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Nonprofit hospitals’ huge tax breaks under increasing scrutiny

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 24, 2011

BJC Healthcare, which operates Barnes-Jewish Hospital and a dozen others in Missouri and Illinois, owns property worth about $1.5 billion. But it pays few property taxes. The health system reported total revenue of $3.6 billion last year and operating earnings of $200 million but paid no corporate income taxes on its nonprofit operations. BJC and its foundations have investment portfolios totaling about $3 billion, with investment earnings of $372 million last year — but pay no capital gains taxes. The system also enjoys exemptions from state and local sales taxes on hundreds of millions of dollars in purchases of medical supplies and equipment.