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Vacant Land Used Occasionally For Religious Purposes May Be Exempt

Court rules land was not used for any nonexempt purposes.

Key point: Vacant land may be exempt from property taxation if it is used at least occasionally for religious purposes, and is put to no other use.

• In a significant ruling, a Florida court ruled that vacant land owned by a religious agency and used occasionally for religious purposes was exempt from property taxation. The Florida Conference Association of Seventh Day Adventists (the "church") purchased 2.5 acres of vacant land in 1989. After purchasing the land, the church used it occasionally for religious purposes. This use included prayer services on the property by small groups of church leaders and frequent visits to the property for site development planning and fundraising. A tax assessor ruled that the "inaccessible, weed-covered lot" was not exempt, and that the religious activities that occurred on the property were incidental. State law exempts from tax any property ...

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Posted:
  • November 1, 1995

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