Appeals from orders of Board of Finance and Revenue, Nos. C-29299 and C-29300, in case of The Finance Company of Pennsylvania v. Board of Finance and Revenue, Treasury Department, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Samuel C. Harry, with him Natalie I. Salkind, Park B. Dilks, Jr., and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for appellant.
Eugene J. Anastasio, Deputy Attorney General, with him William C. Sennett, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen. Mr. Chief Justice Bell, Mr. Justice Jones, Mr. Justice Eagen and Mr. Justice Roberts concur in the result. Mr. Justice Musmanno took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
This is an appeal by The Finance Company of Pennsylvania (appellant) from orders of the Board of Finance and Revenue refusing appellant's petitions for refund of bank shares tax paid by it for 1957 and 1958. Since the chronological sequence of events is important, we shall recite it in full.
During the year 1961 appellant determined that it had improperly been paying bank shares tax to the Commonwealth and that it should have been paying general corporate business taxes (e.g., capital stock, loans, corporate net income). At that time it had pending before the taxing departments a petition for resettlement of its 1959 bank shares tax. On March 22, 1962, it filed a supplemental petition for resettlement of this tax alleging it was not subject to the tax. On April 23, 1962, it filed similar petitions for resettlement with respect to its 1960 and 1961 shares tax. On April 27, 1962 (five days later) it filed the petitions for refund for 1957 and 1958 which are the subject of
the present proceeding. At the time of filing these last two petitions, appellant's counsel submitted a letter to the Board requesting that action on them be deferred until final disposition of the proceedings for 1959, 1960 and 1961.
Subsequently, appellant's petition for resettlement of its 1959 shares tax was denied as was its petition for review to the Board. On March 6, 1963, appellant filed an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County. Three and one-half years later, on September 6, 1966, that court ruled appellant was not subject to shares tax but rather, as appellant claimed, was subject to general business taxes. Commonwealth v. The Finance Company of Pennsylvania, 41 Pa. D. & C. 2d 73 Dauph. (1966). The Commonwealth did not appeal from this decision.
Appellant then requested the Board to hear its petitions for refund of 1957 and 1958 shares tax and grant the appropriate refunds. On February 21, 1967, the Board met and refused the petitions for lack of jurisdiction. Appellant's petition for rehearing was refused by the Board on April 27, 1967. On May 12, 1967, appellant filed appeals with the Superior Court from the Board's action.
In a per curiam order entered on April 29, 1968, the Superior Court certified the appeals to this Court. It acted in the belief that it had no jurisdiction in the matter because § 2 of the Act of August 14, 1963, P. L. 819, 17 P.S. § 191.4(6), gave exclusive jurisdiction to this Court of appeals in "(6) Matters relating to actions and orders of the Department of Revenue arising under the provisions of the Act of April 9, 1929 (P. L. 343), known as 'The Fiscal Code', as amended; . . ." Before us, appellant has contested this action of the Superior ...