By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
A February 27 decision by the New Jersey Tax Court related to 2016 tax exempt status of the West Side Community Center on DeWitt Avenue in Asbury Park, upholds a prior Monmouth County Court decision that the center is not exempt from paying taxes on its property.
The case involved whether or not tax exemption should be granted for tax year 2016 when the status was revoked by the city tax assessor.
The WSCC believed that exemption was warranted on the basis that the facility was being used exclusively for non profit purposes.
The judge however found, as did the city, that the center did not at any time provide the proper documentation, or 501(c)3, that is is in fact a non profit organization in good standing.
The city stated in its case that “plaintiff has not proven what its non-profit purpose is.”
This claim was upheld by the court due to the fact that the center could not prove that is has submitted the paperwork required of non-profit entities in the state.
According to court documents the tax assessor and president of the WSCC’s board of trustees had several conversations regarding the center’s tax exempt status in 2015 but the assessor “never received any objective or documentary information that would provide him a ‘comfort level’ to resolve the issue.”
The case asserts that the tax assessor did due diligence even searching google for information regarding the center’s non-profit activities.
The assessor then reclassified the land and assessed it for a total of $876,900 in the year 2016.
When the case was heard in Monmouth County tax court the court reduced the assessment to $301,400 at the request of the WSCC, which the state court upheld.
Lori Ross of the center said she was not authorized to give a comment on her own. She said the court decision is being reviewed before any decision is made about the next step.