Appeals from judgments of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Nos. 351 and 353 Commonwealth Docket, 1967, in case of Commonwealth v. Western Maryland Railway Company.
George W. Keitel, Deputy Attorney General, with him William C. Sennett, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, appellant.
Robert D. Myers, with him Frank A. Sinon, and Rhoads, Sinon & Reader, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen. Mr. Justice Jones took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania filed these appeals from the judgments entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County in a case involving a dispute as to the amount of Capital Stock Taxes due the Commonwealth from the Western Maryland Railway Company (Taxpayer) for the years 1958 and 1959.
Taxpayer filed its Capital Stock Tax report on July 10, 1959, for the year 1958, showing a tax liability in the amount of $46,507.50, and on June 20, 1960, filed a similar report for the year 1959, showing a tax liability of $43,645.50. The Board of Finance and Review made settlement of Taxpayer's 1958 and 1959 Capital Stock Taxes (in greater amounts than that stated by Taxpayer) on March 29, 1961, and notices thereof were mailed to Taxpayer on April 18, 1961. The lower court ruled that these settlements were untimely under Section 801(b) of The Fiscal Code, Act
of April 9, 1929, P. L. 343, § 801, 72 P.S. § 801(b)*fn1 and directed judgments to be entered for the amount stated to be due in Taxpayer's reports. The correctness of this ruling is the sole question now before us for determination.
Admittedly the settlements involved were rendered beyond the limitation period specified in the code. As to the Capital Stock Taxes due for 1958, settlement was not made until approximately fifteen and one-half months after the statutory limitation had expired. In the case of such taxes due for 1959, settlement was not made until the limitation period was exceeded by three and one-half months.
Previous decisions of this Court have enunciated the relevant legal principles which must guide our decision. In Commonwealth v. Allied Building Credits, Inc., 385 Pa. 370, 123 A.2d 686 (1956), we decided that when a tax settlement is made after the expiration of a time limit set out in a statute, the settlement cannot stand absent affirmative proof by the taxing department that it was not possible to make the settlement within the required time.*fn2
In Commonwealth v. Safe Harbor Water Power Corporation, 423 Pa. 101, 223 A.2d 223 (1966), we again considered the timeliness of a tax settlement. Specifically reaffirming the principles of Allied ...