No. 139 January Term, 1976, Appeal from the Decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Orphans' Court Division, No. 76842 of 1975
Catherine Gallagher Barone, Asst. Atty. Gen., Fort Washington, for appellant.
Walter E. Nelson, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellee, William Dickie Ravdin, Executor of the estate of Robert Glenn Ravdin, deceased.
Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Jones, former C. J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
This appeal involves the taxability for Pennsylvania inheritance tax purposes of the decedent's interest in a "Keogh" type pension or retirement plan.
Robert Glenn Ravdin, a physician, died in March, 1972, at age forty-nine. His executor filed a Pennsylvania inheritance tax return in which he included on Schedule B ("personal property") the following statement, marked "information only":
"Decedent's interest in the partnership retirement plan on the date of his death was $55,590.52. Decedent had named his wife, Carolyn Port Ravdin, as the beneficiary of this sum. Therefore, it is the position of the Executor that this item is not taxable for Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax purposes."
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, however, included the value of Dr. Ravdin's interest in the retirement plan in its assessment of the Pennsylvania transfer inheritance tax due from the estate. The orphans' court division of the court of common pleas reversed this ruling and sustained the executor's position that the interest in the retirement plan was exempt from tax. Ravdin Estate, 25 Fiduc.Rep. 640 (O.C.Div.Montg.Co.1975). The Commonwealth having now appealed to this Court, we find no error in the decision below, and will affirm.*fn1
At the time of his death, the decedent was a member of a medical partnership known as "I.S. Ravdin, M.D., Jonathan E. Rhoads, M.D. and Julian Johnson, M.D. and Associates." There was in effect at the time a partnership retirement plan created in 1956, but amended in 1963 to comply with the newly-enacted federal Self-Employed Individuals Tax Retirement Act of 1962, Pub.L. No. 87-792, 76 Stat. 809, sometimes known as the "Keogh Act" or "H.R. 10"*fn2 (the number of the bill in the House of Representatives). Under the retirement plan, contributions were made by the partnership to the trustee named in the plan on behalf of the employees of the partnership. Dr. Ravdin was a ...