Taxing Non-Profits

I already posted this on my Vermont Non-Profit and writing blog:, but since it affects my place of employment (SVAC), I thought it was worth recylcing here.

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel for the Southern Vermont Arts Center and Hildene in their dispute with the state over the tax exempt status of large portions of their properties. I don’t know why the state would want to add additional burdens to two non-profits who do a lot of good work. The action of the state seems very self-defeating. Isn’t it good to have land held under the protection of non-profits who allow the public to use the land. I wonder if some land developers were behind this scheme in the first place.

In any case, there appears to be some movement toward a compromise according to the Rutland Herald:

“State tax officials have compromised on a plan to change the tax-exempt status of Hildene, one of this town’s biggest tourist attractions.

Instead of considering all but 50 acres of the 400-plus acre estate, plus the former home of Robert Todd Lincoln, President Abraham Lincoln’s son, to be taxable, only about 25 acres of meadowland are still being challenged, said Seth Bongartz, Hildene’s executive director.

“That’s still significant to us,” Bongartz said. “We made the point that it is 412 acres, period β€” this is an estate we’ve struggled to hold together against all odds for 28 years.”

The concession followed a two-hour meeting Thursday between Bongartz, town officials, representatives of the Southern Vermont Arts Center β€” another property appealing an earlier decision on its tax status β€” as well as officials from the state Tax Department’s Division of Property Valuation and Review.

Hildene, SVAC and several other high-profile and previously tax-exempt properties in Manchester came under state scrutiny in recent years because of concerns that not all of the property they owned was central to the educational purposes justifying the tax exemption.”

Read the rest of the article.