Railroad company files tax exemption appeal
A railroad company filed an appeal in the Schuylkill County Court seeking exemption on two properties it owns in the Tamaqua area.
The appeal was filed by Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad Company, main office in Hamburg, which owns a parcel of land located within the Tamaqua Area School District. The property contains railroad beds and rails and is used by the railroad as a right-of-way for a rail line, which the railroad company claims is exempt from taxation under the Public Utility Realty Tax law.
The properties consists of 10.60 acres and 0.8 of an acre. On the large tract there are no structures but on the small parcel one structure exists since 1980 and its assessed valuation is listed at $3,180. The company claims it never received a tax bill in 2009 for either property and both are enrolled in the Keystone Opportunity Zone Program.
It states in the complaint that in 2002, a stipulation was entered to an assessment appeal where the property was removed from PURTA by Judge Cyrus Palmer Dolbin and not considered utility realty as long as the property was enrolled in the Keystone Opportunity Zone Program.
On May 3, 2010 the company was notified that it had not paid its 2009 taxes. The Schuylkill County Tax Assessment Office has the property's market value at $26,250 on the larger tract. This property is classified as containing land only and has no structures and is used for railroad purposes.
The company claims it is aggrieved by the assessment placed upon its properties and is asking the court to rule that the tax assessment office is without jurisdiction to assess taxes on the property because the properties are exempt form taxation under the Public Utility Realty Tax Act.