Tax exempt issue brings non-profits out for council hearing

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City officials are easing up on requirements for Philadelphia non-profits to qualify for exempt status when it comes to property tax.

Reverend Terence Griffith of the Black Clergy says the request to provide property use information every year amounts to a violation of the separation of church and state.

“this requests seeks to prohibit the free exercise of religion and it is in our opinion very intrusive.”

Michael Piper of the Office of Property Assessment says the city is refining the requirements for non-profits to qualify for their real estate tax exempt status.

“We also appreciate the concerns raised by the exempt entities upon receiving the form itself and we’ve simplified the form to address those concerns.”

Piper says the office is willing to accept proof from a group that it qualifies for tax-exempt status instead of providing paperwork to prove its has IRS certification.

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