Elder-Care Facilities Seek Tax Exemption

By Gazarik, Richard | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 4, 2009 | Go to article overview

Elder-Care Facilities Seek Tax Exemption


Gazarik, Richard, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Tough economic times might get tougher for some municipalities and school districts if officials from local elder-care facilities win their battles to stop paying real estate taxes.

A 2007 state Supreme Court ruling that nonprofit organizations passing a five-point test can be exempt from real estate taxes has triggered tax appeals by senior-care facilities throughout the region.

Officials from those facilities say they meet the court's primary requirement that they operate as true charities because no residents will ever be asked to leave because they run out of money.

Though all eyes are fixed on the cases brought by the elder-care facilities, some officials fear the appeals may trigger a landslide of challenges from other nonprofit organizations. That could include organizations that care for the mentally retarded, mentally ill or handicapped and other types of medical facilities that provide care for the poor and uninsured.

"This is all virgin territory. We're all going to learn about it," said Hempfield Area School District Solicitor Dennis Slyman.

There are 32 retirement communities in Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Indiana, and Westmoreland counties, according to the state Insurance Department, which licenses the facilities. Allegheny has the most -- 19 -- followed by Westmoreland with four. There are no centers in Fayette County, according to the state.

To date, only a few of those senior facilities have appealed their tax statuses.

Area school districts would take the biggest hits because they receive the bulk of property tax revenues.

For instance, the Franklin Regional School District, which includes students from Murrysville, could lose $183,000 from its $44.5 million budget if Redstone Presbyterian SeniorCare wins its appeal to the Westmoreland County Tax Assessment Board. Redstone operates three facilities in Hempfield, North Huntingdon and Murrysville.

The Norwin School District, which takes in North Huntingdon, would lose $161,000 from its $54.9 million spending plan.

The Hempfield Area School District stands to lose $117,000 from its $79 million annual budget if Redstone prevails.

Some want refunds

The Bethlen Home in Ligonier, which is operated by the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America, has filed a complaint against Westmoreland County seeking the return of more than $34,000 in taxes it paid in 2006 and 2007. It also wants the Ligonier Valley School District to refund more than $146,000 in school taxes. Bethlen operates a 96-bed skilled-nursing center and a 10-bed unit that cares for patients suffering from dementia.

In Allegheny County, the Mt. Lebanon and Chartiers Valley school districts are appealing decisions by the Allegheny County Board of Assessment Appeals that exempted Asbury Health Center in Mt. Lebanon and the Baptist Home Society in Scott Township from paying property taxes.

The exemption would cost the Mt. Lebanon district about $11,000 of its $73.3 million budget and the Chartiers Valley District more than $16,000 from its $47.8 million plan.

The monetary stakes are relatively small for the school districts at this point, but officials are concerned about those possible challenges.

"Anytime there's an exception case, as soon as there's a landmark decision, copy cats will file an appeal under that exemption," said Randy Waggoner, an assessor in Perry County and president of the Assessors Association of Pennsylvania. "It could have a wider impact, but each case has to be taken on its own merits."

The Redstone appeal, which states the facilities are "purely public charities" was denied by the assessment board and will go before a Westmoreland County judge in the spring.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Elder-Care Facilities Seek Tax Exemption
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.