As we predicted.
From today's San Francisco Chronicle:
Board backs city over archdiocese in tax matter
Rachel Gordon, Chronicle Staff Writer
"San Francisco's tax fight with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco is headed to court.
The city's Transfer Tax Appeals Board unanimously ruled Monday in favor of San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting's position that the archdiocese owes City Hall $14.4 million in unpaid property transfer taxes.
The panel determined that the church, in moving properties from one Catholic nonprofit corporation to another, was required to pay property transfer taxes. The taxes are collected when properties are sold or transferred to a separate and distinct legal entity.
The archdiocese maintains that the transfers were not subject to the tax because they were part of an internal reorganization to create "simple ownership models" for schools, parishes and the larger archdiocese.
Ting, however, disagreed and said the corporations involved in the transactions have different boards of directors and are legally separate.
A church spokesman called the ruling disappointing and suggested it may have been motivated by greed and politics.
"The board members, all of whom are City Hall administrators rather than members of the judiciary, apparently faced tremendous pressure in view of the city's desperate need for revenue," said Maurice Healy, spokesman for the archdiocese.
The city faces a $550 million projected deficit over the next 1 1/2 years.
The board, which held four hearings on the matter, is made up of the city controller, the city real estate director and the city tax collector, or their designees.
Healy went on to accuse Ting's office of "inexcusable delays, and, at times, arrogance," in the handling of the case, which began in the spring of 2008 when the archdiocese requested to change ownership titles of more than 200 parcels that city officials say are valued at close to $2 billion.
"We are glad that having exhausted the required administrative process we can finally proceed to a formal, neutral civil court forum," Healy said in a prepared statement.
"We trust that the civil court will carefully consider the applicable law, devoid of the sensationalism and politics that the archdiocese thus far has faced," he said...."
Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney