Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, for the County of Allegheny, at No. 1866 January Term, 1971, in cases of F.W. Woolworth Company, a corporation, lessee; Herman Hoene Estate, Louis A. Meyran and Marie H. Meyren, his wife, and Real Estate Company of Pittsburgh, Owners v. City of Pittsburgh, a municipal corporation, and Joseph L. Cosetti, Treasurer.
Grace S. Harris, Assistant City Solicitor, with her Ralph Lynch, Jr., City Solicitor, for appellant, City of Pittsburgh.
Bernard Markowitz, Assistant Solicitor, with him Justin M. Johnson, Solicitor, for appellant, School District of Pittsburgh.
T. Robert Brennan, with him Harvey E. Robbins and Brennan and Brennan, for appellees.
No appearance for appellant, County of Allegheny.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Rogers. Opinion by President Judge Bowman.
As an amendment to Section 17 of the Act of June 21, 1939, P.L. 626, relating to assessment of property for tax purposes in second class counties, the General Assembly enacted the Act of June 22, 1970, P.L. (Act No. 138), 72 P.S. 5452.17, which in full text reads: "No appeal taken from any assessment made under this act shall affect the validity of any taxes assessed, nor shall it prevent the collection of the taxes based upon the assessment, if such assessment shall thereafter be reduced, an exoneration shall be granted for the proper amount to equalize such reduction, if the taxes based upon such assessment have not been paid, and if the taxes based upon such assessment have been paid the excess taxes collected shall be refunded to the person having made such payment. Such refunds shall be made within thirty (30) days after the tax levying authorities have been notified by mail of the reduction
made in the assessment by the board or by the court and such refunds shall include interest at the legal rate commencing one (1) year after the date of payment. No such appeal shall operate to relieve the appellant from liability for accrued interest and penalties on any unpaid taxes based upon the assessment as finally established."
Section 2 of the amending act declares that it shall take effect immediately and "shall apply to all refunds made hereafter".
The substantive provisions of this amendment are not at issue. At issue is the applicability of the interest payment provision to assessment appeals in process upon the effective date of the amending act.
F.W. Woolworth Company (Woolworth) leased certain commercial property in the City of Pittsburgh and, as part of the lease arrangement, agreed to pay all properly assessed real estate taxes but reserving the right to contest any underlying assessment. Pursuant to the Act of 1939, supra, the County of Allegheny assessed the subject property for the triennial taxing period 1969-1970-1971 and Woolworth paid assessed taxes to the City of Pittsburgh based on these county assessment figures. Woolworth then appealed the ...