Community Connecting Place Exempt from Real Property Tax Despite Receiving Revenue for Use of Building
In Heartland Education Community, Inc. v. Testa, Case No. 2012-277 (Sept. 3, 2014), a case we recently handled, the Ohio BTA found that property serving as “a community-connecting place in downtown Orrville, where citizens can find out what is happening in the community, become more involved, and engage in lifelong learning” was exempt from real property tax under R.C. 5709.12(B). We successfully argued that although the non-profit organization owning and operating the building charges a fee for use of its meeting spaces and for educational classes, the building’s primary purpose was to benefit the community and the revenue created was merely to recoup a portion of the costs associated with making the building available. The Ohio BTA, however, found that the café in the building was not used exclusively for charitable purposes, but rather with a view to profit, even though the café did not actually earn a profit. Therefore, the property was split listed with the building being exempt from tax, with the exception of the small portion used for the café.