YMCA purposes it (the contention) should have no standing in court * * * I do not think there is anything in this contention insofar as the fact that the building was in construction, if it was in construction for YMCA purposes.' (Tr. p. 5.)
In the circumstances, the Court holds that if the building was intended to be used for YMCA purposes, the portion of said building so intended to be used was actually used in the work of the YMCA at the time of the assessment.
Considering the entire record the Court finds and holds as to Defendant's second contention, that the building when completed, taking into account the uses to which the building was put in conjunction with the Association's broad program of activity, was used for the legitimate purposes of the Association within the meaning of the statute. This finding and holding, however, applies only to the nine floors occupied as sleeping rooms and for 'health service' purposes, and not to the two floors rented for office use by a commercial airline company.
In support of its third contention Defendant urges that money paid for the purpose of redeeming property from sale for taxes does not constitute 'taxes imposed', within the meaning of the Act, from the 'accrued liability' for which the Plaintiff was exempted by the Act. Defendant urges, additionally, that if money so paid for redemption from sale is held to constitute 'taxes imposed' within the purview of the Act, Plaintiff still may not recover because the legislative intention of Congress was not to exempt the Plaintiff from the payment of taxes so as to entitle Plaintiff to recover back taxes paid, from the payment of which taxes Plaintiff, by the terms of the Act was exempted, but rather that said legislative intention was only to exempt Plaintiff from the payment of taxes, which as a result of a confusion in Corporate titles between two YMCA's in the District of Columbia, Plaintiff had never paid, but for the payment of which, legally, Plaintiff was liable.
Despite the references to excerpts from statements made during the course of the debate in the House of Representatives on the Act in question by the Chairman of the District of Columbia Committee in charge of the bill that 'all the bill does is to exempt the YMCA from paying taxes in the District of Columbia which they have never paid', the Court feels constrained to construe the bill in such a way as to effectuate its purpose as stated in the measure which is to relieve the YMCA 'from any accrued liability to * * * the District of Columbia for taxes imposed upon any of the property of such association located in the District of Columbia for any tax period during which such property was occupied and used by such association for it's legitimate purposes.' Statutes providing for exemptions from taxation of educational or benevolent organizations or similar organizations, unlike other tax exemption statutes, are to be construed liberally. Helvering v. Bliss, 293 U.S. 144, 55 S. Ct. 17, 79 L. Ed. 246; Faulkner v. Commissioner, 1 Cir., 112 F.2d 987; United States v. Proprietors of Social Law Library, 1 Cir., 102 F.2d 481; Cochran v. Commissioner, 4 Cir., 78 F.2d 176; Roche's Beach, Inc. v. Commissioner, 2 Cir., 96 F.2d 776; Bohemian Gymnastic Ass'n v. Higgins, 2 Cir., 147 F.2d 774, 777, and cases cited therein.
Under the rule of construction thus imposed, the Court construes Private Law 1026, 81st Congress, 2nd Session, the Act of September 27, 1950, as having the effect of relieving Plaintiff from taxation on the property in question for the period involved on so much of said property as was used by Plaintiff for it's legitimate purposes. The Court further interprets the Act as including within the terms 'accrued liability * * * for taxes imposed' any moneys paid by the Plaintiff Association for the redemption of it's property, used for it's legitimate purposes, from sale for non-payment of taxes thereon. The Court finds and holds that nine-elevenths of said property was used by the Plaintiff Association for it's legitimate purposes during the period of time involved herein; that said nine-elevenths of Plaintiff's property was exempt from taxation for said period and that Plaintiff is entitled to recover from the Defendant the amount so paid by Plaintiff to redeem said property, so exempted, from sale for non-payment of taxes.
Plaintiff, therefore, shall have and receive judgment against Defendant for an amount equal to nine-elevenths of the sum of $ 4110.45, representing taxes in the amount of $ 3,314.72, interest in the amount of $ 795.53 and recording charge of twenty cents, together with interest on said nine-elevenths of said sum of $ 4110.45 from December 16, 1947 and costs of this action.
Counsel for Plaintiff will prepare Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order consistent with this Memorandum Opinion.
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