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ALBRIGHT COLLEGE TAX ASSESSMENT CASE (12/12/68)

decided: December 12, 1968.

ALBRIGHT COLLEGE TAX ASSESSMENT CASE


Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, Feb. T., 1967, No. 117, in re assessment of property of Albright College.

COUNSEL

Frederick G. McGavin, County Solicitor, with him James H. Murray, Assistant County Solicitor, for appellant.

Raymond C. Schlegel, with him Edward P. Najarian, Carl F. Mogel, and Balmer, Kershner, Mogel and Speidel, for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Spaulding, and Hannum, JJ. (Hoffman, J., absent). Opinion by Hannum, J. Hoffman, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Hannum

[ 213 Pa. Super. Page 479]

Is the residence of the president emeritus of Albright College wherein he resided during his tenure as president, owned by the College and directly across the street from the eastern boundary of the main campus, exempt from local taxation?

The property in 1964, then the president's residence, was exempt and taken from exempt to taxable for the year 1965. Albright College paid taxes during 1965 and 1966.

The Vice-Chairman of the County of Berks Assessment Board testified that the reason the property was removed from the exempt list in 1965 was because it was no longer occupied by the president of the College.

In 1967 Albright College appealed the assessment as excessive and as wholly or partially exempt. Later the parties stipulated that the assessment was fair and reasonable. Following the appeal by Albright College from the refusal of the Board for the Assessment and Revision of Taxes of Berks County to exempt the residence

[ 213 Pa. Super. Page 480]

    from taxation, the court below held that the residence was exempt.

The propriety of that ruling is now before us. The critical issue of this dispute is the use to which the residence of the president emeritus is put.

Applicable legal principles were stated by Mr. Justice Jones in University of Pittsburgh Tax Exemption Case, 407 Pa. 416, 418, 180 A.2d 760 (1962): "The Constitution exempts nothing from taxation but simply permits the General Assembly to exempt within a limited and restricted area: City of New Castle v. Lawrence County, 353 Pa. 175, 44 A.2d 589. Section 1 of Article IX of the Constitution authorized the General Assembly to exempt from taxation 'public property used for public purposes, actual places of religious worship, places of burial not used or held for private or corporate profit, institutions of purely public charity and real and personal property owned, occupied, and used by any branch, post or camp of honorably ...


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