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Eye On Olympia

Posts tagged: farmer's market

State tax officials: Churches hosting farmers markets in their parking lots must pay property tax on the land…

I had this story in the morning paper:

OLYMPIA – State tax officials recently gave several Spokane-area churches an ultimatum: Stop running farmers markets in your parking lots or start paying tax on that land.

“We have no choice here. The law is really clear,” said Mike Gowrylow, a spokesman for the state Department of Revenue. “When you’ve got a commercial business – no matter how small or homegrown – operating on tax-exempt property, then it runs afoul of the law.”

Two of the farmers markets – one in Millwood and the one in downtown Spokane – will stay where they are, according to the Rev. Craig Goodwin, of Millwood Community Presbyterian Church.

He said his church will pay the $700 or so in taxes on its parking lot to enable the farmers market to continue.

“I’m familiar with the Bible passage ‘Pay unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,’ and we’re willing to do that,” he said. But he said the markets are a crucial community asset that should be exempt.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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