FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(PHILADELPHIA) Thursday January 24, 2013—Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a resolution calling for hearings on the issue of charitable exemptions from property taxes. Currently, organizations with charitable exemptions, own 10.8% of total assessed value of properties in the City of Philadelphia and that number continues to grow as non-profit organizations acquire more land. According to a study by the Philadelphia Inquirer and Plan Philly, $528 million in property taxes were not collected due to charitable exemptions. “Philadelphia has been faced with the same ‘economic déjà vu’ for decades,” said Councilwoman Reynolds Brown. “Our wage and corporate tax rates discourage businesses from coming to Philadelphia, or worse, by encouraging them to take jobs out of our city. We know that jobs are the key to lowering our 25% poverty rate. Therefore, for three years in a row, our remaining option on the table has been property taxes. The issue is not that our property owners have not stepped up to the plate. Our problem is that $528 million in property taxes are off the table because of non-profit exemptions. We cannot continue to ask property owners for increased sacrifice, when we have tax exempt, non-profit institutions with profit margins that rival major corporations.” A charitable exemption status is granted when an organization passes the “HUP Test,” based on a 1985 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision (Hospital Utilization Project vs. Commonwealth). The “HUP Test” states that an organization seeking charitable exemption must advance a charitable purpose, donate or render gratuitously a substantial portion of its serves; benefit a substantial and indefinite class of persons who are legitimate subjects of charity; relieve the government of some of its burden and operate entirely free from private profit motive. Councilwoman Reynolds Brown expects to hold hearings in spring, 2013 in Council’s Committee on Rules.
For additional information please contact the Chief of Staff, David Forde at (215) 686-3438