Amicus Brief

Baruch SLS v Tittabawassee Township

Case Year: 2016
Case Forum: Michigan Supreme Court
Keywords: Michigan Tax Tribunal (MTT), charitable institution, property tax exemption
Amicus Counsel:

Laura J. Genovich (P72278) | Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, PC |
1700 East Beltline N.E. Suite 200 | Grand Rapids, MI | 49525

CoAmicus Parties:

1. Michigan Townships Association (MTA)
2. Michigan Association of Counties (MAC)
3. Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB)
4. Michigan State Bar Public Corporation Law Section (PCLS)


This case asks whether a taxpayer may receive a property tax exemption as a “charitable institution” if the taxpayer discriminates among the people who receive the benefit of its “charity.” The parties and amicus participants agree that Wexford Medical Group was correctly decided and that a charitable institution cannot discriminate within the group of people who need the type of charity being offered. But the parties disagree as to what it means to “discriminate.” These Amicus Parties submit that a taxpayer offers charity on a “discriminatory basis” if it does not “serve any person who needs the particular type of charity being offered” – meaning
that a charitable institution must offer charity on equal terms to those who need the charitable benefits. A charity cannot “hand-pick” which individuals “deserve the services,” nor can it
prefer some individuals over others on subjective grounds. A charity should open its doors to anyone in need, and not build such a narrow door that only a select few can enter. The Supreme Court has already established a workable test for evaluating “charitable institution” exemptions, and the new interpretations proposed by Appellant are legally
unsupported and would lead to fundamentally unjust results.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No
Case Number: 2015-21
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