A small Arizona church is facing illegally assessed property
taxes that would force it out of existence if paid.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Erik
Stanley is defending the church in the Arizona Court of Appeals. He
says the assessor was demanding a 501(c)3 letter, something not
required by either state or federal laws. He says he has no idea
why the assessor would demand that.
"This is something the
assessor came up with, and our point in the lawsuit is that the
assessor is not allowed to kind of graft on an additional
requirement to tax-emption statutes," he tells OneNewsNow.
"Churches need to be treated as the legislature specifies they be
The Arizona Tax Court says the church should have paid the taxes
before taking the case to court. But Stanley says that is not
"Especially, considering the fact that in this case if the
church were to pay the taxes, that would mean it would have to
close down its ministry, stop its free exercise of religion, and
sell off its assets simply to pay the taxes because it can't afford
to do so," he explains.
The tax bill is about $50,000, which approximately equals the
church's budget for the entire year.