In a decision anxiously anticipated by religious organizations across the commonwealth, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently recognized in a unanimous decision that for the purposes of property taxes, a house of worship is more than a chapel used for religious services and classrooms used for religious instruction. The court’s ruling should give religious organizations peace of mind that the use of their facilities for bake sales, carnivals and other fundraising activities or for wedding receptions and community activities will not subject their property to real estate taxation.
The ruling provides clear guidance for the religious property tax exemption in Massachusetts. The case, Shrine of Our Lady of LaSalette Inc. v. Board of Assessors of Attleboro, was on appeal from a decision of the Appellate Tax Board, originally decided in favor of the Attleboro assessors.
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