A law firm is going to court to help a Pennsylvania church that claims it is being wrongfully taxed.
On behalf of Calvary Chapel, the Independence Law Center filed a tax assessment appeal after a county board determined the church is subject to property taxes on its building as well as land.
That ruling was made despite the Pennsylvania constitution and state law both stating that places of worship are not subject to taxation, the Law Center alleges.
Curtis Schube, legal counsel for Independence Law Center, says the church purchased the property but found itself in a dilemma after Monroe County said properties have a prorated version in the first year of taxes and file for an exemption the second year.
“In this case, the deadline was the day after they purchased the property,” the attorney explains. “So they're stuck with a year and 11 months of taxes before they can even be considered for an exemption."
Calvary Chapel is located in Stroudsburg, the county seat.
Schube doubts that Calvary Chapel is the only place of worship where this problem has occurred, especially since the Monroe County Board of Assessment Revision stated that all churches are treated in the same manner.
“I see this as a problem,” Schude says, “that is expanding past this church alone."
Schube and the Law Center expect a court date in 60 to 90 days.