Commonwealth Court Deems Property Tax Rebate Rule Invalid under State and Federal Constitutions
April 25 2014
On March 14, 2014, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania invalidated a requirement in the Senior Citizens Property Tax and Rent Rebate Assistance Act that had prohibited the estate of a deceased senior citizen from applying for a tax rebate where the decedent did not live into the succeeding calendar year. In C. Muscarella, Executor of the Estate of J. Carbo, __ A.3d __ (Pa.Cmwlth.2014), the Commonwealth Court held that the requirement violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the state and federal Constitutions.
In Muscarella, the taxpayer had died before the end of the calendar year for which she had already paid property taxes. Her estate’s executor filed a tax rebate claim with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, which was denied because the taxpayer did not live into the year succeeding that for which the rebate was claimed. 61 Pa. Code § 401.1(iv). The taxpayer appealed.
The Commonwealth Court held that the requirement that the taxpayer survive into the succeeding year in order for her estate to be entitled to a rebate violates both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Constitution. The Court stated that the state provided no legitimate reason to allow the rebate where the decedent survives into the succeeding year and to deny it where she doesn’t.
Please contact the attorneys at Orphanides & Toner, LLP, with matters related to property tax rebates and claims.