Volunteer Center of Southern Arizona v. Staples

In Volunteer Center of Southern Arizona v. Staples, 214 Ariz. 36, 147 P.3d 1052 (App. 2006) the Court applied A.R.S. 42-11154 to a tax exemption that was inapplicable if the property was "used or held for profit." There, the taxpayer was a non-profit corporation that owned an office building. Id. at 36, P 2, 147 P.3d at 1052. It used approximately two-thirds of the building for its own charitable activities and leased the remaining one-third to another non-profit corporation. Id. The court rejected the county's argument that, by leasing a portion of its property to the non-profit lessee, the taxpayer was using or holding the property for profit. Id. at 37, PP 5-7, 147 P.3d at 1053. The court explained that, in enacting A.R.S. 42-11154, the Legislature had "unambiguously instructed us to determine whether property is used or held for profit by referring to the official federal tax status of the organization owning and using the property - not the nature of the specific financial transactions conducted on the property." Id. at 38, P 7, 147 P.3d at 1054. The court went on to state: We conclude that, in promulgating 42-11154, the legislature intended to provide a simple, bright-line rule, anchored in the ultimate function of the organizations owning or using property, for determining whether the property is being 'used or held for profit.' Id. at 39, P 12, 147 P.3d at 1055.