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Oregon Tax Court Says Rectory Not Tax-Exempt

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“In St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Astoria v. Clatsop County Assessor, (OR Tax Ct., May 6, 2015), an Oregon Tax Court magistrate held that a residential structure located 1.5 miles from the church used as a church rectory did not qualify for a property tax exemption “because the evidence shows the rectory is not reasonably necessary to carry out the religious aims of the church…”  The court said in part:

Although [the parish priest] does write sermons and homilies at the rectory, those duties do not require close physical proximity to the church…. The other uses of the rectory have no direct connection to the church; they certainly do not require a rectory in close proximity to the church. There was generalized testimony about the availability of guest bedrooms for visiting priests, deacons, and seminarians, but no specific testimony or other evidence that such officials have stayed at the subject property and, if so, how many and how often they were there….

Forbes reports on the decision.”

You can learn more about this issue here.

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One thought on “Oregon Tax Court Says Rectory Not Tax-Exempt

  1. We had a similar case several years ago with one of our Charleston, SC, church’s rectory (pasonage/manse). The Charleston County Tax Commission said that the rectory was subject to county property taxes since it was rented out and the rector and his family lived elsewhere in his own house. I was Interim Rector of the church at that time. Did a little research and found that the SC State Supreme Court had ruled on this matter in the early 1900’s in the church’s favor. Every church in the state of SC is entitled to own one house for the minister to live in. If the minister doe not wish to live in the church owned house, the church may rent out the house and the house stays tax exempt, as long as the rental income is used by the church to help the minister provide a home elsewhere, usually in the form of a tax excludible housing allowance. Took the Court decision and information to the local Charleston Co. Tax Comm., but they wouldn’t budge. So our Senior Warden and I made a trip to Columbia, SC, to plead our case to the SC State Tax Commissiion. Within ten minutes of hearing our case, they issued me a letter to take back to the local Chas. Co. Commission, directing them to remove the church’s rectory from the county tax rolls. One of the local commissioners, after he saw the letter from the state, said to me, “Rev. Moock, you’re a real bulldog; you didn’t let go of this!” I replied, “Not when I know I’m right.”


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