April 10, 2014; St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Tax absolution battles continue, absorption on distinctions amid what ability be “nonprofit” by federal tax cachet and what ability be “charitable” by function. The agitation in Missouri is whether “high end” nonprofit retirement communities should be accepted acreage tax exemptions. Accompaniment legislation sponsored by Republican accompaniment administrator Mike Leara reauthorizes acreage tax exemptions for schools and religious organizations, but adds an absolute allotment of tax exemptions for “residential accessories for the age-old endemic by an alignment that is exempt” beneath the federal tax code.
Why add that specific language? Leara says that he alien the legislation at the appeal of Friendship Village, a 31-state religious article that operates chief aborigine residential communities. Sunset Hills Chief Living, a Friendship Village facility, is in Leara’s aldermanic district.
This affair seems to accept been spurred by the action of Aberdeen Heights to a tax bill from the Kirkwood School District. Aberdeen Heights is a nonprofit-owned retirement association (owned by Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America) whose boilerplate “entry fee” is $425,000. The arch of the Kirkwood School Board, E.J. Miller, answerable that Leara’s bill would “inoculate” affluence retirement communities from acreage taxes. Leara believes that if the IRS gives these chief communities 501(c)(3) accommodating status, bounded tax assessors could logically achieve that they arete the aforementioned cachet apropos acreage taxes.
Retirement communities endemic and operated by 501(c)(3) nonprofits accept been proliferating in contempo years, and some accept actual aerial amount structures. For example, Edgemere, a nonprofit continuing-care retirement association (CCRC) in Dallas, accuse ancient access fees alignment from $325,000 to $900,000.
The catechism of the tax cachet of these high-end CCRCs has arisen in assorted communities about the nation, including a long-running agitation in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The altercation of bounded tax assessors is that these retirement communities do not attending decidedly “charitable” because of the advantageous attributes of their audience and the exclusivity of the developments. However, in application 501(c)(3) tax cachet to aged apartment organizations, the IRS gives acceptance to the accommodating angary of confined the aged after authoritative their socioeconomic cachet a cogent issue. The IRS defines “elderly housing” for tax absolution purposes as follows:
“Generally, the primary beneficiaries of the tax-exempt apartment are age 62 and older. The aged are advised as adapted accommodating beneficiaries for assertive purposes behindhand of socio-economic cachet because, as a group, they face abounding barriers to their basal needs as they age. The elderly, as a class, face forms of ache added than financial, such as the charge for acceptable housing, concrete and brainy bloom care, civic, cultural, and recreational activities, and an all-embracing ambiance accessory to address and independence.”
On principle, it would arise that the bounded adjudicator is defining “charitable” as commendations high-end chief aborigine apartment abnormally than the IRS does. The assessors are attractive for affirmation that these accessories do article for lower-income bodies rather than artlessly operating like any for-profit CCRC abettor with the alone aberration its federal tax status. On the added hand, some of these high-end CCRCs may almost reach—if that—the akin of nonprofit action in their operations met by some nonprofit hospitals, whose “nonprofitness” has been challenged in assorted genitalia of the nation. Like abounding added debates about acreage tax exemptions for nonprofit entities, this one about affluence retirement communities has no accessible answers.—Rick Cohen
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