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SKI ROUNDTOP v. FAIRFIELD AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT (11/23/87)

decided: November 23, 1987.

SKI ROUNDTOP, INC., T/A SKI LIBERTY, APPELLANT
v.
FAIRFIELD AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Adams County, in the case of Fairfield Area School District v. Ski Roundtop, Inc. t/a Ski Liberty, No. 85-S-747.

COUNSEL

Albert G. Blakey, III, Blakey, Yost, Bupp & Schaumann, for appellant.

John A. Gill, Cleckner and Fearen, for appellee.

Judges Craig, MacPhail, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 257]

Ski Roundtop (taxpayer) appeals the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Fairfield Area School District (school district), in the amount of $131,884.02, for tax liability.

On April 19, 1982, the school district enacted the "Fairfield Area School District Amusement Tax Resolution of 1982" pursuant to the Local Tax Enabling Act.*fn1 The tax resolution imposed a tax equal to 5% of the price of "admissions" to "amusements" for those doing business within the school district.

The tax resolution defined "admission" as "the regular monetary charge or charges of any character whatsoever . . . for the privilege of attending, viewing, engaging in or participating in any amusement." The tax resolution defined "amusement" to include "skiing, including but not limited to the sport of skiing itself, the use of ski lifts and tows, the rental of ski equipment, and ski lessons."

The taxpayer operates a ski resort within the school district. The taxpayer charges a fee for entering the ski area and additional fees for lift tickets, ski rental and ski lessons. Beginning in March, 1984, the taxpayer refused to pay the amusement admissions taxes which the school district claimed under the tax resolution.

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 258]

In October, 1984, the legislature amended section eight of the Local Tax Enabling Act.*fn2 The amendment, which added subsection (9), provides that any taxes levied under the Local Tax Enabling Act on admissions to ski facilities shall not exceed a rate of 10%, and "the tax base upon which the tax shall be levied shall not exceed forty percent of the cost of the lift ticket", and that the cost of the lift ticket "shall include all costs of admission to the ski facility."

On November 5, 1985, the school district filed a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Adams County to recover taxes which the school district claimed were owed by the taxpayer under the tax resolution. The taxpayer filed an answer and new matter asserting (1) that the tax resolution was not valid because it exceeded the taxing authority given to the school district in the Local Tax Enabling Act, and (2) that if the tax resolution was valid, only fees for entering the ski area could be subject to the tax resolution.

In May of 1986, both the school district and the taxpayer filed motions for summary judgment. An itemized statement of taxpayer's income from the various ski-related activities was made a part of the ...


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