ORS 307.130¹
Property of art museums, volunteer fire departments or literary, benevolent, charitable and scientific institutions

(1) As used in this section:

(a) "Art museum" means a nonprofit corporation organized to display works of art to the public.

(b) "Internal Revenue Code" means the federal Internal Revenue Code as amended and in effect on December 31, 2006.

(c) "Nonprofit corporation" means a corporation that:

(A) Is organized not for profit, pursuant to ORS chapter 65 or any predecessor of ORS chapter 65; or

(B) Is organized and operated as described under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(d) "Volunteer fire department" means a nonprofit corporation organized to provide fire protection services in a specific response area.

(2) Upon compliance with ORS 307.162 (Necessity of filing statement to secure exemption), the following property owned or being purchased by art museums, volunteer fire departments, or incorporated literary, benevolent, charitable and scientific institutions shall be exempt from taxation:

(a) Except as provided in ORS 748.414 (Funds exempt from certain taxes), only such real or personal property, or proportion thereof, as is actually and exclusively occupied or used in the literary, benevolent, charitable or scientific work carried on by such institutions.

(b) Parking lots used for parking or any other use as long as that parking or other use is permitted without charge for no fewer than 355 days during the tax year.

(c) All real or personal property of a rehabilitation facility or any retail outlet thereof, including inventory. As used in this subsection, "rehabilitation facility" means either those facilities defined in ORS 344.710 (Rehabilitation facility defined) or facilities which provide individuals who have physical, mental or emotional disabilities with occupational rehabilitation activities of an educational or therapeutic nature, even if remuneration is received by the individual.

(d) All real and personal property of a retail store dealing exclusively in donated inventory, where the inventory is distributed without cost as part of a welfare program or where the proceeds of the sale of any inventory sold to the general public are used to support a welfare program. As used in this subsection, "welfare program" means the providing of food, shelter, clothing or health care, including dental service, to needy persons without charge.

(e) All real and personal property of a retail store if:

(A) The retail store deals primarily and on a regular basis in donated and consigned inventory;

(B) The individuals who operate the retail store are all individuals who work as volunteers; and

(C) The inventory is either distributed without charge as part of a welfare program, or sold to the general public and the sales proceeds used exclusively to support a welfare program. As used in this paragraph, "primarily" means at least one-half of the inventory.

(f) The real and personal property of an art museum that is used in conjunction with the public display of works of art or used to educate the public about art, but not including any portion of the art museum’s real or personal property that is used to sell, or hold out for sale, works of art, reproductions of works of art or other items to be sold to the public.

(g) All real and personal property of a volunteer fire department that is used in conjunction with services and activities for providing fire protection to all residents within a fire response area.

(h) All real and personal property, including inventory, of a retail store owned by a nonprofit corporation if:

(A) The retail store deals exclusively in donated inventory; and

(B) Proceeds of the retail store sales are used to support a not-for-profit housing program whose purpose is to:

(i) Acquire property and construct housing for resale to individuals at or below the cost of acquisition and construction; and

(ii) Provide loans bearing no interest to individuals purchasing housing through the program.

(3) An art museum or institution shall not be deprived of an exemption under this section solely because its primary source of funding is from one or more governmental entities.

(4) An institution shall not be deprived of an exemption under this section because its purpose or the use of its property is not limited to relieving pain, alleviating disease or removing constraints. [Amended by 1955 c.576 §1; 1959 c.207 §1; 1969 c.342 §1; 1971 c.605 §1; 1974 c.52 §3; 1979 c.688 §1; 1987 c.391 §1; 1987 c.490 §49; 1989 c.224 §50; 1991 c.93 §4; 1993 c.655 §3; 1995 c.470 §4; 1997 c.599 §1; 1999 c.90 §31; 1999 c.773 §1; 2001 c.660 §26; 2003 c.77 §4; 2005 c.832 §16; 2007 c.70 §75; 2007 c.614 §4a; 2007 c.694 §1]

Notes of Decisions

Real Property Occupied or Used

Actually occupied or used

A farm owned by a church, from which the profits flowed to the benefit of the church's charity, was not exempt from prop­erty taxa­tion. Corpora­tion of Presiding Bishop v. Dept. of Rev., 6 OTR 268 (1975), aff'd 276 Or 775, 556 P2d 685 (1976)

This sec­tion grants tax exemp­tion only to such real or per­sonal prop­erty as is actually used in charitable work carried on. Golden Writ of God v. Dept. of Rev., 9 OTR 475 (1984), aff'd300 Or 479, 713 P2d 605 (1986)

In determining whether prop­erty is tax exempt pursuant to this sec­tion, test is use to which prop­erty is put. State ex rel. NW Medical Lab. v. Wilcox, 10 OTR 181 (1985)

