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Archdiocese files transfer tax suit
April 21st, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO – The Archdiocese of San Francisco has filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court to challenge the attempt by County Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting to impose a transfer tax on an internal reorganization of the family of Archdiocesan corporations. On January 26, 2010, the San Francisco Transfer Tax Review Board, the members of which are all City Hall administrators, issued a written administrative finding that the Archdiocese was not exempt from a transfer tax, despite the fact that the law pertaining to intra-church property transfers of this nature is overwhelmingly in favor of the Archdiocese. Among other things, the Archdiocese argues that the imposition of a transfer tax on a purely intra-denominational reorganization is outside the San Francisco ordinance, and violates the California and United States Constitutions by imposing a tax on a church for exercising its recognized constitutional rights to choose and change those civil law corporate forms that best accommodate its religious structure and needs. The Archdiocese maintains that to impose transfer taxes, penalties and interest on a religious organization in connection with an internal restructuring involving no exchange or receipt of money from which to pay any tax is inequitable and threatens to confiscate substantial Church assets that are devoted to religious purposes. The complaint asks the court, among other things, to direct the San Francisco Transfer Tax Review Board to set aside its ruling, to direct the Recorder to withdraw his notices of delinquent tax, and to award the Archdiocese its attorneys’ fees and costs.


From April 23, 2010 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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