Can a Tax Entity Re-Litigate the Same Legal Issue Which Has Already Been Litigated and Decided In a Prior Tax Year ?
In Hershey's Mill Homeowner's Association v. Chester County, 862 A.2d 146 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2004), the Court considered whether a tax entity could attempt to re-litigate in a subsequent tax year the exact same legal issue which had been previously litigated and decided in a prior tax year.
In considering the matter in Hershey's Mill, we adopted the rationale and reasoning of the United States Supreme Court as set forth in the case of Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Sunnen, 333 U.S. 591, 68 S. Ct. 715, 92 L. Ed. 898 (1948).
In Hershey's Mill, we quoted from Sunnen as follows:
Of course, where a question of fact essential to the judgment is actually litigated and determined in the first tax proceeding, the parties are bound by that determination in a subsequent proceeding even though the cause of action is different.
And if the very same facts and no others are involved in the second case, the case relating to a different tax year, the prior judgment will be conclusive as to the same legal issues which appear, assuming no intervening doctrinal change. Hershey's Mill, 862 A.2d at 150.