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Tax — property taxes — benevolent association exemption

Wisconsin Court of Appeals


Tax — property taxes — benevolent association exemption

The question here is whether a Jewish Community Center facility in Mequon qualifies as tax exempt under Wis. Stat. § 70.11(4) because the property is used for benevolent purposes within the meaning of the statute. The facility, Family Park, is owned by the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, Inc. The tax years in dispute are 2008 and 2009, although the parties have apparently agreed that the resolution of this dispute will additionally control tax years 2010 to 2013. Starting in 2014, the facility is tax exempt under a provision of the property tax code not in dispute here, § 70.11(12).

Property exemptions under Wis. Stat. § 70.11(4) include exemptions for “[p]roperty owned and used exclusively by … religious, educational or benevolent associations.” JCC does not contend that Family Park is exempt under the “religious” or “educational” categories in this statute. Rather, JCC argues that its use of Family Park satisfies the “benevolent associations” category. JCC advances two alternative benevolent purpose theories. First, JCC advances an aggregate analysis approach that looks at all of JCC’s properties and their uses in Wisconsin. Second, JCC contends that, even if Family Park is considered individually, all of the activities at Family Park have a benevolent purpose. We reject both arguments, and affirm the circuit court. Not recommended for publication in the official reports.

2013AP2797 Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center Inc. v. City of Mequon et al.

Dist IV, Dane County, Foust, J., Lundsten, J.

Attorneys: For Appellant: Gordon, Robert L., Milwaukee; Marcuvitz, Alan, Milwaukee; Boerke, Nicholas J., Milwaukee; For Respondent: DeStefanis, John L., Mequon

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