Riverfront parsonage tax exempt, court says

Scott Sullivan
“It is unclear,” the tribunal added, “how Tackett started a new fellowship church, ordained himself, established himself as pastor of said church, then purchased a home by the start-up church. … It is unclear how this is not self-serving."

A large riverfront home at 850 Park St. occupied by the pastor of a small Ganges Township church and his family qualifies for a parsonage tax exemption, a Michigan appeals court panel ruled April 17.

Allan Tackett of Prophetic Word Ministries bought the 3,835-square-foot dwelling—complete with a pool, dock and boat garage on the Kalamazoo River—in June 2011 from San Marino Holdings LLC, according to court records. Longtime city hall critic John Breen signed the land contract as an agent for San Marino, but denied he had ownership interest in the dwelling or San Marino.

Saugatuck city assessor Dianna McGrew denied Tackett’s request for a parsonage tax exemption valued at $16,411.56 based on counsel from city attorney Crystal Morgan, who questioned the purchase agreement and Tackett’s status as a pastor.

Tackett and PWM appealed to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, which Nov. 16, 2012, raised questions about how Tackett started a new church in a former Zephyr gas station, established himself as its pastor, then bought a home with a $595,000 true cash value; but said evidence established he is ordained in the church that owns the property and is entitled to an exemption. The appeals court upheld that ruling.

For full story, pick up a copy of the April 24 Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.

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