Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in case of Chichester School District v. Tax Claim Bureau of Delaware County, No. 81-06419, and in case of Ridley School District v. Tax Claim Bureau of Delaware County, No. 81-06420.
James E. Del Bello, Assistant County Solicitor, for appellant.
Stephen J. Polaha, with him, Gregory J. Polischuk and Arthur Levy, for appellees.
Judges MacPhail, Doyle and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino. Judge Barry did not participate in the decision in this case.
The Tax Claim Bureau of Delaware County (Bureau) has appealed from two separate decisions of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County (trial court) granting Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by Chichester School District in one case and Ridley School District in the second case. Because
the legal issue in each case is identical, this opinion will address both appeals.
The question presented in these appeals is whether the Bureau is entitled to a five per cent (5%) commission for delinquent taxes collected directly by the two school districts, by means of demand letters. The Bureau's position is that the school districts did not have the authority to collect the delinquent taxes by use of demand letters once the taxes were returned as delinquent to the Bureau. The Bureau argues that it is entitled to the commissions for collecting the delinquent taxes, even though it had no role in the collection.
The resolution of this issue rests on the interpretation of Section 21 of the Local Tax Collection Law, Act of May 25, 1945, P.L. 1050, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5511.21, which states in pertinent part:
(b) In addition to all other remedies provided by this act, each taxing district shall have power to collect unpaid taxes from the persons owing such taxes by suit in assumpsit or other appropriate remedy. To each judgment obtained for such taxes there shall be added a penalty of ten per centum together with costs of suit. Upon each such judgment, execution may be issued without any stay or benefit of any exemption law. The right of each such taxing district to collect unpaid taxes under the provisions of this subsection shall not be affected by the fact that such taxes have been entered as liens in the office of the prothonotary, or the fact that the property against which they were levied has been returned to the county commissioners for taxes for prior years. (Emphasis added.)