Property Owned by An Electric Generation Company Exempt from Local Real Estate Taxation
In Atlantic City Electric Company v. United School District, 780 A.2d 766 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2001), the Court, sitting en banc, applied the General County Assessment Law and the Fourth to Eighth Class County Assessment Law to a school district's attempt to impose tax on property owned by an electric generation company. the property at issue previously had been exempt from local real estate taxation, but a change in the act commonly known as the Public Utility Realty Tax Act (PURTA) subjected certain electric generating property to local taxation effective January 1, 2000, which was in the middle of the school district's tax year.
The Court considered several issues, including whether the Tax Assessment Day Rule prohibited a school district from later imposing an interim tax on real property that was exempt at the time of the district's annual tax levy, and whether a direction to pay real estate tax for only one-half of a year violates principles of uniformity of taxation and equal protection of the laws.
In our opinion, we acknowledged that the passage of Section 701(a.1) of the Fourth to Eighth Class County Assessment Law abrogated the Tax Day Assessment Rule:
Appellant also repeats its contention that a change in the taxable status of the property was prohibited by the "tax assessment day rule."
It asserts that, although the 1978 amendments to the assessment laws provide for the making of "additions and revisions" to the assessment rolls, they do not expressly authorize changes to the list of properties exempt from or excluded from taxation.
The Court disagrees.
The plain language of the amendments states that "additions and revisions" authorized "shall be a supplement to the assessment roll for levy and collection of taxes for the tax year for which the assessment roll was originally prepared" as well as for later years. 72 P.S. 5020-505(b) and 5453.701(a.1). Atlantic City Electric Co., 780 A.2d at 772, n. 8.