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JOHN E. RITZ AND CATHARINE M. RITZ v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/02/81)

decided: July 2, 1981.

JOHN E. RITZ AND CATHARINE M. RITZ, APPELLANTS,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA



No. 80-1-126, Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania entered May 14, 1980 at No. 1108 C.D. 1978.

COUNSEL

T. P. Shearer, Pittsburgh, for appellants.

Jerome H. Gerber, Elliot A. Strokoff, Harrisburg, for amicus curiae, Pa. AFL-CIO.

Vincent J. Dopko, Dept. of Justice, Harrisburg, for appellee.

O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. Roberts, J., filed a Concurring and Dissenting Opinion in which O'Brien, C. J., joins. Nix, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Flaherty

[ 495 Pa. Page 3]

OPINION OF THE COURT

John E. and Catharine M. Ritz filed a Pennsylvania income tax return for 1975 in which they claimed certain business expenses as exclusions from their taxable income. The Board of Finance and Revenue granted relief with respect to $1,115.00 for travel expenses, but denied relief with respect to $196.20 for union dues and $58.20 for an office at home. The Commonwealth Court affirmed the Board, 412 A.2d 1114. Mr. and Mrs. Ritz appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court, challenging the denial of exclusion for union dues and office expense. We reverse the Commonwealth Court and order that the appellants' business exclusions be allowed as claimed.

Mr. and Mrs. Ritz, filed a joint Pennsylvania Income Tax return for 1975 showing a joint income of $27,195.63 upon which they paid tax of $543.91. Subsequently, they filed an application for cash refund of $27.39 (2% of $1,369.40), claiming the following expenses as excludable from gross income:

1. Travel expense away from house as per

     federal form 2106 attached $1,115.00

2. Union dues 196.20

3. Office at home deduction as per deduction

     taken on federal tax 58.20

$1,369.40

The claim for $58.20 was explained on appellants' Pennsylvania tax ...


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