Jehovah's Witnesses' Brooklyn tax exemptions totaled $368 million
Downtown Brooklyn Partnership ups its pressure on the tax-exempt organization to donate $50 million
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been exempted from paying at least $368 million in taxes on their Brooklyn real estate holdings over the last 12 years, according to an analysis by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and consulting firm BJH Advisers. The Partnership released the finding to increase its pressure on the religious organization to donate $50 million to the borough as it sells off at great profit the remainder of its Brooklyn property and moves upstate.
“This is the last chance to do it,” said the partnership’s president, Tucker Reed, who initially called for the monetary gift in a December op-ed in Crain's. “Once they leave and head upstate, if anyone goes knocking on their door with a tin cup saying, ‘Hey, remember Brooklyn,’ it is going to fall on deaf ears.”
The study looked at the Witnesses’ Brooklyn portfolio of 37 properties concentrated in and around Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo. As a religious organization, the group is exempt from paying taxes. The analysis estimated that its property taxes would have totaled $138.6 million since 2006, while transfer and capital gains taxes for 21 of its sites sold since 2004 would have added up to about $230 million. Reed called that a conservative estimate, but said it shows the magnitude of the Witnesses' profits and the money that otherwise would have gone to taxpayers.
“Hopefully this analysis starts to put some real numbers to what we are talking about,” he said.
Read full article and the Watchtower Portfolio Analysis here:http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20160204/REAL_ESTATE/160209923/jehovahs-witnesses-brooklyn-tax-exemptions-totaled-368-million