Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia in case of City of Philadelphia Tax Review Board v. Harjef's Corporation, No. 1069 January Term, 1972.
Leonard J. Bucki, with him Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen, for appellant.
Albert J. Persichetti, Deputy City Solicitor, with him James M. Penny, Jr., Assistant City Solicitor, Leonard B. Rosenthal, Assistant City Solicitor, and Martin Weinberg, City Solicitor, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Judge Kramer did not participate. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County affirming the Philadelphia Tax Review Board's dismissal of an appeal by Harjef's Corporation (Appellant) in which Appellant challenged the applicability of the Philadelphia Realty Transfer Tax to a sale of a factory building which it owned.
On March 28, 1969, Appellant sold a factory building located in Philadelphia to the Greater Philadelphia Enterprises Development Corporation (GPEDC) for a cash consideration of $2,500,000.00. At settlement, Appellant paid the Realty Transfer Tax under protest, at the rate of one percent of the stated consideration, in order to facilitate the recording of the deed. A claim for refund was then filed pursuant to Section 19-1703 of the Philadelphia Code (Code) which was denied by the Department of Collections. From this denial appeal was taken to the Tax Review Board pursuant to Section 19-1703 of the Code. Following a hearing, the Tax Review Board denied the appeal and further appeal was taken to the Court of Common Pleas. The court, following Section 8(b) of the Local Agency Law, Act of December 2, 1968, P.L. 1133, as amended, 53 P.S.
§ 11308(b), then affirmed the Tax Review Board and this appeal followed.
At the outset, Appellant argues that the court erred in finding that it is not exempt from payment of the Realty Transfer Tax. Section 19-1402(1) of the Code provides: "Every person who makes, executes, issues or delivers any document . . . shall pay . . . a tax at the rate of 1% of the value of the property represented by such document . . . ."
The term "document" is defined in Section 19-1401(2) with the following pertinent exemption: "Any deed, instrument, or writing whereby any lands . . . shall be . . . sold . . . except
"(g) transfers to non-profit corporations formed for the purpose of promoting industrial development in the City and which corporations are supported in whole or part from the City Treasury." (Emphasis added.)
Before us now for consideration is the issue of whether there is substantial evidence to show that vendee GPEDC is supported in whole or in part from the City Treasury since there is no claim made that GPEDC is not a non-profit corporation formed for the purpose of promoting industrial development. Statutory provisions exempting property from taxation are subject to strict construction, Board of Revision of Taxes of Philadelphia v. United Fund of Philadelphia, 11 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 201, 206, 314 A.2d 530, 532 (1973); Statutory Construction Act of 1972, 1 Pa. S. § 1928(b)(5), and the burden is on the taxpayer to bring himself within the exempted statute. ...