Opinion No. 130
from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District,
State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Richard D. Greenwood,
court order denying property tax exemption, affirmed.
Davison, Copple, Copple & Copple, LLP, Boise, for
appellant. Terry C. Copple argued.
Bennetts, Ada County Prosecutor, Boise, for respondent.
Sherry A. Morgan, Deputy Ada County Prosecutor argued.
BURDICK, Chief Justice.
J.R. Simplot Foundation (Foundation) appeals the Ada County
district court's ruling that the charitable property tax
exemption under Idaho Code section 63-602C did not apply to
the property known as Jack's Urban Meeting Place (JUMP)
while JUMP was under construction. In 2015, the Foundation
applied for a charitable property tax exemption for JUMP. The
Ada County Board of Equalization (Ada County) denied the tax
exemption because JUMP was under construction and therefore
not used exclusively for the Foundation's charitable
purposes. The Idaho Board of Tax Appeals (IBTA) reversed,
finding construction is not a "use" of the property
and the only uses at JUMP were in furtherance of the
Foundation's charitable objectives. Accordingly, the IBTA
held JUMP was entitled to the property tax exemption. Ada
County appealed the decision of the IBTA to the district
court. The district court, ruling on cross motions for
summary judgment, reversed the decision of the IBTA finding
construction is a "use" of the property and that
construction is not a charitable use. The Foundation timely
appeals to this Court and asks this Court to determine
whether a charitable structure under construction is eligible
for a tax exemption under section 63-602C. For the reasons
discussed below, we affirm the district court's order
denying the tax exemption.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
JUMP facility is owned by the Foundation and consists of a
2.471 acre parcel in downtown Boise that is a six-story,
multi-use structure that includes a three-story parking
garage and outdoor space. The Foundation is a non-profit,
charitable organization that uses JUMP for charitable
purposes. Construction on JUMP began in 2012 and was
completed in December 2015. The tax assessment date for the
exemption at issue is January 1, 2015, which makes the
determinative year 2014.
was under construction during 2014, and was about 70%
complete on January 1, 2015. Approximately 500 people toured
the facility during 2014, including both community leaders
and members of the public as part of JUMP's efforts to
gain community support for the facility and its mission.
Boise State University students also toured the facility as
part of a community involvement program sponsored by the
general contractor. In December of 2015, JUMP held its grand
opening and opened for general public admission.
a unique property that is configured to be a public park,
museum, and community center. Once completed, the property is
not readily convertible to commercial purposes. The
Foundation anticipates that JUMP will operate at a loss of
over $900, 000 a year, and require the Foundation to
subsidize its operations going forward.
Foundation applied to Ada County for a charitable property
tax exemption for JUMP for tax year 2015 under Idaho Code
section 63-602C. Ada County denied the Foundation's claim
for a tax exemption during the period of construction. The
Foundation appealed to the IBTA, which reversed and found
JUMP was entitled to a tax exemption because of the
charitable activities that occurred at JUMP during
construction. Ada County then appealed to the district court,
which reversed the IBTA, ruling that JUMP was not entitled to
an exemption while under construction finding construction is
a "use" under the statute, and not a charitable
use. The Foundation timely appeals to this Court and asks
this Court to determine whether a charitable structure under
construction qualifies for a charitable tax exemption during
ISSUES ON APPEAL
the JUMP facility entitled to a charitable property tax
exemption under Idaho Code section 63-602C even though it was