Not even Boston churches are immune from tax collection cases. It has been reported that the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is attempting to recoup past property taxes it already paid on a former church. That church, located in the town of Scituate, was closed in 2004. The tax refund claims in dispute were paid between 2008 and 2011.
A hearing was held at the state Appellate Tax Board in Boston in September. During the hearing, the archdiocese asserted it should not have to pay taxes on the property because the church and land are being used for religious as well as charitable purposes. The property is currently being used by a group called Friends of St. Frances. In the past the archdiocese had asserted the property should be exempt from any property taxes because the church was not being used for non-religious purposes.
At issue is some $150,000 the archdiocese is seeking to collect in back taxes paid over the last three years. A spokesperson for the archdiocese had no comment, as the tax collection case is still pending with the Appellate Tax Board. The chief counsel for the Appellate Tax Board stated that each side has until Nov. 7 in which to file any briefs. Once the board makes its decision, each side may appeal to federal or state courts.
The laws surrounding tax collection cases are numerous and often confusing. For those involved in any form of tax controversy, the skills and knowledge of an experienced tax attorney are warranted. Many of the issues one faces in tax court litigation or other tax controversies are simply too complex to be handled by other than an accomplished attorney devoted to fight for the legal rights of the client.
Source: Metro West Daily News, “Boston archdiocese calls on critics in tax dispute with Scituate,” Patrick Ronan, Sep 22, 2011