Helping Two-Legs Good, Helping Four-Legs Bad
January 7, 2008
Yesterday, the Oregon Tax Court handed down a decision about this Oregon law:
[The following] property owned…by…charitable…institutions shall be exempt from taxation:[…]
All real and personal property…dealing exclusively…to support a welfare program. As used in this subsection, ‘welfare program’ means the providing of food, shelter, clothing or health care, including dental service to needy persons without charge.”
Needy persons. The Florence Area Humane Society applied for an exemption, and was denied because they care for needy animals. The Tax Court upheld the denial:
Here, the language of the statute is clear and unambiguous. It defines the target group (of thrift store sales) as certain needy persons. It does not include other entities, organizations, inanimate objects, things, or animals. By restricting that group to exclude animals specifically in the statute, the court cannot ignore the plain meaning of those words. Needy persons do not include animals.
When politicians start exempting certain groups from general taxes, they pick winners that pay no taxes and losers that pay higher taxes. Here, the line was arbitrarily drawn between charities that help needy people (winner) and charities that help needy animals (loser). Look for this law to be changed quickly, which means that taxes will inch a bit higher for everyone else.
Was this page helpful to you?
The Tax Foundation works hard to provide insightful tax policy analysis. Our work depends on support from members of the public like you. Would you consider contributing to our work?Contribute to the Tax Foundation
Let us know how we can better serve you!
We work hard to make our analysis as useful as possible. Would you consider telling us more about how we can do better?Give Us Feedback