When a tax-exempt, New Jersey congregation that had worshipped together without a formal church building for many years recently was able to purchase a property from another religious group, there was much to rejoice. They had operated after-school programs and other services for their members, but the only thing they didn’t have was a building to call home.
When a property, which was already benefiting from a religious property tax exemption became available, the congregation made the purchase. Their joy dampened a bit when they were soon served with a four-month added assessment tax bill nearing $11,000 for the final four months of 2021. That’s when they called the property tax appeal attorneys at Skoloff & Wolfe, who were happy to take this case on pro-bono.
Upon taking over the church, the congregation did not file for property tax exemption status for 2021 with the town assessor, who, not knowing at the time they should be exempt, issued a four-month added assessment.
Skoloff & Wolfe property tax attorney Daniel Yates explained that it was impossible for the congregation to apply for the exemption because at the time they didn’t own the property. “There’s a statute that says if an exempt organization acquires a property that is already exempt from taxation, there should be no lapse in the exempt status of the property. Based on the statute, we were able to convince the Assessor to correctly restore the full exemption and cancel the added assessment for 2021.”
Skoloff & Wolfe appealed the assessment to the local tax assessor who, in agreement, filed an appeal with the county board which was approved, saving the congregation important funds they could use to make repairs and update their building. “We were glad to help. Even better, they were so excited when we told them we were doing it pro bono,” said Yates.
“We’re pleased to take on pro bono cases that make a difference and have a positive impact in the community,” said David Wolfe, co-managing partner of Skoloff & Wolfe. “The work these nonprofit organizations do is integral to the well-being of the people they serve. If there’s an opportunity for us to help reduce property taxes, we are always happy to help.”
If your nonprofit is burdened by an unfair property tax assessment, consider Skoloff & Wolfe.
Skoloff & Wolfe is widely known for our successes arguing property tax exemption matters and property tax law on behalf of virtually every type of commercial, industrial, and multifamily property. In addition to counseling clients such as developers, financial institutions, REITs, hotels, and others, we also work on behalf of nonprofits including universities, hospitals, and religious institutions, to name a few. To speak with a property tax attorney, call 862.212.3250.
A wonderful update to this story! Several months after this article was written, we received this beautiful note from the Church Building Committee and were surprised at our office with a plaque to thank us for our assistance. Our team was thrilled to receive it and always happy to help a community in need.
“Just wanted to share with you the great news that the church has received the refund of property tax from Marlboro township. Without your generous and professional support this couldn’t have been resolved so smoothly, THANK YOU SO MUCH!” – Lillian Z. Church Building Committee, Church in Marlboro