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Church Property


• Does property used exclusively for religious worship automatically remain exempt from property taxation when it is sold from one church to another? No, concluded a Colorado state appeals court. In 1984, a Coptic Orthodox church ("St. Mark") purchased property from a Nazarene church that was exempt from property taxation as of the date of sale. The Nazarene church notified local authorities of the sale, and the property was removed from the listing of exempt properties. When St. Mark received a tax bill for 1984, it immediately applied for an exemption. Local authorities denied the exemption on the basis of a Colorado law that specifies "in no event shall [an] exemption apply to any year prior to the year in which application is made." Since St. Mark did not apply for an exemption during 1984, it was denied an exemption for that year. On appeal, the state appeals court upheld the denial ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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  • March 1, 1989

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