Clapp, Jayne and Francis. The opinion of the court was delivered by Clapp, S.j.a.d.
The question brought up by this appeal is whether the Salvation Army Retired Officers' Home, Asbury Park, N.J., and the lots on which it is located, together with the personalty in it, all owned by The Salvation Army, a religious corporation of New Jersey, are entitled to an exemption under the property tax law. The City of Asbury Park imposed a tax thereon for the year 1954. The county board vacated the assessment, and the State Division affirmed. For a decision of the Division involving a prior year and premises formerly occupied by the Home, see City of Asbury Park v. Salvation Army , 26 N.J. Misc. 170 (Tax App. 1948). The city now appeals to us.
The Home is used primarily for Salvation Army officers, pensioned and retired because of old age or infirmity, though it is available also for Salvation Army workers and employees under like conditions. Those admitted must each contribute to the Home 75% of his pension from the Salvation Army (pensions run from $40 to $75 a month for each individual); and the deficit, which amounted in the fiscal year 1954 to 60% of the Home's expenses, is made up by The Salvation Army, a New York corporation.
The Home cares for the neediest cases. At the time of the hearing in the Division, 38 retired officers and two employees resided in it. There are about 5,000 officers of the Salvation Army in the United States, all ordained ministers, who receive compensation which is, generally speaking, less than that paid the employees. The demands of their work are very heavy, taxing their strength, physically and spiritually -- indeed so heavy as to have broken the health of the officers in a substantial number of cases and thus to have presented the organization with a serious problem. So the Home was conceived of as a means by which the Salvation Army could discharge in a measure its responsibilities to these persons as well as to those who arrive at old age in need after having given their lives in the service of its charitable endeavors.
The city's first and principal point is that the Home was not "actually and exclusively used in the work of" the corporation. N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.6. Reliance is put chiefly upon Township of Teaneck v. Lutheran Bible Institute , 20 N.J. 86 (1955). There the Lutheran Bible Institute was denied an exemption with respect to three residences belonging to it, which were located some two miles from the Institute and which were each occupied by a minister and his family. Each residence was the center of the minister's family life; this was its "predominant utility," as the Supreme Court put it. Only in a minor way did it enter into the "work" of the Institute. So if a manufacturing company happened to own the houses where its officers and their families lived, one would hardly say that these houses were "actually and exclusively used in the work" of the company. On the other hand, the operation of the Home constitutes the work of the religious corporation under consideration, or rather an important part of its work; and the building and land of the Home are "actually and exclusively used" in that work. The Teaneck case is plainly distinguishable.
On the oral argument before us, the city seemed to concede the force of this reasoning and to have somewhat shifted its position, arguing that if the certificate of incorporation of the respondent corporation had authorized the operation of this Home, the property would be exempt. The city in making this point relies upon that portion of N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.6 which refuses exemptions with respect to property used in the work of an association organized for charitable purposes, unless the association is a New Jersey corporation
" authorized to carry out the purposes on account of which the exemption is claimed." (Italics added)
This calls for a construction of the certificate of incorporation of the respondent, Salvation Army, in particular of these parts of it:
"FOURTH: That the objects for which said Corporation is formed, are as follows:
(a) For the worship of Almighty God and the preaching of the Gospel; to benefit the poor and needy by ministering to their needs and necessities; by assisting them to establish themselves in life by bringing their minds and hearts under the influence of education and of the Christian religion, by aiding the erring, the sick, the aged and homeless and by otherwise promoting their welfare according to the rules and regulations and doctrines and disciplines and usages of The Salvation Army and to carry on every kind of work necessary and incidental to the maintenance of such religious, educational, charitable and philanthropic work, but that all such work shall be conducted not for pecuniary profit.
(b) To take, to have and to hold and control all the temporalities and property, both real and personal, belonging to The Salvation Army in the State of New Jersey and upon the filing and recording of this Certificate to become the lawful Owner of any and all such property now held in the name of The Salvation Army, a Corporation under the Laws of the State of New York, and situate in the State of New Jersey, together with the revenues therefrom, and to see that the entire receipts, revenues and emoluments derived therefrom and from all the various branches of its work in the State of New Jersey are devoted exclusively to such religious, educational, charitable and ...