining facilities in Pennsylvania for the blending of tea, the

[ 421 Pa. Page 616]

    filling of tea bags and the distribution and sale of its product. Arguing that the company is engaged in manufacturing within the meaning of the aforesaid provision, Tetley claims an exemption from the tax. Even though it has been stipulated that Tetley's certificate of incorporation states that one of the purposes of the company is to manufacture tea, it remains to be determined, however, whether the activity conducted by Tetley is, in fact, manufacturing so as to permit the exclusion of the property values, wages and receipts in computing its tax.

We have defined "manufacturing" to be the application of skill and labor to materials so that there results a new, different and useful product. Philadelphia School District v. Parent Metal Products, Inc., 402 Pa. 361, 167 A.2d 257 (1961). To be new and different the manufacturing process must have substantially transformed the ingredients in form, quality and use. Commonwealth v. Berlo Vending Company, 415 Pa. 101, 202 A.2d 94 (1964); Commonwealth v. Peerless Paper Specialty, Inc., 344 Pa. 283, 25 A.2d 323 (1942).

At its plant, Tetley separates the tea from foreign matter, blends the tea and places precisely measured amounts in bags. The bags are composed of paper specially treated to impart a heat-sealing characteristic and to withstand boiling water. Intricate machinery is required to fold, fill, seal and attach string and tags to the bags. The mechanics who service the machinery must be specially trained.

The process results in a bag of tea that is dipped into a container of boiling water. No teapot or strainer is required to prevent the tea leaves from remaining in the cup. The bag permits of easy disposal, enables the tea to be precisely measured for each ...


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