All Charities are Property-Tax Exempt, But Some are More Exempt than Others

112 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2010 Last revised: 14 Aug 2012

Date Written: August 26, 2010


Attention from the media notwithstanding, the nonprofit sector continues to achieve remarkable success in state supreme courts and statehouses in defending property-tax exemptions. But budget pressures remain. While the intermediate use of “payments in lieu of taxes” has not yet become a systematic compromise solution, PILOTs are attracting growing interest from local taxing jurisdictions. This Article highlights three issues – who decides the parameters of exemption, legislatures or courts; what are the specific factors and vulnerable subsectors; and how exemption is granted or withheld in practice – and concludes with several PILOT case studies. The Appendix sets forth a fifty-one-jurisdiction review of state constitutions, statutes, and high-court decisions, and finds that the regimes generally are more similar than not.

Keywords: tax, nonprofit law, property tax, tax exemption

JEL Classification: K34

Suggested Citation

Brody, Evelyn, All Charities are Property-Tax Exempt, But Some are More Exempt than Others (August 26, 2010). New England Law Review, Vol. 44, p. 621, 2010, Available at SSRN: or

Evelyn Brody (Contact Author)

Chicago-Kent College of Law ( email )

565 West Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661
United States
312-906-5276 (Phone)
312-906-5280 (Fax)

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