Monday, January 24, 2011

When is a Fee also a Tax?

According to this story on the St. Louis Today web site, the city of Mission, Kansas, is now requiring churches to pay "transportation utility fees" to help pay for crumbling roads, and the churches are challenging the fees in court. Churches are non-profit organizations and usually have tax exempt status. City officials claim that these fees are not a form of taxation, but the churches filing suit disagree. When is a fee also a tax?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. In this case, the fee that the government institutions are trying to place on these houses of worship are indeed taxes undercover. It is obvious that government agencies are strapped for cash in times of recessions which, more often than not, send them scrambling for quick remedies to many of their financial woes. If the economy were not in a recession and the local Wisconsin government tried to pass this "fee" it would then be obvious that it is, in fact, a tax.

    Cesar Salazar (Winter '11)

  3. I think a fee is something that should be charged on a per use basis, like a toll. When somebody is taxed, it should be for the benefit of the public good. The local governments could very well argue that the churches are free riding on the coat tails of the taxpayers. But, on the same hand, the people that attend church and use the roads to arrive are taxpayers themselves. In the end, I think that the churches are being taxed because anybody can use the roads that they (the tax payers) fund.

    Patel, Anush
    ID# 58908771


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