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L.A. County: California Court of Appeal Affirms Tax Exempt Status for AHF’s Carl Bean House


The California Court of Appeal this week affirmed a Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles trial court’s grant of summary judgment to AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) for a charitable property tax exemption on Carl Bean House, one of AHF’s former AIDS hospices in Los Angeles County that now houses a charitable medical clinic, HIV testing center, offices and support groups.

In California, as in most states, property used for charitable activities by a nonprofit organization is exempt from property taxes. The law recognizes that such charitable activities – such as those found in AHF’s mission statement and mission providing “Cutting-edge medicine and advocacy, regardless of ability to pay,” benefit the public at large.

“After L.A. County refused for over six years to grant AHF this exemption for its property in South Los Angeles, and forced AHF to file a lawsuit and fight on appeal after the County lost in the trial court, the California Court of Appeal this week wisely affirmed the trial court’s 2015 ruling that AHF is, in fact, entitled to the exemption,” said Liza Brereton, Counsel for AHF. “AHF has used Carl Bean House for a specialized sexually transmitted infection (STI) health clinic, a free HIV testing center, office space for its I.T. department, and it also has shared some of the space without charge with another community nonprofit organization that runs support groups and other forms of advocacy.”

AHF paid the property taxes for 2009 and 2010 and then sought a refund from the County, as it is entitled to under the law. The County denied this refund, so AHF filed a lawsuit to secure the refund. AHF won its lawsuit on summary judgment (the Court decided the case was so clear no trial was necessary) in 2015, but the County refused to comply and filed an appeal. On Tuesday (April 11, 2017), the Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court that AHF used Carl Bean House for charitable purposes. The Court also dismissed the County’s argument that space used by an administrative department, such as I.T., which the County admitted is necessary for AHF to carry out compliant charitable healthcare services, is not exempt from taxation if that department also services revenue generating activities that support the nonprofit’s mission. The Court also found that the County had waived its procedural defense to the underlying motion for summary judgment.

“The County has also denied AHF’s requests for a charitable tax exemption for other properties, including the buildings that house its public health division and managed care division,” added Michael Weinstein, President of AHF. “Those properties are not yet being litigated and AHF is hopeful the County will review its determinations in light of the Court of Appeal’s decision to avoid litigation.”

About AIDS Healthcare Foundation

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 713,000 individuals in 39 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare.


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