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HOMEWOOD-BRUSHTON CITIZENS RENEWAL COUNCIL v. DEPARTMENT CITY TREASURER (12/21/76)

decided: December 21, 1976.

HOMEWOOD-BRUSHTON CITIZENS RENEWAL COUNCIL, A NONPROFIT CORPORATION
v.
DEPARTMENT OF CITY TREASURER, CITY OF PITTSBURGH. CITY OF PITTSBURGH, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of In Re: Appeal of Homewood-Brushton Citizens Renewal Council, a non-profit corporation v. Department of City Treasurer, City of Pittsburgh, No. S.A. 737 of 1974.

COUNSEL

Grace S. Harris, Executive Assistant City Solicitor, with her Mead J. Mulvihill, Jr., City Solicitor, for appellant.

Michael A. Donadee, for appellee.

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

Author: Mencer

[ 27 Pa. Commw. Page 631]

The City of Pittsburgh (City) has appealed from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which granted a tax exemption to the Homewood-Brushton Citizens Renewal Council (Council). The Council successfully sought to have the gross receipts of a roller skating rink exempted from the Pittsburgh Institution and Service Privilege Tax (Tax). This tax is in the nature of an excise tax imposed on nonprofit institutions pursuant to The Local Tax Enabling Act, Act of December 31, 1965, P.L. 1257, as amended, 53 P.S. § 6901 et seq.

[ 27 Pa. Commw. Page 632]

The Council contended below that it was entitled to the charitable exemption granted in Section 204(a)(3) of The General County Assessment Law (Act), Act of May 22, 1933, P.L. 853, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5020-204(a)(3), which provides:

(a) The following property shall be exempt from all county, city, borough, town, township, road, poor and school tax, to wit:

(3) All hospitals, universities, colleges, seminaries, academies, associations and institutions of learning, benevolence, or charity, including fire and rescue stations, with the grounds thereto annexed and necessary for the occupancy and enjoyment of the same, founded, endowed, and maintained by public or private charity: Provided, That the entire revenue derived by the same be applied to the support and to increase the efficiency and facilities thereof, the repair and the necessary increase of grounds and buildings thereof, and for no other purpose. . . .

The City contends that the Council is not entitled to the exemption on the gross receipts of the skating rink because it is not being operated as a "purely public charity." We agree and therefore reverse.

Often, when a group with laudable aims has, through the exercise of diligence and ingenuity, benefited the community at no pecuniary gain to itself, our impulse is to consider it, broadly speaking, as charitable in nature. The law governing charitable exemptions, however, places the burden on the taxpayer to bring itself within the ambit of the charitable exemption. Four Freedoms House of Philadelphia, Inc. v. Philadelphia, 443 Pa. 215, 279 A.2d 155 (1971). Such exemptions are ...


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