Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County in the case of Wilson Townhouses, Sections I and II v. Berks County Board of Assessment Appeals and Spring Township and Wilson School District, No. 65 November, 1983.
Jonathan B. Sprague, with him, Steven Kapustin and Susan Greenspun, Bluestein, Rutstein & Mirarchi, P.C., for appellant.
Gerald P. Sigal, Assistant County Solicitor, for appellee, Berks County Board of Assessment Appeals.
Richard E. Fehling, Stevens & Lee, for appellee, Wilson School District.
Judges Craig and Doyle, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 499]
Wilson Townhouses, Sections I and II (Appellant) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County dismissing its tax assessment appeals for its properties for the tax years 1984, 1985 and 1986. We affirm in part, reverse in part and remand.
On August 31, 1983, Appellant sought review of a tax assessment for tax year 1984 on its property by appealing to Berks County Board of Assessment Appeals. The Board of Assessment Appeals declined to change the assessment, and its decision to Appellant was mailed on September 30, 1983. On November 7, 1983, Appellant filed its appeal from that decision with the court of common pleas. Spring Township and Wilson School District intervened on the side of the Board of Assessment Appeals (collectively, Appellees). After over two years of pretrial maneuvering, during which time
[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 500]
appeals for the tax years 1985 and 1986 were automatically included in the appeal under the provisions of Section 9(c) of the Act of June 26, 1931, P.L. 1379, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5350(c) (Act),*fn1 the trial commenced in December 1985. On the third day of trial, after being advised by counsel for Appellees that Appellant had failed to file a timely appeal to the court from the 1984 tax year assessment, the court of common pleas dismissed not only the assessment appeal for 1984, but also the "automatic" assessment appeals for tax years 1985 and 1986, for lack of jurisdiction. Appellant appeals to this Court.
There can be little doubt that the trial court here correctly dismissed Appellant's appeal from the 1984 tax assessment; indeed, counsel for Appellant conceded as much at oral argument. Whether an appeal is timely filed is a jurisdictional question that cannot be waived, Tarlo v. University of Pittsburgh, 66 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 149, 443 A.2d 879 (1982), and it may be raised at any stage of the proceedings by any party, or a court may raise it sua sponte. See Federated Department Stores, Inc. Appeal, 78 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 346, 467 A.2d 908 (1983).
The law generally is that an appeal from a decision of a tax assessment board must be filed within thirty days after the entry of the board's order. Section 5571(b) of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa. C.S. § 5571(b); Chartiers Valley School District Appeal, 501 Pa. 620, 462 A.2d 673 (1983). If the order is served by mail, the date of mailing is deemed to be the date of entry of the order. Section 5572 of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa. C.S. § ...