It’s been an increasingly common trend: Conservation clubs like yours which have long been tax-exempt from local property tax assessments due to the public service they provide find themselves in the crosshairs of new assessors as local budgets tighten.
That’s not right. So Michigan United Conservation Clubs is doing something about it.
For the past few months, we’ve been working with legislators to craft legislation that would protect conservation clubs providing public services from unexpected new tax assessments. Yesterday, HB 5109 was introduced by Rep. Jim Tedder (R-Clarkston) with 22 co-sponsors to do just that!
(Photo: Tri-County Sportsmen's League)
The bill would exempt real property owned by a qualified conservation club from collection of local property taxes if:
- The facilities of the club are open to the public for charitable, nonprofit purposes at least 55 days each calendar year
- The primary purpose of the club is to educate the public in conservation, hunting, fishing, firearms safety or archery
Conservation clubs in Michigan provide a multitude of public services, from range time for local law enforcement, hunter’s safety instruction for local youth, meeting space for local boards and other nonprofit organizations, maintaining and improving fish and wildlife habitat, to educating the public about conservation, hunting, fishing, trapping and firearms safety. Many of these conservation clubs fill an additional public service to the State of Michigan through their support and affiliation with 501c3 charitable conservation organizations like Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
The public service provided by local conservation, rod and gun, sportsmen’s and archery clubs earned tax-exemptions in recognition for those valuable public services. Nonprofit conservation clubs often operate on a shoestring budget, and these improper tax bills threaten to shut many of them down, depriving local communities of the services they provide.
We’d like to know if your club has had an issue similar to this. If so, your club's story will be critical to passing this legislation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if your club has faced a situation like this.