MIAMI (AP) – A historic Miami church is fighting back after being hit with a $7 million dollar property tax bill.
The Miami-Dade Property Appraiser claims First Presbyterian Church of Miami has violated its religious exemption status by leasing a part of the church to a for-profit school and food trucks.
Tuition at the school costs about $16,000 a year. The Miami Herald reports the church belongs to the oldest organized congregation in the city.
The taxes only apply to about 30 percent of the property said to be in violation.
Church attorneys say the school is motivated by the church’s sincere religious beliefs and that the church’s constitutional rights are being violated.
The church sits on more than three acres of valuable waterfront land. The market value is estimated at $86 million.
The church has filed a lawsuit asking a jury to decide.
The property appraiser declined comment.