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July 26, 2010; Source: New Haven Independent | Sometimes the off-handed remarks of politicians and reporters, frequently blended together in an unattributed mash-up, tell you important things.  In this article covering tax assessment mistakes of New Haven’s tax assessor, the lede is scary:  “New Haven’s tax office will visit more small businesses and putative not-for-profits before raising their tax assessments.”

Putative?  That means that the City Council is visiting or revisiting whether nonprofits are really nonprofits for municipal tax purposes.  It sounds like nonprofits might get a knock on the door and an unscheduled on-site investigation by the Tax Assessor’s office, which has become a focal point for complaints from citizens who feel that the Assessor has pretty much botched things up.

But what are “putative not-for-profits?”  Buried deep in the article is a throwaway about 13 “small businesses” that lost their tax exemptions for municipal tax purposes.  Apparently, once the city determines a nonprofit isn’t a nonprofit, it becomes a small business.  One way or the other, it sounds like New Haven, home to tax exempt Yale University, may be looking to increase the number of plots that it can classify as no longer nonprofit and therefore taxable.—Rick Cohen