Property tax exemption is not automatic. An application must be filed with the County Assessor on or before April 1 of the assessment year for which the exemption is requested. If the property is acquired after March 1 and before July 1, the application must be filed within 30 days of acquisition or use. If the application is not filed on time, it may be filed no later than December 31 if a late filing fee accompanies the application.
Qualified organizations may also claim a property tax exemption on real or personal property held under a lease. The lessee, not the owner, must file an application with the County Assessor. Filing requirements are basically the same as for owners.
- Religious Organizations
To qualify for property tax exemption, a religious organization must have a constitution, bylaws or charter, which states its mission and purpose. An individual cannot qualify. Property may include: Houses of public worship; buildings and personal property used for administrative, educational, and recreational purposes; pews and furniture used in the exempt buildings. Any portion of property that is not used for religious purposes will not be exempt.
Schools, academies and student housing owned or being purchased by a religious or charitable organization may qualify for property tax exemption. A private school may qualify for exemption provided the school is charitable. Property must be used for accredited educational purposes.
- Fraternal Organizations
A fraternal organization must be established under the lodge system with a ritualistic form of work and a representative form of government. The organization must provide financial support to a charitable activity with the purpose of doing good for others rather than for the convenience of its members, and is not solely a social club. The property must be actively occupied and used for lodge work, entertainment or recreational purposes. It is not exempt if it is rented to others for sums greater than reasonable expenses for maintenance and upkeep. College fraternities and sororities are not fraternal organizations under this law.
- Literary, Benevolent, Charitable Organizations, Scientific Institutions and Volunteer Fire Departments
The primary purpose and activity of these organizations is to provide charity. Generally, volunteers serve to further the goals of the organization. The County assessor examines the documents of each individual applicant and determines eligibility on a case-by-case basis.
If you have questions or wish to file, you can contact our office at (503)655-8671 and ask for assistance with the Property Tax Exemption.
Or download an Information Circular about Property Tax Exemptions for Special Organizations.
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