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U.S. District Court Finds Mayo Clinic Qualifies as an “Educational Organization”; Awards $11.5M UBTI Refund


Tax-exempt organizations, while not generally subject to tax, are subject to tax on their “unrelated business taxable income” (“UBTI”).  One category of UBTI is debt-financed income; that is, a tax-exempt organization that borrows money directly or through a partnership and uses that money to make an investment is generally subject to tax on a portion of the income or gain from that investment.[1]  However, under section 514(c)(9),[2] “educational organizations” are not subject to tax on their debt-financed income from certain real estate investments.

The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota is one of the country’s leading hospitals.  Between 2003 and 2012, the Mayo Clinic was a partner in a partnership that borrowed money to make real estate investments.[3]

On November 22, 2022, U.S. District Court for the district of Minnesota held that the Mayo Clinic qualified as an educational organization within the meaning of section 514(c)(9) and, therefore, was not subject to tax on the debt-financed income from the partnership.[4]

To read the full post, please visit our Not For Profit/Exempt Organizations Blog.


[1] IRC §§ 511(a), 512, 514(a)(1).

[2] All references to section numbers are to the Internal Revenue Code, unless otherwise specified.

[3] Mayo Clinic v. United States, 412 F. Supp. 3d 1038, 1042-43 (D. Minn. 2019).

[4] Mayo Clinic v. United States, 2022 BL 419596 (D. Minn. Nov. 22, 2022).


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