Baptists in Bexar County, Texas, face a number of unique challenges when it comes to securing tax exemptions. These include a lack of evidence that their parking lots are used primarily for religious purposes and a lack of understanding of the laws in force in their state. The First Baptist Church of San Antonio (the church) is located in downtown San Antonio, across from Valero Realty Company (Valero). This church has faced a number of obstacles in its efforts to receive tax exemptions.
Despite their best efforts, they have been unable to secure these exemptions due to a lack of evidence that their parking lots are used primarily for religious purposes. In this case, it was Valero Realty Company, not the First Baptist Church of San Antonio, that was granted a tax exemption on valuable downtown properties. After being denied exemptions, the church pursued all administrative remedies and filed lawsuits against the Appraisal District and the Bexar County Review Board for fiscal years 1984, 1985 and 1986. In Central Baptist Church, the court explained that the church owned an entire block in downtown Miami. The law in force in Florida at Central Baptist Church was in line with the state's constitution by providing tax exemptions for places of public worship. Antonio and the seven contiguous counties of Texas have faced a number of challenges together. The Appraisal District and the Bexar County Review Board raised several points of error, but the appellate court held that there was no evidence that the parking lots were used primarily for religious purposes, and thus reversed its decision.
The Appraisal District and the Bexar County Review Board filed other points of error with the appellate court, but these were not considered due to the court's incorrect conclusion. In order to overcome these obstacles, churches must be diligent in their efforts to provide evidence that their parking lots are used primarily for religious purposes and must be aware of any changes to the laws in their state. Churches should also consider seeking legal advice from experienced attorneys who can help them navigate the complex legal landscape surrounding tax exemptions.