Tax Court denies rehearing in charitable purposes exemption case

September 10, 2014

Tax Judge Martha Wentworth affirmed  that a housing company in Bartholomew County failed to show that its rental properties qualified for a charitable purposes exemption for the 2006 tax year. The judge denied granting Housing Partnerships Inc.’s request for a rehearing.

Housing Partnerships argued that the court not only failed to recognize the substantial evidence that demonstrated its activities relieve the government of a burden it would otherwise bear, it also misconstrued the holding in Jamestown Homes of Mishawaka Inc. v. St. Joseph County Assessor, 909 N.E.2d 1138 (Ind. Tax Ct. 2009).

“In its opinion, the Court recognized that Housing Partnerships provided substantial evidence to the Indiana Board demonstrating that it owned, occupied, and used its property to provide affordable housing and financial counseling to low-income residents of Bartholomew County. Nonetheless, the provision of low-income housing is not per se a charitable purpose, i.e., good and noble deeds alone do not satisfy the requirements for a charitable purposes exemption,” Wentworth wrote in Housing Partnerships, Inc. v. Tom Owens, Bartholomew County Assessor, 49T10-1005-TA-23.

“While Housing Partnerships laid out its good works, it made only conclusory statements about how those good works lessened government’s financial burdens. Moreover, Housing Partnerships failed to distinguish the government grants it received from those that defeated the exemption in Jamestown Homes. Housing Partnerships’ failure to tie its good deeds to a public benefit is like holding out several pearls to admire as a necklace without actually stringing the pearls together. No matter how much the Court admires the good deeds done, it cannot make up for this failure and be the advocate.”



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