In August 2010, the City of Mission City Council established a Transportation Utility Fee. All property within city limits that had improvements--such as buildings, landscaping, outside storage, or parking lots--were subject to the fee, which functioned as an additional property tax. The amount of the tax was calculated by estimating the average number of vehicle trips generated by a property. Churches were assessed 5.8 total estimated weekly vehicle trips per worship facility seat to calculate the tax amount.
The ordinance applied the tax to all properties in the city, even those that were exempt from property taxes under state law.
ADF filed suit in December, 2010, on behalf of the First Baptist Church of Mission and the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas. Both First Baptist, and a Catholic Parish, St. Pius X, were assessed taxes under the Transportation Utility Fee ordinance.
In September, 2011, the City settled the case by exempting all non-profit organizations, including churches, from the driveway tax.
What's at stake
The ability of a church to be free from illegal taxation.
Our role in this case
ADF filed a lawsuit on behalf of First Baptist Church of Mission and St. Pius X Catholic Church, challenging the driveway tax as an illegal property tax.