Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pitt Medical Center, Other Hospitals Evade Taxes

My opinion: This whole tax-exemption issue is not just prevalent in Pittsburgh, but it probably occurs in places all over America.  In Cleveland, the Cleveland Clinic has avoided taxes for years, claiming that it is a non-profit institution.  This applies not only to the main campus in Cleveland, but to its numberous facilities in suburban Cleveland, as well.  Once, the hospital bought up one of the big business areas in my hometown without telling mayor - it came as a surprise.  The lawsuits with the Clinic have been going on for years and have no end in sight.  I guess these cases reveal that many companies and instutitions may get away as a "non-profits," even if they don't seem to follow non-profit standards.  In other words, perhaps society defines non-profit different than do the laws.  Society deems non-profits as those that make less revenue and are big on charitable acts, but legally, maybe this isn't true?  With this in mind, it would be interesting to see all the other large corporations that maintain a non-profit status.  Should the laws be changed to reflect society's notion of non-profits?  Feel free to comment. 


Medical center fires back in dispute over tax-exempt status

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, file. REUTERS Jason Cohn
By Terry Baynes
(Reuters) - The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, accused by the City of Pittsburgh of not deserving its status as a tax-exempt charitable institution, has fired back with its own suit, alleging that Pittsburgh violated the healthcare center's constitutional rights.
In a lawsuit filed on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the university medical center claimed that Pittsburgh violated its rights to equal protection and due process, and to engage in interstate and international commerce.
Friday's suit was responding to a March 20 case filed by the city and its mayor, Luke Ravenstahl, in a Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas. The lawsuit accused UPMC, the city's largest employer and landowner, of failing to meet a five-part test for tax-exempt nonprofits established by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The medical center donates less than 2 percent of its net patient revenues of over $5.7 billion to patients eligible for financial assistance, the city said in a statement when it filed the lawsuit. Dozens of its affiliates are for-profit businesses that do not donate any of their services, and the center has closed hospitals in underserved communities while opening others in high-income areas, the city said. The city is seeking to recover payroll taxes from the center for the past six years.


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