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BOARD REVISION TAXES PHILADELPHIA v. UNITED FUND PHILADELPHIA AREA (12/19/73)

decided: December 19, 1973.

BOARD OF REVISION OF TAXES OF PHILADELPHIA, APPELLANT,
v.
UNITED FUND OF THE PHILADELPHIA AREA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of United Fund of the Philadelphia Area v. Joseph J. Burns, et al., Constituting the Board of Revision of Taxes of Philadelphia, No. 2638 July Term, 1971.

COUNSEL

James M. Penny, Jr., Assistant City Solicitor, with him John Mattioni, Deputy City Solicitor, and Martin Weinberg, City Solicitor, for appellant.

Benjamin M. Quigg, Jr., with him Thomas C. Sadler, Jr., and, of counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Kramer.

Author: Kramer

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 203]

This is an appeal by the City of Philadelphia (City) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County dated February 16, 1973, wherein the court sustained an appeal of the United Fund of the Philadelphia Area (United Fund) from the denial of a real estate tax exemption by the Board of Revision of Taxes of Philadelphia (Board). The effect of the court's order was to grant a real estate tax exemption to United Fund for its land and relatively new seven-story office building located at 1710-14 Race Street in Philadelphia.

The court below held a hearing de novo, at which it received extensive testimony and evidence, after which it filed its findings, conclusions and order. In view of the fact that the City has not raised any questions concerning the court's findings, our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether the court committed an error of law. The only question raised by the City is whether the United Fund is a "purely public charity" entitled to a real estate tax exemption under the provisions of The General County Assessment Law, Act of May 22, 1933, P.L. 853, art. I, §§ 101 et seq., as amended, 72 P.S. § 5020-101 et seq., or more specifically, under Section 204(i) of the Act, 72 P.S. § 5020-204(i).

United Fund is a nonprofit corporation which had its origin some 50 years ago, and which was reorganized into its present structure and status in 1959. Its purposes are:

"a. to promote the health and social welfare of the people of Philadelphia and vicinity and develop programs commensurate with their needs;

"b. to raise funds in the counties of Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware and Chester, and other counties that may thereafter be included, for the support of the national, state and local health, social welfare and

[ 11 Pa. Commw. Page 204]

    other charitable agencies participating in its operations;

"c. to distribute funds among its participating ...


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