Groups win reversals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, August/September 1996:

Farm Sanctuary on June 13 won a New York
Appellate Division reversal of rulings by the Town of
Orange Board of Assessment Review and the Schuyler
County Supreme Court, which held that running a facility
incorporated for “the benevolent care of abandoned and maltreated
animals” is not a charitable purpose entitling the organization
to a property tax exemption. Such exemptions, they
contended, are limited to projects benefitting people, human
kind, or the community. The unanimous Appellate verdict
drew upon Matter of Hamilton, 1946, which upheld the will
of a woman who left her home and $400,000 in trust “for the
care, comfort, and benefit of dumb animals.” The court in
that case cited “the common view that the care and comfort
of animals are generally beneficial to mankind.”

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in
late June, in a case pending since 1989, that the Sierra
Club does not owe unrelated business income taxes amounting
to 42% of profits on rental of its 228,000-name donor list.
The Ninth Circuit held that the income is a tax-exempt royalty
rather than fees collected for providing a commercial service,
as marketing is handled entirely by the for-profit firm
Names in the News. The Ninth Circuit returned to a lower
court the question of whether the Sierra Club owes taxes on
revenue collected through an affinity credit card program.
Ruling in favor of Green Mountain Animal
Defenders and the Fund for Animals, the U.S. Second
Circuit Court of Appeals on July 19 reversed U.S. District
Judge Franklin Billings’ earlier verdict that the National
Environmental Policy Act impact review requirement doesn’t
apply to Wildlife Restoration Act funding, which provides
75% of the cost of holding the annual Vermont moose hunt.
The Court of Appeals verdict directed the district court to
proceed with hearing on its merits the GMAD/Fund claim
that the federal funding violates NEPA.

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