When the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center opened its doors to the public two years ago its goal was to provide educational forums, counseling groups and publications for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. But, according to the city of Kingston’s assessor, this wasn’t enough to warrant the center’s property its mandatory tax exemption — even though New York courts affirmed long ago that real property used by LGBT centers for such purposes are exempt. The assessor’s decision was later ratified by the Board of Assessment Review.
The center is run completely by volunteers providing educational and social services to the LGBT and, in fact, the entire community, but is now faced with a discriminatory tax bill for almost $9,000.
This fight for tax exemption is another example of how the LGBT community must continually fight to prove it serves worthy charitable and societal goals.
Lambda Legal, along with the Workers’ Rights Law Center of New York, Inc. and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson LLP, represent the center.
What are real property taxes?
In New York State, the real property tax is a tax based on the value of real property. Counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts, and special districts each raise money through the real property tax.
Did You Know…
In 1971, Lambda Legal’s application to be a nonprofit organization was denied unanimously by a panel of New York judges because, in their view, our mission was “neither benevolent nor charitable.” After nearly two years of legal battles, New York’s highest court finally ordered the approval of Lambda Legal’s application.