The Lincoln Institute publishes an on-line magazine called Land Lines, and this month it has an article on Boston’s experience implementing PILOT’s for non-profits. Boston only ask non-profits with over $15 m. in real estate to pay, and the article says they use the following formula to determine the amount of the ask -
“Determining PILOT Payments
Many alternatives were considered for the basis of PILOT contributions, including a per-student or per-hospital-bed fee, or a charge based on the amount of land or building area. The Task Force determined that a charge driven by the assessed value of the institutions—reflecting size and quality of real estate holdings—would result in the most equity. There was a general consensus that nonprofits should contribute some amount toward their consumption of essential services such as police and fire protection, as well as public works such as street cleaning and snow removal. These services consume approximately 25 percent of Boston’s budget, and the Task Force found that a PILOT equal to 25 percent of an institution’s fully taxable amount was reasonable.
Credit for Community Benefits
The public benefit provided by nonprofit institutions was a major focus of the Task Force, which recommended that institutions receive up to a 50 percent credit on their PILOT in exchange for community benefits. This credit recognized the significant inkind contributions made by nonprofit institutions that directly benefit Boston residents. The credit was limited to 50 percent of the PILOT amount to ensure significant cash contributions from each institution. However, the Task Force felt that if an exceptional opportunity for a program or service were available, the 50 percent cap could be exceeded at the city’s discretion.
While the Task Force did not offer detailed specifics on the services that were eligible for PILOT credit, it did provide general guidance on the types of services that should qualify. To be eligible, community services must directly benefit City of Boston residents, support the city’s mission and priorities, offer ways for the city and nonprofit to collaborate to meet shared goals, and be quantifiable.”