Appeal from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Bedford County, in the case of In Re: Blue Knob Recreation, Inc. Assessment Appeal, dated April 14, 1988 and April 25, 1988.
Paul S. Foreman, Foreman, Swartzkopf & Dickey, for appellant.
Thomas S. Ling, for appellee, Bedford County Tax Assessment Board.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judge Colins, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge MacPhail did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 157]
Blue Knob Recreation, Inc. (Blue Knob), appeals Bedford County Common Pleas Court orders affirming the Bedford County Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes and denying its motion for post-trial relief and/or reconsideration. We affirm.
In 1974, Blue Knob executed a lease agreement to operate a ski resort on Commonwealth land.*fn1 The premises consisted of various buildings, some of which
[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 158]
Blue Knob had the option to demolish. Blue Knob agreed to pay an additional yearly rental fee for those existing structures which it continued to use as part of the ski facility. During the 1977-1978 ski season, Blue Knob constructed a new lodge. Although constructed at Blue Knob's expense, the record does not disclose whether it paid an additional rental fee to the Commonwealth.
In 1986, Bedford County assessed a tax on the new lodge*fn2 pursuant to Section 201 of The Fourth to Eighth Class County Assessment Law (Act),*fn3 which subjects to taxation for county purposes "[a]ll real estate" including "buildings, lands, lots of ground and ground rents . . . ." Blue Knob's appeal of this assessment to the Board was denied, whereupon it appealed to the common pleas court. Section 704(a) of the Act, 72 P.S. § 5453.704(a). The trial court upheld the assessment.
In Pennsylvania, the general rule concerning a lessee's tax liability is whether "there are indicia that the title to the improvements, as well as the leasehold itself, remains in the lessee during the term." Venango Federal Savings and Loan Association v. County of Venango, 73 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 313, 315, 457 A.2d 1340, 1341 (1983).
The trial court reviewed Section 6, paragraphs 8 and 10 of the lease and concluded that ownership interest in the ski lodge remained with Blue Knob. Our reading of those ...