Group Distributing Locally Grown Food is Charity.

The plaintiff distributes a locally grown farm products guide to approximately 50,000 households and helps segments of the local population receive fresh local food.  The Appellate Tax Board determined that the plaintiff was not exempt from property taxes because it found that the plaintiff's dominant purpose was to benefit farmers with only an incidental public benefit.  On appeal, the court reversed on the basis that the plaintiff more closely resembled a traditionally charitable organization that it does a commercial enterprise.  The court noted that the plaintiff's programs lessen the burden of many government agencies interested in food systems.  The plaintiff also did not impermissibly restrict membership and its membership fees are not unreasonable and comprise only a small portion of its overall revenue.  As such, the court determined that the plaintiff is a charitable organization and is exempt from property tax.  Community Involved in Agriculture, Inc. v. Board of Assessors, No. 13-P-1050, 2014 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1137 (Mass. Ct. App. Nov. 10, 2014). 

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