(a) Findings.--The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
(1) It is in the best interest of this Commonwealth and its citizens that the recognition of tax-exempt status be accomplished in an orderly, uniform and economical manner.
(2) For more than 100 years, it has been the policy of this Commonwealth to foster the organization and operation of institutions of purely public charity by exempting them from taxation.
(3) Because institutions of purely public charity contribute to the common good or lessen the burden of government, the historic policy of exempting these institutions from taxation should be continued.
(4) Lack of specific legislative standards defining the term “institutions of purely public charity” has led to increasing confusion and confrontation among traditionally tax-exempt institutions and political subdivisions to the detriment of the public.
(5) There is increasing concern that the eligibility standards for charitable tax exemptions are being applied inconsistently, which may violate the uniformity provision of the Constitution of Pennsylvania.
(6) Recognizing the interest of the taxpayers in a fair and equitable system of property tax assessment and the attendant statutory requirements for the political subdivision responsible for maintaining real property assessment rolls to administer the system of property assessment, this act shall not in any way limit the responsibilities, prerogatives or abilities of political subdivisions with respect to the determination of or challenges to the taxable status of a parcel of property based on the use of the parcel or part of the parcel of property.
(7) Institutions of purely public charity benefit substantially from local government services. These institutions have significant value to the Commonwealth and its citizens, and the need exists for revenues to maintain local government services provided for the benefit of all citizens, including institutions of purely public charity. It is the intent of this act to encourage financially secure institutions of purely public charity to enter into voluntary agreements or maintain existing or continuing agreements for the purpose of defraying some of the cost of various local government services. Payments made under such agreements shall be deemed to be in compliance with any fiduciary obligation pertaining to such institutions of purely public charity, its officers or directors.
(b) Intent.--It is the intent of the General Assembly to eliminate inconsistent application of eligibility standards for charitable tax exemptions, reduce confusion and confrontation among traditionally tax-exempt institutions and political subdivisions and ensure that charitable and public funds are not unnecessarily diverted from the public good to litigate eligibility for tax-exempt status by providing standards to be applied uniformly in all proceedings throughout this Commonwealth for determining eligibility for exemption from State and local taxation which are consistent with traditional legislative and judicial applications of the constitutional term “institutions of purely public charity.”
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