For Immediate Release
CITY OF PITTSBURGH REVIEWING ALL TAX-EXEMPT PROPERTY OWNED BY CHARITIES
PITTSBURGH – Today Mayor Ed Gainey issued an executive order directing the Finance and Law Departments to review the status of all tax-exempt property in the City of Pittsburgh owned by charities to ensure that the special tax-exempt status is appropriate under Pennsylvania law, and, if not, to act accordingly.
“In the City of Pittsburgh, 34% of the property is designated as tax-exempt, that is, the owners are not paying any property taxes.” said Mayor Ed Gainey. “The only properties that should not be subject to property taxes are those owned by purely public charities – places where people who are down on their luck get the services they need, mostly for free. For example, the new Second Avenue Commons homeless shelter is a huge help to our community, and it is clearly a purely public charity.”
As part of the review, the Finance and Law Departments will systematically examine all of the tax-exempt properties owned by charities in the City. For those properties that are not owned by institutions of purely public charity, the City will take appropriate legal action to address the tax-exempt status. The Finance and Law Departments will be using the judicially approved standards under Pennsylvania law to guide their review.
“This review will not include any churches or religious institutions,” continued Mayor Gainey. “This work will also not impact the charity’s tax-exempt status under federal law. They may still qualify as a charity for federal income taxes, but have to meet Pennsylvania’s standards to avoid paying property taxes here in the City. Additionally, if your favorite charity has to pay property taxes, it doesn’t change the fact that your donations to it will still give you a tax deduction on your taxes.”
The review will be systematic and designed to ensure on-going compliance with the legal standards for property tax exemptions. Mayor Gainey has directed that the review be handled carefully, but has also directed that the City act as soon as it locates a property that it believes should not be tax-exempt. To that end, the City is asking for help from the residents in identifying non-compliant charities. If any resident has information that a nonprofit may not be acting as an institution of purely public charity, and it owns property in the City of Pittsburgh, please notify the Finance and Law Department at email@example.com.
“We are asking our residents to help us in this endeavor,” continued Mayor Ed Gainey. “You are in the neighborhoods and you know what is really going on in your communities. If you think that a charity is getting out from paying taxes when they don’t deserve it, please let us know.”
A signed copy of the Executive Order can be found at http://apps.pittsburghpa.gov/redtail/images/20259_Signed_Executive_Order_Regarding_Property_Taxes.pdf