Section 1. Uniformity of Taxation
All taxes shall be uniform, upon the same class of subjects, within the territorial limits of the
authority levying the tax, and shall be levied and collected under general laws.
Section 2. Exemptions and Special Provisions
(a) The General Assembly may by law exempt from taxation:
(i) Actual places of regularly states religious worship:
(ii) Actual places of burial, when used or held by
a person or organization deriving no private or corporate profit therefrom and no substantial part of whose activity consists
of selling personal property in connection therewith;
(iii) That portion of public property which is actually and regularly
used for public purposes;
(iv) That portion of the property owned and occupied by any branch, post or camp of honorably
discharged servicemen or servicewomen which is actually and regularly used for benevolent, charitable or patriotic purposes;
(v) Institutions of purely public charity, but in the case of any real property tax exemptions only that portion of
real property of such institution which is actually and regularly used for the purposes of the institution.
(b) The General Assembly may, by law:
(i) Establish standards and qualifications for private forest reserves, agriculture reserves, and land actively
devoted to agriculture use, and make special provision for the taxation thereof;
(ii) Establish as a class or classes
of subjects of taxation the property or privileges of persons who, because of age, disability, infirmity or poverty are determined
to be in need of tax exemption or of special tax provisions, and for any such class or classes and standards and qualifications,and
except as herein provided may impose taxes, grant exemptions, or make special tax provisions in accordance therewith. No exemption
or special provision shall be made under this clause with respect to taxes upon the sale or use of personal property, and
no exemption from any tax upon real property shall be granted by the General Assembly under this clause unless the General
Assembly shall provide for the reimbursement of local taxing authorities by or through the Commonwealth for revenue losses
occasioned by such exemption;
(iii) Establish standards and qualifications by which local taxing authorities may
make uniform special tax provisions applicable to a taxpayer for a limited period of time to encourage improvement
of deteriorating property or areas by an individual, association or corporation, or to encourage industrial development by
a non- profit corporation; and
(iv) Make special tax provisions on any increase in value of real estate resulting from
residential construction. Such special tax provisions shall be applicable for a period not to exceed two years.
standards and qualifications by which local taxing authorities in counties of the first and second class make uniform special
real property tax provisions applicable to taxpayers who are long-time owner-occupants as shall be defined by the General
Assembly of residences in areas where real property values have risen markedly as a consequence of the refurbishing or renovating
of other deteriorating residences or the construction of new residences.
(vi) Authorize local taxing authorities to exclude
from taxation an amount based on the assessed value of homestead property. The exclusions authorized by this clause shall
not exceed one-half of the median assessed value of all homestead property within a local taxing jurisdiction. A local taxing
authority may not increase the millage rate of its tax on real property to pay for these exclusions.
(c) Citizens and residents of this Commonwealth, who served in any war or armed conflict in which the United States was
engaged and were honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active service, shall be exempt from
the payment of all real property taxes upon the residence occupied by the said citizens and residents of this Commonwealth
imposed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or any of its political subdivisions if, as a result of military service, they
are blind, paraplegic or double or quadruple amputees or have a service-connected disability declared by the United States
Veterans Administration or its successor to be a total or 100% permanent disability, and if the State Veterans' Commission
determines that such persons are in need of the tax exemptions granted herein. This exemption shall be extended to the unmarried
surviving spouse upon the death of an eligible veteran provided that the State Veterans' Commission determines that such person
is in need of the exemption.
Case law cited concerning LERTA and Property Development:
Pa. Const. Art. VIII,
§ 2(b)(iii) (emphasis added).
McKnight Shopping Center Inc., v. Board of Property Assessment, 209 A.2d 389 (Pa. 1965) our Supreme Court explained
the application of the uniformity provisions of the Constitution to real estate taxes:
Our Constitution, Art. 9, § 1, P.S., requires all taxes to be uniform on the same class of subjects within the territorial
limits of the authority levying the tax. In applying this provision of our Constitution to the taxation of real estate, it
is clear that all real estate is the class entitled to uniform treatment and
that the ratio of assessed value to market value must be applied equally and uniformly to all real estate within the jurisdiction
of such authority.
at 392 (emphasis in original).
properties located within the same local taxing authority territorial limits must receive uniform treatment. In other
words, the location of a property can never be the determinative factor as
to whether to apply a tax or a tax exemption.
principles governing the validity of tax classifications are well established in Pennsylvania. In Leonard v. Thornburgh,
489 A.2d 1349 (Pa. 1985) for example, the Supreme Court stated:
In cases where the validity of a classification for tax purposes is challenged, the test is whether the classification
is based upon some legitimate distinction between the classes that provides non-arbitrary and "reasonable and just" basis
for the difference in treatment. Stated alternatively, the focus of judicial review is upon whether there can be discerned
"some concrete justification" for treating the relevant group of tax payers as member of distinguishable classes subject to
different tax burdens. When there exists no legitimate distinctions between the classes, and, thus, the tax scheme poses
substantially unequal tax burdens upon persons otherwise similarly situated, the tax is unconstitutional.
The foregoing is from the following site...
By: Richard B. Sandow