Charitable organiza­tion's de minimis use of prop­erty does not qualify prop­erty for exemp­tion where use is not reasonably necessary for carrying out charitable purposes. Multnomah County v. Dept. of Rev., 13 OTR 339 (1995)

Storage of ma­te­ri­al to ensure availability in case of future charitable need is actual use of storage facility for charitable purpose, notwithstanding lack of distribu­tion from facility. Corpora­tion of the Presiding Bishop, LDS v. Dept. of Revenue, 14 OTR 244 (1997)

Actually and exclusively occupied and used

Where the plaintiff had a completed building and initiated its occupancy thereof prior to July 1, the prop­erty was actually and exclusively occupied within the meaning of this sec­tion. Soc. St. Vincent DePaul v. Dept. of Rev., 272 Or 360, 537 P2d 69 (1975)

Where evidence did not demonstrate which por­tion of entire parcel was devoted to exempt activities, no partial exemp­tion could be allowed. Golden Writ of God v. Dept. of Rev., 300 Or 479, 713 P2d 605 (1986)

Phrase "exclusively used" refers to primary, as opposed to incidental, use of prop­erty. Mercy Medical Center, Inc. v. Dept. of Rev., 12 OTR 305 (1992)

Property Owned or Being Purchased

Property held under a lease agree­ment with the United States Govern­ment did not qualify for an exemp­tion under this sec­tion. Eugene Yacht Club v. Dept. of Rev., 6 OTR 35 (1975)

Incorpora­tion of leased prop­erty into real prop­erty of charitable organiza­tion did not alter require­ment that applica­tion for exemp­tion of leased prop­erty be made separately under ORS 307.112 (Property held under lease, sublease or lease-purchase by institution, organization or public body other than state). Garten Founda­tion v. Dept. of Rev., 12 OTR 554 (1993)

Benevolent or Charitable Institu­tions

In general

Statutes exempting prop­erty are strictly construed against the one claiming the exemp­tion. Emanuel Lutheran Charity Bd. v. Dept. of Rev., 4 OTR 410 (1971), aff'd 263 Or 287, 502 P2d 251 (1972)

Property, both real and per­sonal, was held, occupied and actually used for charitable, benevolent purposes of the organiza­tion, and was exempt. Parkhurst v. Dept. of Rev., 4 OTR 586 (1971)

A charitable enterprise does not lose its exemp­tion merely because it engages in competi­tion with taxable businesses. YMCA v. Dept. of Rev., 268 Or 633, 522 P2d 464 (1974)

If the ac­tivity undertaken on the prop­erty substantially contributes to the furtherance of the charity's goals, the prop­erty will be exempted. YMCA v. Dept. of Rev., 268 Or 633, 522 P2d 464 (1974); Mercy Medical Center, Inc. v. Dept. of Rev., 12 OTR 305 (1992)

An exemp­tion is not lost because the prop­erty is not re­quired to carry out the goals of the charity. YMCA v. Dept. of Rev., 268 Or 633, 522 P2d 464 (1974)

Owner of apart­ment complex used exclusively by retired per­sons, though nonprofit organiza­tion, is not a charity as implicitly re­quired by this statute. Salem Non-Profit Housing, Inc., v. Dept. of Revenue, 9 OTR 265 (1983)

Although purposes of organiza­tion were to promote arts and crafts, exchange of ideas and es­tab­lish­ment of community feeling of unity and were unques­tionably worthwhile and beneficial, they could not be said to be charitable as used in this sec­tion. Oregon Country Fair v. Dept. of Rev., 10 OTR 200 (1986)

Activities of emergency veterinary clinic founded with private dona­tion and formed as nonprofit organiza­tion met some require­ments of charitable organiza­tion but did not meet taxpayer burden of qualifying as charitable institu­tion under this sec­tion. Dove Lewis Mem. Emer. Vet. Clinic v. Dept. of Rev., 301 Or 423, 923 P2d 320 (1986)

Property must qualify on its own merits to receive tax exemp­tion and plaintiff failed to prove its right to charitable exemp­tion under this sec­tion for either of two properties ap­pealed. YMCA v. Dept. of Rev., 11 OTR 101 (1988), aff'd 308 Or 644, 784 P2d 1086 (1989)

Personal prop­erty of public defender service is prop­erty of charitable organiza­tion and public defender service is involved in gift or giving, even though public defender service has contractual obliga­tion to perform indigent de­fense and is compensated by state. Southwestern Oregon Public Defender Services, Inc. v. Dept. of Rev., 312 Or 82, 817 P2d 1292 (1991)

Test to qualify as "charitable institu­tion" is applied to organiza­tion overall, not to specific part or opera­tion. Mercy Medical Center, Inc. v. Dept. of Rev., 12 OTR 305 (1992)

