Texas Tax Code § 11.20. Religious Organizations

(a) An organization that qualifies as a religious organization as provided by Subsection (c) is entitled to an exemption from taxation of:

(1) the real property that is owned by the religious organization, is used primarily as a place of regular religious worship, and is reasonably necessary for engaging in religious worship;

(2) the tangible personal property that is owned by the religious organization and is reasonably necessary for engaging in worship at the place of worship specified in Subdivision (1);

(3) the real property that is owned by the religious organization and is reasonably necessary for use as a residence (but not more than one acre of land for each residence) if the property:

(A) is used exclusively as a residence for those individuals whose principal occupation is to serve in the clergy of the religious organization;  and

(B) produces no revenue for the religious organization;

(4) the tangible personal property that is owned by the religious organization and is reasonably necessary for use of the residence specified by Subdivision (3);

(5) the real property owned by the religious organization consisting of:

(A) an incomplete improvement that is under active construction or other physical preparation and that is designed and intended to be used by the religious organization as a place of regular religious worship when complete;  and

(B) the land on which the incomplete improvement is located that will be reasonably necessary for the religious organization's use of the improvement as a place of regular religious worship;

(6) the land that the religious organization owns for the purpose of expansion of the religious organization's place of regular religious worship or construction of a new place of regular religious worship if:

(A) the religious organization qualifies other property, including a portion of the same tract or parcel of land, owned by the organization for an exemption under Subdivision (1) or (5);  and

(B) the land produces no revenue for the religious organization;  and

(7) the real property owned by the religious organization that is leased to another person and used by that person for the operation of a school that qualifies as a school under Section 11.21(d) .

(b) An organization that qualifies as a religious organization as provided by Subsection (c) of this section is entitled to an exemption from taxation of those endowment funds the organization owns that are used exclusively for the support of the religious organization and are invested exclusively in bonds, mortgages, or property purchased at a foreclosure sale for the purpose of satisfying or protecting the bonds or mortgages.  However, foreclosure-sale property that is held by an endowment fund for longer than the two-year period immediately following purchase at the foreclosure sale is not exempt from taxation.

(c) To qualify as a religious organization for the purposes of this section, an organization (whether operated by an individual, as a corporation, or as an association) must:

(1) be organized and operated primarily for the purpose of engaging in religious worship or promoting the spiritual development or well-being of individuals;

(2) be operated in a way that does not result in accrual of distributable profits, realization of private gain resulting from payment of compensation in excess of a reasonable allowance for salary or other compensation for services rendered, or realization of any other form of private gain;

(3) use its assets in performing the organization's religious functions or the religious functions of another religious organization;  and

(4) by charter, bylaw, or other regulation adopted by the organization to govern its affairs direct that on discontinuance of the organization by dissolution or otherwise the assets are to be transferred to this state, the United States, or a charitable, educational, religious, or other similar organization that is qualified as a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3), Internal Revenue Code of 1954 , as amended.  1

(d) Use of property that qualifies for the exemption prescribed by Subsection (a)(1) or (2) or by Subsection (h)(1) for occasional secular purposes other than religious worship does not result in loss of the exemption if the primary use of the property is for religious worship and all income from the other use is devoted exclusively to the maintenance and development of the property as a place of religious worship.

(e) For the purposes of this section, “religious worship” means individual or group ceremony or meditation, education, and fellowship, the purpose of which is to manifest or develop reverence, homage, and commitment in behalf of a religious faith.

(f) A property may not be exempted under Subsection (a)(5) for more than three years.

(g) For purposes of Subsection (a)(5), an incomplete improvement is under physical preparation if the religious organization has engaged in architectural or engineering work, soil testing, land clearing activities, or site improvement work necessary for the construction of the improvement or has conducted an environmental or land use study relating to the construction of the improvement.

(h) Property owned by this state or a political subdivision of this state, including a leasehold or other possessory interest in the property, that is held or occupied by an organization that qualifies as a religious organization as provided by Subsection (c) is entitled to an exemption from taxation if the property:

(1) is used by the organization primarily as a place of regular religious worship and is reasonably necessary for engaging in religious worship;  or

(2) meets the qualifications for an exemption under Subsection (a)(5).

(i) For purposes of the exemption provided by Subsection (h), the religious organization may apply for the exemption and take other action relating to the exemption as if the organization owned the property.

(j) A tract of land that is contiguous to the tract of land on which the religious organization's place of regular religious worship is located may not be exempted under Subsection (a)(6) for more than six years.  A tract of land that is not contiguous to the tract of land on which the religious organization's place of regular religious worship is located may not be exempted under Subsection (a)(6) for more than three years.  For purposes of this subsection, a tract of land is considered to be contiguous with another tract of land if the tracts are divided only by a road, railroad track, river, or stream.

(k) For purposes of Subsection (a)(6), an application or statement accompanying an application for the exemption stating that the land is owned for the purposes described by Subsection (a)(6) and signed by an authorized officer of the organization is sufficient to establish that the land is owned for those purposes.

1 26 U.S.C.A. § 501(c)(3).

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