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Taxation - Part 4

Church Property

Does a building owned by the Order of Franciscan Friars and used as a missionary headquarters qualify for a property tax exemption under Pennsylvania law? Yes, concluded a Pennsylvania state court. Noting that Pennsylvania law exempts from tax all properties used for purely charitable purposes, the court concluded that a building used as a missionary headquarters is charitable in nature. It defined "charity" to include an organization "designed to benefit an indefinite number of people from a religious standpoint" even though the organization performs no "non-religious charitable work." This conclusion was not affected by the fact that eight priests used the property as a residence, since "the provision of living quarters is not inconsistent with a purely public charity." Order of Franciscan Fathers v. Board of Property Assessment, 534 A.2d 568 (Pa. Common. 1987).

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Posted:
  • March 1, 1988

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