Retail store stocked by donated goods does not meet require­ments of this statute, even if income is used for charitable purposes. Kiwanis Club v. Dept. of Rev., 12 OTR 318 (1992)

Directing charitable efforts toward particular ethnic group did not rob facility of charitable character. Rigas Maja, Inc. v. Dept. of Rev., 12 OTR 471 (1993)

Require­ment that retail store deal exclusively in donated prop­erty applies both to distributed inventory and to any inventory sold to public. Assistance Guild of Bend v. Dept. of Rev., 13 OTR 236 (1995)

Scientific institu­tion is not re­quired to have charity as primary purpose to qualify as charitable. Math Learning Center v. Dept. of Revenue, 14 OTR 62 (1996)

Educating public on particular ideology advanced by tax exempt organiza­tion as means for indirectly achieving public good does not qualify as charitable work. Native Forest Council v. Lane County Assessor, 17 OTR 30 (2003)

Mutual benefit corpora­tion cannot have sufficient charitable attributes for prop­erty of corpora­tion to qualify for exemp­tion. Rogue Gem and Geology Club, Inc. v. Josephine County Assessor, 17 OTR 446 (2003)


The fact that patients able to pay are re­quired to do so does not deprive a hospital, otherwise eligible to be classed as a charitable institu­tion, of its charitable character. Ev. Lutheran Good Samaritan Soc. v. Dept. of Rev., 5 OTR 14 (1972)

The tax-exempt hospital did not qualify for prop­erty tax exemp­tion for prop­erty it leased to the county health depart­ment. Albany Gen. Hosp. v. Dept. of Rev., 6 OTR 446 (1976), aff'd 277 Or 727, 561 P2d 1029 (1977)

Religious institu­tions

Land merely being held for future use is not being actually occupied or used for benevolent or charitable work. Emanuel Lutheran Charity Bd. v. Dept. of Rev., 263 Or 287, 502 P2d 251 (1972)

Advance­ment of religion is a charitable purpose within the meaning of the statute. Archdiocese v. Dept. of Rev., 5 OTR 111 (1973), aff'd 266 Or 419, 513 P2d 1137 (1973); Diocese of Ore. v. Dept. of Rev., 5 OTR 126 (1973), aff'd 266 Or 419, 513 P2d 1138 (1973)

Determina­tion by church of­fi­cers re­gard­ing what lands are reasonably re­quired and what uses will further religious purposes are to be given deference absent clear indica­tion of bad faith or fraud. Multnomah County v. Dept. of Revenue, 6 OTR 325 (1976)

Building owned by incorporated religious organiza­tion housing members of organiza­tion, who lived communally by dictates of their religion, was exempt from real prop­erty taxa­tion under this sec­tion. House of Good Shepherd v. Depart­ment of Revenue, 300 Or 340, 710 P2d 778 (1985)

Literary Organiza­tions

Organiza­tion devoted to produc­tion of plays is literary organiza­tion. Theatre West of Lincoln City, Ltd. v. Dept. of Rev., 319 Or 114, 873 P2d 1083 (1994)

Nonprofit literary organiza­tion qualifies for exemp­tion if operating for public good, which is revealed by considering: 1) membership base; 2) prop­erty ownership and use; 3) ad­min­is­tra­­tion; 4) activities; and 5) promo­tion of public welfare. Oregon Writer's Colony v. Dept. of Revenue, 14 OTR 69 (1996)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Exemp­tion of prop­erty owned by nonprofit corpora­tion and leased to State Commission for Blind, (1977) Vol 38, p 1592

Law Review Cita­tions

2 EL 164 (1971)

Notes of Decisions

Assessor must notify owner of prop­erty which would otherwise be exempt under these sec­tions of intent to assess taxes against such prop­erty only when: (1) prop­erty was treated as exempt in immediately preceding year and, (2) assessor contemplates assess­ment of prop­erty in current year because of change of ownership or use for which no applica­tion for exemp­tion has been made. Worrell v. Dept. of Rev., 7 OTR 128 (1977)

Chapter 307

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Validity of ad valorem and severance taxa­tion of logs destined for export, (1975) Vol 37, p 427; applica­tion of Article XI, sec­tion 11b of Oregon Constitu­tion to this chapter, (1990) Vol 46, p 388

Law Review Cita­tions

5 EL 516 (1975)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 307—Property Subject to Taxation; Exemptions, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­Archive/­2007ors307.­pdf (2007) (last ac­cessed Feb. 12, 2009).
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2007, Chapter 307, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­307ano.­htm (2007) (last ac­cessed Feb. 12, 2009).
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent. Currency Information