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Healthcare, Property Tax Exemptions and Implications from Recent Court Cases
Unformatted Document Text:  5 are a significant segment of the overall sector. 10 In 1998 health services organizations accounted for 57% of the reported revenue and 44% of the reported assets in the nonprofit sector. 11 Fueling the exemption debate is the observation that today’s nonprofit hospitals operate much like their for-profit counterparts. 12 One scholar who decries the threat to exemption of nonprofit hospitals has commented that The major problem with the aggressive stance taken by states is that some of the legislative and judicial decisions ignore federal tax law precedent, state judicial precedent and legislative history. Enacting measures which completely redefine a ‘charitable objective,’ merely in a quest for revenue, places an inequitable burden on existing entities which have in good faith complied with previous standards, and have served the community. Also a search for income is not a compelling reason to destroy years of common law, and threaten the survival of an industry vital to many communities. 13 The Property Tax and Exemptions Property taxes are an attractive source of revenue for local governments for several reasons. They are old taxes; they are stable because property is not mobile and its value not subject to extreme variations; they are relatively easy to administer; and they are strongly linked to the benefits provided. 14 From the taxpayer’s perspective, however, the property tax is considered to be the worst tax because it is collected in large amounts 10 Weitzman, et al., The New Nonprofit Almanac and Desk Reference 104. 11 Ibid., 124-27. 12 J. Rogers Hollingsworth and Ellen Jane Hollingsworth, Controversy About American Hospitals: Funding, Ownership and Performance (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1987) 144. 13 Andrea I. Castro, "Comment: Overview of the Tax Treatment of Nonprofit Hospitals and Their for-Profit Subsidiaries: A Short-Sighted View Could Be Very Bad Medicine," Pace Law Journal (1995): 532. 14 David Brunori, Local Tax Policy: A Federalist Perspective (Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute Press, 2003) 3.

Authors: Fanning, Mary.
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5
are a significant segment of the overall sector.
accounted for 57% of the reported revenue and 44% of the reported assets in the
Fueling the exemption debate is the observation that today’s nonprofit
hospitals operate much like their for-profit counterparts.
One scholar who decries the
threat to exemption of nonprofit hospitals has commented that
The major problem with the aggressive stance taken by states is that some of the
legislative and judicial decisions ignore federal tax law precedent, state judicial
precedent and legislative history. Enacting measures which completely redefine a
‘charitable objective,’ merely in a quest for revenue, places an inequitable burden
on existing entities which have in good faith complied with previous standards, and
have served the community. Also a search for income is not a compelling reason to
destroy years of common law, and threaten the survival of an industry vital to many
communities.
The Property Tax and Exemptions
Property taxes are an attractive source of revenue for local governments for
several reasons. They are old taxes; they are stable because property is not mobile and its
value not subject to extreme variations; they are relatively easy to administer; and they
are strongly linked to the benefits provided.
the property tax is considered to be the worst tax because it is collected in large amounts
10
Weitzman, et al., The New Nonprofit Almanac and Desk Reference 104.
11
Ibid., 124-27.
12
J. Rogers Hollingsworth and Ellen Jane Hollingsworth, Controversy About American Hospitals:
Funding, Ownership and Performance (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy
Research, 1987) 144.
13
Andrea I. Castro, "Comment: Overview of the Tax Treatment of Nonprofit Hospitals and Their
for-Profit Subsidiaries: A Short-Sighted View Could Be Very Bad Medicine," Pace Law Journal (1995):
532.
14
David Brunori, Local Tax Policy: A Federalist Perspective (Washington, D.C.: The Urban
Institute Press, 2003) 3.


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