The Supreme Judicial Court is set to hear arguments in
the case of New England Forestry Foundation, Inc. ("NEFF") v. Board of
Assessors of Hawley
issue before the Court is whether certain forest land owned by NEFF, a
land conservation group, qualifies for the charitable tax exemption under G. L.
c. 59, s. 5, cl. 3. The Appellate Tax Board decided that while NEFF's
purposes and activities might have constituted traditional charitable activities, the property was
not sufficiently open to and accessible by the public to qualify for
the tax benefit. The Court's decision could have enormous impact on
the financial health of the many land trusts in Massachusetts. Join
the Real Estate Legislation and Public Policy committee for a discussion on
this case and it's implications.