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Competitors charge Newark archdiocese with unfair practices in sale of cemetery headstones

Catholic World News - April 01, 2014

The Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling headstones and monuments in archdiocesan cemeteries, in what competitors charge is an unfair business practice.

The archdiocese avoids paying taxes on the profitable sales by arguing that the headstones are actually owned by the cemeteries, and the purchasers only pay for the cemetery plots. But competitive businesses, which are taxed on their sales, argue that the archdiocese should be subject to the same taxes.

The archdiocesan cemeteries expect about $500,000 annually in income from the sale of headstones and monuments, and have paid no taxes on those transactions. Competitors say that they will be put out of business if the state allows the practice to continue.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: garedawg - Apr. 04, 2014 7:59 PM ET USA

    Well, someone has to actually make the headstones, right? I can't imagine that the diocese has its own headstone factory, unless monks or nuns make them.

  • Posted by: unum - Apr. 02, 2014 9:07 AM ET USA

    What may be legal is not always ethical.

  • Posted by: normnuke - Apr. 01, 2014 6:21 PM ET USA

    Cemeteries and associated businesses have long been a source of profit for dioceses and a source of anger for the forces of secularism. In the Mexico of, say, 85 years ago the secularists demanded that all cemeteries be secularized and called 'panteones'. This made life much more difficult for bishops and clergy, eased a burden on the poor, and changed very little otherwise.

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