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Monday, November 05, 2007

Church Denied Tax Exempt Status for Pastors House

The Faith Christian Church of Bay County, Florida, understood that it was within the law for them to own a church parsonage, which is protected by tax-exemption laws. The parsonage is used as a church office, pastoral counseling office, meeting rooms for church staff and board members, prayer groups, housing church vehicles, accommodating visiting ministers and speakers and storage of church records. Property Appraiser Rick Barnett thought otherwise and has made efforts to collect $165,000 in property taxes.

The parsonage is protected by Florida's Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).

Eric Stanley of Liberty Counsel is representing the church in filing a complaint against the property appraiser’s office attempt to collection on tax-exempt money. Stanley's observation is that "This is the only parsonage that he has denied tax exemption for in Bay County."

Florida church suit says tax assessment illegal

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