This is an appeal by the M.I.T. Student House, Inc. (hereinafter called the corporation) from a decision of the Appellate Tax Board sustaining an assessment on the real estate of the corporation at 111 Bay State Road for the year 1959. The corporation asserts that it is a charitable corporation and therefore entitled to an exemption by reason of G.L.c. 59, § 5. The Appellate Tax Board made "Findings of Fact and Report."
The facts do not appear to be in dispute. The corporation was established under G.L.c. 180 for the following purposes: "To help needy students, including those who otherwise could not afford to attend, secure an education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by providing the facilities for and maintaining an M.I.T. Student House, or M.I.T. Student Houses, which shall offer room and board in clean healthful surroundings to said students at a cost which is less than that otherwise available to them at said
The premises are occupied in strict conformity with the aims and purposes as set out in the corporation's charter and by-laws. Any person may become a member by payment of $50, but no part of the corporation's funds inures to the benefit of any member or officer of the corporation. The annual budget figure is set by the board of directors of the corporation, and is submitted to the students who live at the student house and who as a group are obligated to pay this figure to the corporation. The students have their own management system and "do all of their own work except that they do hire a cook." Students who are to live at the student house are selected by an admission committee from a list of needy students supplied by the dean of student aid at M.I.T. The cost to the student is approximately $200 less than if he were to live in an M.I.T. dormitory. The Appellate Tax Board found "that the dominant purpose and activity of the corporation is affording needy and deserving students a dormitory and boarding house."
The sole issue before us is whether the corporation is exempt from taxation of its property under G.L.c. 59, § 5, Third, the pertinent portion of which provides and exempts "Personal property of a charitable organization, which term, as used in this clause, shall mean ..., a literary, benevolent, charitable or scientific institution ... incorporated in the commonwealth,... and real estate owned by or held in trust for a charitable organization and occupied by it or its officers for the purposes for which it is organized...."
The board of assessors contends that the corporation is not a "literary, benevolent, charitable or scientific institution" as those words are used in G.L.c. 59, § 5, Third, and relies on the case of Phi Beta Epsilon Corp. v. Boston,
The board of assessors also contends that the finding of the Appellate Tax Board that the "premises are occupied and utilized" by the corporation is "unsupported by substantial evidence" and that "this general finding is qualified and controlled by other findings of specific or subsidiary facts."
Because the individual students participate in the management of the house and pay for the use of the house as a
The decision of the Appellate Tax Board is reversed, and an abatement of the 1959 tax must be granted in the amount of $1,771 with interest and costs.