We are non profit organization. We bought a land to build a church on in 3-4 years. What do we do to not pay property tax?

Asked over 1 year ago - San Francisco, CA

The city told us that as far as there is no actual building on the property we have to pay property tax.
We already started building the new church but we don't have money to finish it.
we finished the parking lot already and all the under ground piping. the only thing we need to do is put up the actual building. the city is telling us that we have to pay property tax on it because there is no building on the property. But the land belongs to a non profit organization.
(the church). What can we do?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Michael Ross Lykken

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . As long as you have proof that you are a church (such as a charter or the articles of incorporation), the fact that you have not built the church itself will not prohibit you from being exempt from taxation. I would provide that document to the County assessor. That should be enough to keep you from being taxed on the property.

    All information provided is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. For... more
  2. Curtis Lamar Harrington Jr

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Hire a nonprofit tax specialist in your area.

    Why not contact the head of the NONPROFIT committee of the Tax Section of the State Bar. A link below will take you to the page where the nonprofit standing committee is located.

    Contact the chair and ask for help from someone near to you. (simply plowing through the list of tax specialists would take too much time; the chair of this committee knows someone in your area.)

    Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal... more
  3. Wilfrid Cunningham Lemann


    Contributor Level 2


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . The Congregation may be able to obtain a Religious Exemption by using the site for religious services. That could be problematic because of Conditional Use Permits and other zoning and regulatory issues. The County Assessor will have a Religious and Welfare Exemption department. Go visit with them and craft an application that will be approved by the Board of Equalization.

  4. Jonathan B. Lefkowitz

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If it is under construction and going to be used for a church you should be eligible for an exemption. However, if you have told them it is no longer under construction they may have removed you from being eligible for the exemption. You should consult someone for further assistance and guidance.

  5. Robert Jan Suhajda

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . Apply for an exemption. The state has a two-tiered system, in which nonprofits first apply to the Board of Equalization, which collects state-mandated fees, sales and sin taxes and certifies exemption eligibility. But assessors in each of the state’s 58 counties make the final decision on exemptions, after determining whether that property is used in a way that is of “primary benefit” to California.

    Disclaimer of California Attorney. Laws differ from state to state. Although the above response is believed to be... more

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