Taxation – Part 1

Church Property

Church Law and Tax 1989-01-01 Recent Developments

Taxation – Church Property

An Indiana court ruled that an apartment building owned by a religious broadcasting organization was exempt from state property taxes if it was reasonably necessary for the exercise of the organization’s religious purposes. The apartments were used to house ordained ministers connected with the broadcasting ministry, engineers assisting with the broadcasts, carpenters and electricians engaged in building sets at the television studios, and persons who assisted in fund-raising telethons. The court concluded that such a facility was exempt from property taxation under a state law exempting “all or part of a building … owned, occupied and used by a person for … religious purposes.” The court concluded that “the evidence indicates that the apartments are used exclusively by persons working to fulfill [the organization’s] corporate purposes of religious broadcasting, the employees perform various important functions, and the hours of [the organization’s] telethons require that employees and speakers be readily available.” LeSea Broadcasting Corp. v. Board of Tax Commissioners, 525 N.E.2d 637 (Ind. T.C. 1988).

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