Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Mifflin County in the case of In the Matter of the Estate of Nellie E. Caldwell, Estate File No. 44-80-235.
R. Lee Ziegler, for appellant.
Kathleen Krise Shaulis, Assistant Counsel, with her, George T. Bell, Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Judges Craig and Colins and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins. Judge Williams, Jr., did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 260]
Nellie E. Caldwell died on September 23, 1980. On January 6, 1982, an inheritance tax return for decedent's estate was filed with the Register of Wills of Mifflin County. Schedule E reported $72,091.10 in jointly-held assets subject to tax under Section 241*fn1
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 261]
of the Inheritance and Estate Tax Act (Act). On May 26, 1982, the Department of Revenue, Bureau of Examination, due to information it had received from several financial institutions*fn2 regarding numerous savings accounts and certificates of deposit held in the names of decedent and her brother, Samuel H. Caldwell (appellant), increased the value of the jointly-held assets to $197,033.63 and issued a new inheritance tax assessment. Appellant promptly filed a protest.
On March 18, 1983, the Department of Revenue, Board of Appeals, reduced the value of the jointly-held assets to $139,487.77. This reduction was made because the Board found that Section 222*fn3 (Contemplation of Death Transfers) of the Act did not apply to all of the accounts. The Department of Revenue then issued a new tax assessment, showing a tax due of $20,921.64. Appellant appealed from this assessment to the Court of Common Pleas of Mifflin County. On January 26, 1984, the Court of Common Pleas dismissed appellant's appeal. Appellant filed exceptions on February 6, 1984, which were subsequently dismissed on April 13, 1984. An appeal to this Court followed.
Section 241 of the Act provides that:
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 immediate ownership or possession and enjoyment of the whole property, the accrual of such right,
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 262]
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 ...