The Property Tax Exemption for Nonprofits
39 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2008
Date Written: July 2008
This paper reviews the existing literature on the property tax exemption for nonprofit organizations and identifies gaps to be addressed in future research. We start by examining justifications and existing eligibility criteria for the property tax exemption, followed by studies of the magnitude of the revenue loss from the exemption. We focus on theoretical and empirical studies of the economic effects of the exemption. We consider the effect of the tax advantage on nonprofit decisions about inputs, outputs and organizational form, decisions to rent or own, location decision, market share, and the effect of the exemption on neighboring property values. Finally, we evaluate research about the use of PILOTs and the implications of their possible expansion. We conclude that future studies need to examine further the magnitude of the revenues forgone, the advantages and disadvantages of PILOTs, and other solutions for distributing more evenly the burden of the exemption. Further studies are also needed to understand the economic effects of the property tax exemption, with opportunities for theoretical and empirical contributions.
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