Majority support taxing church parking spaces - 398 participants

Dec 14, 2016

New Hampshire's Supreme Court recently came to a decision in a dispute between St. George's Episcopal Church in Durham and the town of Durham. St. George's is one of several churches in the town that has been renting parking spaces to University of New Hampshire students. The church, which is tax exempt, was told by the town of Durham it had to start paying taxes on the parking lot since it was being used to make a profit. A lawsuit made its way to the state’s highest court, which ruled in favor of the town. Read more about this issue. On December 14, Citizens Count, NH’s Live Free or Die Alliance decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Do you agree with the NH Supreme Court that parking spaces rented out by churches for a profit should be taxed?”

“Do you agree with the NH Supreme Court that parking spaces rented out by churches for a profit should be taxed?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents

Church Parking Space Taxes NH Citizen Voices Chart

Participation:

A total of 85% of those participating gave a 'yes or no' response to the question. The remaining 16% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a yes or no response. In total, this question received 688 responses from 398 individuals. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said:

Yes: A majority, at 70% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, supported taxing parking spaces rented out by churches for a profit.

  • “If they are renting parking spaces, they're a business and they can be taxed.”
  •  “Yes. Just like other non-profits have to pay unrelated business income tax (UBIT) for income unrelated to their missions.”
  • “Churches should be taxed, period.”

No: A minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 30%, were against taxing parking spaces rented out by churches for a profit.

  • “I find that churches do a lot for the poor. So if they can do it by renting parking spaces, why not allow it?”
  • “What little money that make is for the good of all.”
  • “If it is church property and they are using the money toward ministry then it should be exempt from taxes.”

Other: As noted above, 15% of those participating did not give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:

  • Clarifying the question: “Can I write off the money I pay for using that space as a charitable donation? If the answer is yes, then no, they shouldn't pay taxes on it. If I cannot write it off, then yes, they should be taxed.”
  • Defining income: “Isn't all the money the church gets profit?”
  • Other nonprofits and taxation: “How about taxing the universities on all the rental housing that they make a profit from, or the sports stadiums?”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

Know someone who would be interested in these results? Forward them the summary version of this report. 

Do you agree with the NH Supreme Court that parking spaces rented out by churches for a profit should be taxed? Leave a comment and have your say! 

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