New Hampshire High Court Upholds Church Property Tax

A New Hampshire city didn’t run afoul of any laws when it taxed church property that was not being used for a religious purpose, the state Supreme Court said May 23.

Destiny Christian Church owns a large two-story building and land in Concord that once served as a bull farm. In 2008, the church got a tax bill after the city determined that 40 percent of the property wasn’t being used for religious purposes, according to the Concord Monitor.

While the city granted tax exemption to the main church spaces, including its sanctuary, it taxed vacant rooms, a second-floor restroom and storage rooms, the newspaper reported.

“We’re pleased with the outcome,” City Solicitor James Kennedy told the Monitor. “This case is helpful for the city in… our interpretation of the religious exemption in state law.”

The congregation paid its tax bill in 2008 “under protest” and appealed its 2009 and 2010 tax assessments, but those cases have been on hold until the 2008 matter was resolved, the Monitor said.

The church, formerly known as Liberty Assembly of God, said it does not have enough money to pay its 2009 bill, and put its property up for sale in August 2011. The property remains on the market, according to the news report.