Charles Widger, Asst. Atty. Gen., Lawrence Barth, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Thomas C. Kubelius, Richard F. Boyer, Bethlehem, for appellee.
Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Manderino, J., filed a concurring and dissenting opinion, in which Nix, J., joined. Jones, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
Anna G. Kostelnik died on December 14, 1973. The Commonwealth assessed an inheritance tax on four savings accounts and eleven savings and loan certificates
held in the names of decedent and her three daughters, appellees Irene, Helen and Annamae Kostelnik. The Commonwealth treated one-half the value of each account and certificate as subject to a six (6) per cent tax pursuant to section 241*fn1 of the Inheritance and Estate Tax Act [hereinafter "the Act"]. The daughters appealed from the assessment to the orphans' court division of the court of common pleas. After a hearing, the court held that the savings accounts and certificates were not subject to the tax. The Commonwealth's exceptions were dismissed by the court en banc, and this appeal followed.*fn2 We affirm in part and reverse in part the decree of the orphans' court.
Section 241 of the Act imposes a tax on joint tenancy interests as follows:
"When any property is held in the names of two or more persons, or is deposited in a financial institution in the names of two or more persons, so that, upon the death of one of them, the survivor or survivors have a right to the immediate ownership or possession and enjoyment of the whole property, the accrual of such right, upon the death of one of them, shall be deemed a transfer subject to tax under this act, of a fractional portion of such property to be determined by dividing the value of the whole property by the number of joint tenants in existence immediately preceding death of the deceased joint tenant."*fn3
Section 241 imposes a tax upon a joint account with a right of survivorship upon the death of one of the joint tenants. The right to immediate ownership or possession accruing to the survivor(s) is deemed a transfer
subject to tax. Cochrane's Estate, 342 Pa. 108, ...