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PIER 30 ASSOCIATES v. SCHOOL DISTRICT PHILADELPHIA (05/24/85)

decided: May 24, 1985.

PIER 30 ASSOCIATES, APPELLANT
v.
THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of Pier 30 Associates v. The School District of Philadelphia, No. 2093 August Term, 1978.

COUNSEL

Daniel B. Pierson V, with him, Anastasius Efstratiades, Pierson, Cameron & Morris, P.C., for appellant.

Eugene F. Brazil, General Counsel, for appellee.

Judges Craig and Colins and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 89 Pa. Commw. Page 506]

Pier 30 Associates appeals an order of Judge Gelfand of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County which upheld the Philadelphia School District's denial of Pier 30's appeal from the imposition of local use and occupancy tax on tennis courts constructed and operated by Pier 30 on property owned by the city, leased by the Philadelphia Port Corporation (a municipal agency), and sublet to Pier 30 Associates.

The public status of the property title is not in dispute. The only question before us is whether Pier 30's use of the property is for a "public purpose," thereby

[ 89 Pa. Commw. Page 507]

    exempting it from taxation under the General County Assessment Law,*fn1 which provides in part:

Section 5020-204. Exemptions from taxation.

(a) The following property shall be exempt from all county, city, borough, town, township, road, poor and school tax, to wit:

(7) all other property used for public purposes, with the ground thereto annexed and necessary for the occupancy and enjoyment of the same, but this shall not be construed to include property otherwise taxable which is owned or held by an agency of the Government of the United States nor shall this act or any other act be construed to exempt from taxation any privilege, act or transaction conducted upon public property by persons or entities which would be taxable if conducted upon nonpublic property regardless of the purpose or purposes for which such activity occurs, even if conducted as agent or lessee of any public authority. . . . (Emphasis added.)

The taxpayer has the burden of establishing exemption from taxation. Lehigh Valley Cooperative Farmers v. Bureau of Security Employment, Department of Labor and Industry, 498 Pa. 521, 447 A.2d 948 (1982). Statutory provisions exempting property from taxation are strictly construed. Matter of Tax Assessment of Real Estate of Greater Erie Economic Development Corp., 61 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 144, 433 A.2d 568 (1981). Entitlement to tax ...


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