Pennsylvania Schools Can Tax the Land on Which Billboards Stand, Appeals Court Says
In a tax case involving two Delaware County school districts and more than 20 billboards along I-95 and Route 322, a Pennsylvania appeals court last week overturned a long-accepted property tax exemption for billboards in counties outside of Philadelphia.
The finely tuned opinion upheld tax exemption for billboards themselves and the structures that support them, but said the assessed value of the land where the signs stand should take into account the rent paid to the property owner.
“Here’s what worries me as a property owner’s lawyer: What’s next?” wondered Peter F. Kelsen, of Blank Rome LLP, which does not represent billboard companies.
Lawmakers already denied exemptions to cell phone towers, Kelsen said Thursday. “But what other things could now become taxable because there’s a rent being derived by the landlord or the property owner?”
Kelsen said he expected that billboard companies would attempt to take the case to the state Supreme Court to gain final clarity.
"Pennsylvania Schools Can Tax the Land on Which Billboards Stand, Appeals Court Says," by Harold Brubaker was published in Philly.com on January 4, 2019.