Thursday, July 12, 2012

Residence For Sikh Priests Entitled To Tax Exemption

In Dasmesh Darbar Sikh Temple v. Marion County Assessor, (OR Tax Ct., July 11, 2012), the Oregon Tax Court, Magistrate Division, held that a house provided as a residence for a Sikh temple's three priests is entitled to a tax exemption. The county had determined that the house was a residence whose use was a mere convenience. State law requires that, for the residence to qualify for an exemption, clergy living there must be a requirement of church doctrine or a practical necessity.  The court concluded that this requirement was met because the priests are "carrying on the 500 year old tradition of living close to or in the temple to 'protect the scriptures (Guru Granth Sahib)'".