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I-Team: 39% Of Largest Boston Nonprofits Not Paying Property Taxes

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV
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Boston City Hall Plaza, file image (credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Boston City Hall Plaza, file image (credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Joe Shortsleeve Joe Shortsleeve
Joe Shortsleeve is chief correspondent for WBZ-TV News weekdays a...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Paying property taxes is something nobody likes to do. However, if you are a college or a hospital, you do not have to pay a penny.

Boston leaders have been working for years to change that due to tough economic times.

Just in Boston alone, dozens of big name non-profits do not have to write a single check for property taxes. Boston’s new voluntary payment plan was targeted at the largest and wealthiest tax exempt institutions and so far it seems to be working.

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve reports

“We have raised almost ten million dollars, we are up 24%. It is good news for the tax payers in the city of Boston,” said the President of the Boston City Council, Steve Murphy.

If Northeastern University had to pay real estate taxes, they would owe about $39 million each year. The university has only paid Boston around $30,000. Under the new play, Northeastern will have to pay about $900,000 every year.

It was recently found out by the I-Team that 18 of the 45 largest nonprofits targeted by the city have not yet sent a check. Under the new city calculations, local colleges and universities that include Emmanuel College, Simmons College and Suffolk University owe more than $300,000.

Councilor Murphy believes these institutions need to start putting their money where their mouth is. He is quoted saying, “Come on, do the right thing. You were there. You were part of this.”

Suffolk University released a statement saying, “We are reviewing the city’s PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) formula to determine our voluntary contribution and have every intention of making an agreed upon level of payment.”

The New England Aquarium and Shriners Hospital are also on the list. And while many of these nonprofits took part in city talks, many now fear if they make a payment, legally it could threaten their tax-exempt status.

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