Real property, Tax law, Tax exemptions, Non profit organizations


This article examines the problem of the erosion of the New York municipality tax bases due to a proliferation of New York property tax exemptions for nonprofit organizations. It posits that one of the most difficult and sensitive subjects of real property tax administration is the exemption available to property owned by nonprofit organizations, that do work solely for religious, charitable, hospital, educational, moral or mental improvement of men, women or children. It analyzes the effects of these tax exemptions utilizing a four tiered approach. First, it explains the history of an increasingly intense competition between the needs of the municipal government and the expanding nonprofit organizations. Second, it bolsters this historical trend by illustrating the continuing probing by exempt organizations at the outer limits of the scope of the nonprofit exemption. Third, it addresses the that municipalities have maintained an aggressive attitude in seeking to restrict exempt holdings by means of strict construction of the statute. Lastly, it examines the way the state legislature has been silent on the issue, and how the courts have shouldered the responsibility for resolving these conflicts. The authors trace the development of the law in New York State, and in so doing, attempt to address the ways difficulties can be specifically isolated, described, understood, and begun to be resolved.

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