From the NY Post:
The city is investigating how a Greek Orthodox church in Queens has avoided paying at least eight years’ worth of property taxes on a discount store it owns.
“We are investigating the case to determine what our options are,” Department of Finance spokesman Owen Stone said.
One city official said the back taxes would likely add up to several hundred-thousand dollars.
St. Demetrios Church, at 84-35 152nd St. in Jamaica, is also operating its Parsons Discount Store two blocks away without a Certificate of Occupancy, according to city records — a violation the Department of Buildings plans to review this week.
Records show the 85-year-old church has owned the store since 2004, but has never paid a dime to the city because it claimed the shop was a nonprofit, which would exempt it from property taxes. The city maintains the store is a profit-making business.
The Department of Finance started sending tax bills only earlier this year, after launching a citywide investigation into nonprofits scamming the city.
At that time, the church did not renew its nonprofit status for the store and was quickly issued a $19,202.81 bill, which is now past due.
One longtime member of the parish said investigators from both the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the IRS visited his home recently to ask questions about church finances. The DA declined comment and the IRS did not return calls for comment.