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Does Hanover Tax Dartmouth?
The issue of towns taxing institutions of higher learning has come up again after a lawsuit in Princeton, New Jersey survived a motion to dismiss — as reported in a recent Wall Street Journal article, Why Shouldn’t Princeton Pay Taxes?:
For the latest evidence of the town-gown divide, look no further than New Jersey, where earlier this summer residents of Princeton banded together to sue the prestigious school in their backyard. The residents argued that Princeton University, which boasts the largest endowment per student in the country, should no longer be entitled to its tax-exempt status because the school makes money — from its scientific patents, ticketed concerts, on-campus eateries and more. The Ivy League school is operating like a business, the plaintiffs say, so the tax code should treat it like one.
The conflict isn’t going away. In June, a state tax court judge said the case had merit and refused the school’s request to dismiss the case.
In Live Free or Die New Hampshire, things are more complicated. Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin explained Dartmouth’s tax status to me in an e-mail:
Dartmouth pays taxes on dormitories and dining halls based on a 1930’s NH Supreme Court ruling (Concord v. St. Paul’s School) which requires all private schools, including colleges and universities, to pay taxes on such facilities. The College also pays taxes on the Inn, all of the property it owns in Downtown Hanover (7 Lebanon St., 4 Currier, etc) and, of course, all residential property it owns off campus as well as any non-academic related commercial properties. They do not make a PILOT [Payment In Lieu of Taxes] payment to the Town.
The amount Dartmouth pays is part of the public record (you can find information about the Town’s 10 largest taxpayers on page 83 of the 2012 Town Report which is available on the Town website). For 2012, Dartmouth paid $5,481,661 in property taxes and is the Town’s largest taxpayer.
Julia omitted to note that the Trustees are listed as paying Hanover another $520,191 in their own name.
That’s a total taxation of $6,001,852 in 2012, which works out to be close to one quarter of Hanover’s net property tax income (after deducting the sums taken by the State of NH, the Dresden School District, the state school property tax and Grafton County’s portion of Dartmouth’s property tax payments), and a little short of 0.80% of Dartmouth’s total expenses.
Addendum: A longtime observer of the College writes in:
You forgot the fraternities and sororities! They pay HUGE taxes in Hanover. For virtually all - or all - of these entities, it is the single largest expense. Runs about $20,000 to $25,000/year/house.
October 18, 2009
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May 31, 2009
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