Appeal from the Circuit Court for Baltimore County (Raine, J.).
The cause was argued before Brune, C. J., and Henderson, Prescott, Horney and Marbury, JJ.
PRESCOTT, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.
This is an appeal from an order of the Circuit Court of Baltimore County entered on December 7, 1960, reversing in part an order of the Maryland Tax Court by holding that Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society, Inc. (hereinafter sometimes called the "Society") must pay ordinary
(property) taxes for the year 1959 on that portion of its property used to conduct horse racing as a feature attraction of the Maryland State Fair.
The case originated in the Appeal Tax Court of Baltimore County which divided the Fair Grounds owned by the Society into what that court designated as "Exhibition Section" and "Race Track Section." The Appeal Tax Court held that the Society was exempt by the Code (1957 and 1960 Cum. Supp.), Article 81, Section 9 (7) and (8) from paying property taxes on the "Exhibition Section," but that it must pay taxes on land and improvements which that court listed in the "Race Track Section."
The Maryland Tax Court held that the Society is entitled to an exemption as to "all of the 83.410 acres of land [the acreage being stipulated] and improvements erected thereon owned by the Society at Timonium." This, of course, included both the "Exhibition Section" and the "Race Track Section."
The Circuit Court of Baltimore County affirmed the Maryland Tax Court in holding that the Society is a non-profit educational and charitable institution, exempt from property taxes under Article 81, Section 9 (7) and (8), but reversed the Maryland Tax Court in part by holding that the Society is taxable on most of the property which the Appeal Tax Court had listed under the designation "Race Track Section." Under the decision of the Circuit Court, the Society must pay taxes for the year 1959 on 42.961 acres of the Fair Grounds and on certain improvements of which the grandstand, race track, bleachers, four stables and jockeys' quarters are the principal items. The record does not clearly show that the midway was included in this 42.961 acres, but we were informed during argument that it was.
The Society was organized in 1950 by a group of altruistic and public-spirited citizens to purchase the Fair Grounds and preserve the State Fair when the Maryland Jockey Club threatened to sell the property for use as an industrial site. A large number of citizens of Maryland subscribed to $600,000 in bonds to purchase the Fair Grounds for $500,000
and to provide $100,000 in working capital. The certificate of incorporation states the purposes to be:
"the acquisition and operation of Maryland State Fair Grounds (known as Timonium Fair Grounds), Baltimore County, Maryland in the best interests of those engaged in agricultural, horticultural and related pursuits; the betterment of the conditions of those engaged in agricultural and horticultural pursuits, the improvement of the grade of their products, and the development of a higher degree of efficiency in their respective occupations; the conduct of a Maryland State Fair at Maryland State Fair Grounds to encourage the development of better agricultural and horticultural products through a system of awards; the education and instruction of those engaged in agricultural and horticultural pursuits; the conduct of such other entertainments, amusements, contests, horse shows, horse racing and trials of speed, expositions and other activities at Maryland State Fair Grounds as may aid and assist the aforesaid purposes; and any business or objects designed or calculated to aid, assist or achieve these purposes."
The Society has operated since 1950 in accordance with these declared purposes, and no dividend or distribution has ever been declared, or paid to stockholders. No director or officer has ever been paid any salary or other compensation, except the general manager, who is a year round employee.
The question for our determination is whether the Society's exemption from property taxes under Subsections (7) and and (8), mentioned above, applies to all of the land and improvements constituting the Maryland State Fair Grounds, or only a part thereof?
The appellee asserts that under the provisions of said Subsections 7 and 8 there are four elements in the test which the property of the appellant must meet before it qualifies for the privilege of exemption from taxation: (1) The property must be that of an educational or charitable institution, (2)
no part of the net income (with an exception not here pertinent) of the institution can inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual; (3) the property must be actually used by the educational or charitable institution; (4) and the use of the property must be reasonably necessary for the charitable or educational work of the institution. We agree.*fn1
Appellee concedes that the appellant is either an "educational" or "charitable" institution, or both, compare 36 Op. A.G. 303, and that the appellant and the use of its property meet the requirements of (2) and (3); but the appellee earnestly contends that the use of that portion of appellant's property, ruled by the court below to be taxable, is not reasonably necessary for the charitable ...