Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County in the case of Passavant Health Center v. The Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes of Butler County, Southwest Butler County School District and Zelienople Borough, Misc. Docket No. 84-034, Book 43, Page 284.
George H. Hancher, for appellant.
Richard L. McCandless, Dillon, McCandless & King, for appellee, The Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes of Butler County and Southwest Butler County School District.
Judges MacPhail and Doyle, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 93 Pa. Commw. Page 577]
The Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes of Butler County (Board) appeals here from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County (County) which sustained the tax exemption claim of Passavant Health Center (Passavant). We reverse.
Passavant is a non-profit corporation which, prior to 1978, consisted of a nursing home and a number of small cottages. The nursing home itself contains apartments and nursing facilities. Also on the Passavant grounds are two apartment buildings: Wittenburg, a five story apartment building, and Luther Court, a federally funded low-income apartment building owned by a separate corporation and managed by Passavant.
Nineteen additional cottages were constructed on Passavant grounds between 1978 and 1982.*fn1 On July 8, 1983, the County assessed these cottages at a value of $534,090. Passavant appealed this assessment to the Board which denied the appeal. Passavant then appealed to the trial court, which, after a hearing, sustained Passavant's appeal and held that these nineteen cottages were tax exempt. The instant appeal followed.
Passavant claims exemption pursuant to Article VIII, Section 2 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania*fn2 and Section 204(a)(3) of The
[ 93 Pa. Commw. Page 578]
General County Assessment Law (Law), Act of May 22, 1933, P.L. 853, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5020-204(a)(3), which provides:
(a) The following property shall be exempt from all county, borough, town, township, road, poor, and school tax, to wit:
(3) All hospitals, universities, colleges, seminaries, academies, associations and institutions of learning, benevolence or charity, including fire and rescue stations, with the grounds thereto annexed and necessary for the occupancy and enjoyment of the same, founded, endowed and maintained by public or private charity: Provided, That the entire revenue derived by the same be applied to the support and to increase the efficiency and facilities thereof, the repair and the necessary increases of grounds and buildings thereof, and for no other purpose.
Whether Passavant is entitled to an exemption is a mixed question of law and fact. Hill School Tax Exemption Case, 370 Pa. 21, 87 A.2d 259 (1952); General Conference Mennonite Appeal, 72 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 96, 455 A.2d 1274 (1983). Passavant has the burden of bringing itself within the ambit of the exemption. Presbyterian-University of Pennsylvania Medical Center v. Board of Revision of Taxes, 24 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 461, 357 A.2d 696 (1976). Whether Passavant is exempt from federal income ...