2017 ORS 307.140¹
Property of religious organizations

Upon compliance with ORS 307.162 (Claiming exemption), the following property owned or being purchased by religious organizations shall be exempt from taxation:

(1) All houses of public worship and other additional buildings and property used solely for administration, education, literary, benevolent, charitable, entertainment and recreational purposes by religious organizations, the lots on which they are situated, and the pews, slips and furniture therein. However, any part of any house of public worship or other additional buildings or property which is kept or used as a store or shop or for any purpose other than those stated in this section shall be assessed and taxed the same as other taxable property.

(2) 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.

(3) Land and the buildings thereon held or used solely for cemetery or crematory purposes, including any buildings solely used to store machinery or equipment used exclusively for maintenance of such lands. [Amended by 1955 c.258 §1; 1959 c.207 §2; 1973 c.397 §1; 1974 c.52 §2; 1987 c.756 §3; 1993 c.655 §5]

Notes of Decisions

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. Parkhurst v. Dept. of Rev., 4 OTR 586 (1971); Corpora­tion of Presiding Bishop v. Dept. of Rev., 6 OTR 268 (1975), aff’d 276 Or 775, 556 P2d 685 (1976)

Property used for church purposes other than con­ducting worship services must qualify under exemp­tion granted for charitable use prop­erty rather than as exempt place of worship. Archdiocese of Portland v. Dept. of Rev., 5 OTR 111 (1972), aff’d266 Or 419, 513 P2d 1137 (1973)

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)

Where full use of prop­erty by religious organiza­tion was prevented solely by delay of planning com­mis­sion in approving condi­tional use permit, partial use of prop­erty, involving pos­ses­sion and presence of per­sonal prop­erty and maintenance work, was sufficient to qualify for religious exemp­tion under this sec­tion. Reorganized Church LDS v. Dept. of Rev., 6 OTR 510 (1976)

Although evidence was insufficient to show that use of parsonage was such as to exempt it from prop­erty taxes, low-rent apart­ments provided to needy and older members of congrega­tion were entitled to exemp­tion to extent they were actually rented to those in need. German Apostolic Christian Church v. Dept. of Rev., 279 Or 637, 569 P2d 596 (1977)

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)

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)

Exemp­tion was allowable for building fulfilling func­tions of churches of more tradi­tional religions and for por­tion of guest ranch used in organiza­tion’s religious activities and disallowed for caretaker’s residence, counselor’s residence and bulk of guest ranch already assessed for timber tax exemp­tion. Found. of Human Understanding v. Dept. of Rev., 301 Or 254, 722 P2d 1 (1986)

Where house was “primarily” used as a home for pastor, use of some parts of house for purposes connected with work of church does not make it building used primarily for benefit of church. Washington County v. Dept. of Rev., 11 OTR 251 (1989)

“Owned” means only legal ownership, not equitable ownership. First Love Ministries v. Dept. of Rev., 12 OTR 97 (1991)

Where prop­erty involves living quarters, initial inquiry is whether it is reasonably necessary for per­son occupying living quarters to be physically on site. Roman Catholic Archdiocese v. Dept. of Rev., 13 OTR 211 (1995)

Where rectory or parsonage is reasonably necessary for work of church, inquiry is whether actual use of prop­erty is consistent with fulfilling religious purposes of church. Roman Catholic Archdiocese v. Dept. of Rev., 13 OTR 211 (1995)

Exemp­tion from prop­erty taxa­tion applies only with regard to taxes assessed on ad valorem basis. Multnomah County v. Dept. of Rev., 13 OTR 281 (1995)

Where descrip­tion of prop­erty is sufficiently broad in original exemp­tion applica­tion, construc­tion of new improve­ment on prop­erty does not require filing of new applica­tion. Lake Baptist Church, Inc. v. Dept. of Revenue, 14 OTR 297 (1998)

Where Property Used Primarily for Benefit of Church Is Residence, Property Is Exempt If

1) church official is re­quired by church doctrine or practical necessity to live in residence; and 2) proximity of residence to house of worship is necessary to further religious objectives. Washington County Assessor v. West Beaverton Congrega­tion of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Inc., 18 OTR 409 (2006)

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/­ors/­ors307.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 307, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano307.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
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.