Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of Marwood Rest Home, Inc. v. City of Philadelphia Tax Review Board, No. 1851 August Term, 1985.
Leonard Spear, with him, Daniel J. Tann, Spear, Wilderman, Sigmond, Borish, Endy and Silverstein, for appellant.
Patricia R. Lawler, Assistant City Solicitor, with her, Andrew P. Bralow, Divisional Deputy City Solicitor, Katherine Huseman and Handsel B. Minyard, City Solicitor, for appellee.
Judges Craig and MacPhail, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick.
[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 241]
Marwood Rest Home, Inc. (Marwood) has appealed from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County dismissing its appeal from an adverse determination of the Philadelphia Tax Review Board.
Marwood operates a skilled nursing facility in the City of Philadelphia. The facility houses 87 residents, primarily in semi-private rooms. Contending that those rooms are the principal place of residence for its patients, Marwood sought an exemption from the use and occupancy tax imposed by the City, and a refund of such taxes already paid.
The Philadelphia Tax Review Board determined that the exemption provision did not apply. The trial court, which took no additional evidence, agreed, on the basis of the record established before the Board. We note initially that it is a taxpayer's burden to establish entitlement to an 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). Further, exemption provisions are to be strictly construed. Pier 30 Associates v. School District of Philadelphia, 89 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 505, 493 A.2d 126 (1985). Finally, the question of entitlement to an exemption is a mixed one of fact and law, and
[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 242]
absent any abuse of discretion or lack of supporting evidence, we will affirm the decision of the trial court. Id.
The sections of the Philadelphia Code (Code) relevant to this appeal are § 19-1806(2), which provides for the imposition of the use and occupancy tax, and § 19-1806(3) which exempts certain real estate from that tax. Section 19-1806(2) of the Code provides:
Imposition of the Tax. The Board of Education of The School District of Philadelphia is authorized to impose a tax for general public school purposes on the use or occupancy of real estate . . . for the purpose of carrying on any business, trade, occupation, profession, vocation, or any other commercial or ...