The town of Princeton is siding with Princeton University in lawsuits regarding the school’s tax-exempt status.
Four Princeton residents have filed two lawsuits, one challenging the tax-exempt status of various Princeton University properties in the 2011 tax year, and the second challenging Princeton University’s tax exemption in the 2014 tax year.
The municipality is a defendant in the case, and officials have argued that means the town must therefore side with the school. The lawyer for the residents has said the town’s position is ridiculous and that being named as a defendant does not mean the municipality must side with the school.
Tax Court Judge Vito Bianco yesterday rejected the University’s claim that the burden of proof in the case should be on the four residents who are challenging the tax exemption.
The lawyer for the residents, Bruce Afran, successfully argued that the burden of proof is always with the party claiming an exemption from taxation, and not with the party challenging the granting of an exemption.
The municipality did not submit a brief either in support of, or in opposition to, Princeton’s motion. But during oral arguments in September, the municipality’s lawyer argued in support of the motion, according to the judge’s ruling.