David L. Sjoquist and Rayna Stoycheva
We explore what we know and don’t know regarding the economic effects of the property tax exemption for nonprofits. We first review how the eligibility criteria differ across states and estimates of the magnitude of the tax benefit. We then consider the following questions: Do nonprofits use this cost advantage to increase the public good or for their self-interest? Does the exemption affect the choice of for-profit versus nonprofit status, of owning versus renting, where to locate, the nonprofit capital-labor ratio and capital-land ratio and its size? Does it affect the nonprofit share of the market? Does the loss of government revenue get capitalized into the value of property? Finally, we consider efforts to remove the exemptions through legal action and through PILOTs and the trend for local governments to provide additional subsidies to encourage them to locate within the jurisdiction.