Boston archdiocese hit with tax bills for parishes that closed
May 31, 2010
The Boston archdiocese is facing heavy tax payments for property in parishes that have been formally closed-- including two parishes in which residents have occupied the buildings in an effort to stop the parish closings.
Church properties are ordinarily exempt from taxation. But local officials-- many facing their own budget pressures-- have argued that properties lose that exemption if they are not used for religious purposes. There are no religious activities sanctions by the archdiocese at the properties in question.
The archdiocese has argued that its property-- including property that is idle-- supports the overall mission of the Church. To date courts have been reluctant to accept that reasoning. In several cases the archdiocese has chosen to pay a tax bill rather than pursue a costly legal battle.