Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Tai Chi Class Sites Are Not Places of Worship For Tax Exemption Law In Ontario

In Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism v. Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, (ON Super. Ct., Jan. 6, 2022), an Ontario (Canada) appellate court held that a Taoist organization was not entitled to a municipal property tax exemption for its satellite sites at which Tai Chi classes are held. The court concluded that these sites are not "places of worship" as that term is used in Ontario's Assessment Act. The court said in part:

Use of a property as a place of worship is different than other uses to which religious organizations can put property.  Evangelization efforts for example....

MPAC argues that the application judge accepted that religious expression and activities occur at the Satellite Sites.  However, in order to create an exemption for those properties, those activities must constitute acts of worship, a more narrow form of activity than the simple act of conducting a practice that has religious connotation.

CTV News reports on the decision.