Firm Achieves Appellate Court win in PA Tax Exemption Case

MEDIA, PA, March 18th, 2011  – In the case of Church of the Overcomer v. Delaware County Board of Assessment, an En Banc Panel of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, reversed a decision from the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas that had granted a local church a tax exemption from local property taxes, on the basis that the church was a place of purely public charity.  Eckell Sparks attorney Pat Henigan, Esquire, argued the case before a seven member panel of the Commonwealth Court in October, seeking a reversal of the trial court’s decision.

Eckell Sparks, with headquarters in Media, Pennsylvania, is the largest law firm established in Delaware County and is one of the largest suburban firms serving the entire five-county Philadelphia metropolitan area. Eckell Sparks represents local government units, businesses, and individuals before governmental agencies in Delaware County and across the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

In a fifteen-page opinion, the Commonwealth Court agreed with Mr. Henigan’s argument that the church did not meet the constitutional and statutory requirements needed to be considered an institution of purely public charity that would be entitled to an exemption from local taxes under the Pennsylvania Constitution and the Institutions of Purely Public Charity Act.  The Court reinforced the requirements for an institution seeking an exemption from local taxes, and held that the trial court erred in holding that the church had presented sufficient evidence warranting a tax exemption.

You can read the full text of the Commonwealth Court’s Opinion by clicking here: Church of the Overcomer v. Delaware County Board of Assessment

If you have questions about Pennsylvania tax exemptions and local government law, contact any of the members of our Municipal law practice group today.