County Allows Muslims to Pay Fees, Not Taxes

July 22, 2000

Source: Star Tribune

On July 22, 2000, the Star Tribune published an article about a plan that has been approved in Hennepin County which would allow Muslims and others prohibited by religious law to find a way around paying taxes on their property. "What we've done would make an agreement with the purchaser of the property to charge a fee in addition to the purchase price rather than charging interest plus the purchase price," said Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Robert Burck. While intended for "Muslims and Orthodox Jews who feel that it's against their religious convictions" to pay interest, Burck said the program is open to anyone. He said the buyer's fee is calculated by determining the maximum amount of interest that can be charged under the state statute and charging that amount as a one-time fee. "At this point in time, any purchase using this alternative financing contract would be more expensive than using an interest-bearing contract," he said. "All they have to do is pay more money...I consider this a unique, precedent-setting experiment that well may be repeated in other units of government throughout the country...I think that the county's embraced the concept and worked very hard to give all of its residents the opportunity to participate."