Tosa church loses appeal in property tax case

Published on: 10/7/2009

Madison — A state appeals court has ruled that a Wauwatosa church must pay property taxes on the residence where its custodian lives.

The District 1 Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected arguments by Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church that the residence should be exempt from taxes. The court said state law limits property tax exemptions to church-owned homes for religious leaders such as pastors and their ordained assistants.

The court rejected the church's attempt to allow the homes of other key church personnel to qualify.

Church lawyers had argued that the custodian is "integral to the functioning of the church" since he must be available on short notice for maintenance and security and to open and close the church.