Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in case of A. Victor Meitner, Jr., P.C. v. Township of Cheltenham, No. 79-21102.
James F. Crotty, with him, A. Victor Meitner, Jr., for appellant.
Gilbert P. High, Jr., for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers, Blatt, Craig and MacPhail. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
This is the appeal of A. Victor Meitner, Jr., P.C., a professional corporation operating as a law firm in Cheltenham Township, from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County holding that the $45 (now $40) annual fee which each attorney admitted to practice in any court in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is required to pay to the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
pursuant to Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rule of Disciplinary Enforcement (Pa. R.D.E.) 219, in order to practice law, does not constitute a state license fee within the meaning of Section 2(1) of the Local Tax Enabling Act, Act of December 31, 1965, P.L. 1257, as amended, 53 P.S. § 6902(1); with the result that the appellant was subject to levy, assessment and collection by the township of its business privilege tax. The business privilege tax was imposed pursuant to Section 2 of the Act, 53 P.S. § 6902, which provides in pertinent part:
The duly constituted authorities of the following political subdivisions, cities of the second class, cities of the second class A, cities of the third class, boroughs, towns, townships of the first class, townships of the second class, school districts of the second class, school districts of the third class, and school districts of the fourth class, in all cases including independent school districts, may, in their discretion, by ordinance or resolution, for general revenue purposes, levy, assess and collect or provide for the levying, assessment and collection of such taxes as they shall determine on persons, transactions, occupations, privileges, subjects . . . . Such local authorities shall not have authority by virtue of this act :
(1) To levy, assess and collect or provide for the levying, assessment and collection of any tax . . . on a privilege, transaction, subject, occupation or personal property which is now or does hereafter become subject to a state tax or license fee. (Emphasis added.)
The appellant paid the Pa. R.D.E. 219 fees for the attorneys in its organization for the years 1977, 1978, and 1979. On December 30, 1976, the township, which
was then a township of the first class, enacted an ordinance pursuant to Section 2 imposing a tax of 2 1/2 mills on the gross receipts of:
[a]ll businesses, trades, occupations and professions in which there is offered any service or services to the general public or a limited number thereof, including without limitation those enterprises engaged in by . . . lawyers . . . .
On January 1, 1977, the township changed its form of government from that of a statutory township of the first class to a township under Home Rule Charter. On December 29, 1977, the township enacted Ordinance No. 1430 which amended and reenacted the existing business privilege taxing ordinance ...