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VAN BENNETT FOOD CO. v. CITY READING (01/09/85)

decided: January 9, 1985.

VAN BENNETT FOOD CO., INC., APPELLANT
v.
CITY OF READING, PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County in case of City of Reading v. Van Bennett Food Co., Inc., No. 289 June 1982.

COUNSEL

Gene M. Venzke, Mogel, Speidel & Roland, for appellant.

Peter F. Cianci, First Assistant City Solicitor, with him, Jack A. Linton, City Solicitor, for appellee.

Judges Doyle, Colins and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 87 Pa. Commw. Page 31]

The City of Reading (City) filed a complaint on June 24, 1982, in the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County (trial court) seeking a declaratory judgment that the revenue which Van Bennett Food Co., Inc. (Appellant) receives from its production of certain food products is subject to the City's Business Privilege Tax which was enacted pursuant to the authority of The Local Tax Enabling Act, Act of December 31, 1965, P.L. 1257, as amended, 53 P.S. §§ 6901-6922.

The articles produced by Appellant which are at issue include: potato salad, macaroni salad, cole slaw, pepper cabbage, baked lima beans, rice pudding, tapioca pudding, health salad, egg salad, tuna salad,

[ 87 Pa. Commw. Page 32]

    cranberry relish, potato filling, bread filling, corn pies, clam corn pies, oyster pies, clam chowder, macaroni and cheese and red beet eggs. The City argued before the trial court that these articles do not constitute manufactured goods and therefore do not fall within the manufacturing exemption found in Section IIIc(5) of the City's ordinance, which is similar to the exemption in Section 2(4) of the Enabling Act, 53 P.S. § 6902(4).

At the non-jury trial the City offered evidence showing that since 1980, Appellant had not included in its gross receipts the income derived from the production and sale of the nineteen different food products listed above. The City also introduced into evidence Appellant's answers to the City's interrogatories detailing the method of preparation for each of these food products. Based on this evidence, the Chancellor concluded that Appellant's corn pies, clam corn pies and oyster pies are manufactured goods and are therefore not subject to the tax. The Chancellor further concluded that the remaining sixteen products are not manufactured and are subject to the City's tax. Appellant appealed this adjudication of the Chancellor which, after consideration of Appellant's exceptions, was adopted by the trial court en banc. This appeal followed.*fn1 For the reasons that follow, we affirm the trial court.

Section 2 of the Enabling Act, 53 P.S. § 6902(4), provides that local authorities shall not have the authority:

(4) To levy, assess, and collect a tax on goods and articles manufactured in such political subdivision or on ...


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