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New task force created with initial charge of modernizing PILOT program community benefits

The Task Force will revisit and modernize the current voluntary Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) payment program for Boston’s charitable institutions

Mayor Kim Janey today announced the City of Boston will be creating and launching a Task Force to revisit and modernize the current voluntary Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) payment program for Boston’s charitable institutions. Its initial charge will be to improve and strengthen the Community Benefits component of the PILOT program. 

The City of Boston has one of the nation’s leading PILOT programs, which seeks cash contributions from academic, medical and cultural institutions that own real estate otherwise exempt from property taxes. This program offers tax-exempt institutions an opportunity to voluntarily support basic City services and other important programs in acknowledgment of the unique relationship between the City and its major nonprofits. PILOT contributions go into the City’s general fund, the source for City expenditures, including education, snow removal, street repair, fire, and police. The PILOT program includes potential credits for Community Benefits, which allow institutions to offset a portion of their cash payment by demonstrating and documenting ways they support the City and its residents through their charitable missions. The City currently caps the Community Benefits credit to reflect the City’s operational needs for vital City services to all residents.

“I am launching the 2021 PILOT Task Force as part of my commitment to lead an equitable recovery in the City of Boston,” said Mayor Janey. “New voices and new frameworks create new opportunities to make our city stronger. Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic exemplifies the importance of City partnerships with community organizations and institutions to serve residents and ensure a recovery and renewal that includes all of our communities.”

The 2021 PILOT Task Force will include institutional partners, elected officials, community advocates, labor leaders, and residents. As a collective, the City of Boston and the Task Force will be charged with revisiting the existing program, and developing ideas to address the shared needs of Boston residents, incorporate community voices, strengthen partnerships between the City and its institutions, and examine the Community Benefits credit. The City of Boston will formally launch and convene the Task Force in the summer of 2021 with anticipated meetings through the fall and winter.

Under the framework established by the 2010 PILOT Task Force, Community Benefits must be within the following parameters to qualify:

  • Directly benefit City of Boston residents. 
  • Support the City’s mission and priorities with the idea in mind that the City would support such an initiative in its budget if the institution did not provide it. 
  • Emphasize ways in which the City and the institution can collaborate to address shared goals. 
  • Services should be quantifiable. 
  • The City must be consistent and transparent in its approach so that institutions can plan appropriately. 

Examples of PILOT Community Benefits programs specifically named by the 2010 PILOT Task Force include academic scholarships, job training initiatives, and programs that address health disparities, along with many others. 

In FY20, 37 institutions submitted PILOT Community Benefits reports totaling $153.2 million and received $52.9 million in Community Benefits credit. Institutions partnered with over 530 local organizations to implement these programs citywide. Learn more about the FY20 PILOT Community Benefits.

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