September 06, 2013 The Tax Lawyer

Drive Your Own PILOT: Federal and State Constitutional Challenges to the Imposition of Payments in Lieu of Taxes on Tax-Exempt Entities

Vol. 66, No. 4 - Summer 2013

Maria Di Miceli

Abstract

    With the recession raging on, state and local governments continue to look for innovative ways to save money and slash state and local government programs. Despite providing a public good to states and municipalities, the nonprofit, tax-exempt sector is no exception to state and local government's purview. One of the methods used by governments is to levy ad hoc, coerced payments in lieu of taxes ("PILOTs") on tax-exempt organizations. Major cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, and Madison have taken a myriad of approaches and, thus far, nonprofits have generally been on the weak side of the bargaining table. But what state, local, and federal constitutional challenges might a nonprofit make against the imposition of a PILOT? And what is a PILOT anyway: a tax, fee, contract, penalty, or some combination? ThisArticle will explore those and other areas in an attempt to help entities effectively drive their own PILOT.

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