The issue of whether community radio stations should be taxed or not is a controversial one. It is certainly not an easy to tackle issue. For, on the one hand, you have the people who run the community radio stations, and they argue that they shouldn’t have to pay tax. They argue that their stations serve the respective communities, and therefore, like all community service organizations, they shouldn’t have to pay taxes. But we also have another school of thought that views the community radio stations as ‘businesses’ that should pay taxes (like all other commercial ventures).
In my view, it is impossible to come up with a one-size-fits-all answer to the question as to whether community radio stations should pay taxes. Therefore, in answering this question, we need to take a case by case approach. If a particular community radio station is run as a commercial venture, there is absolutely no reason as to why it shouldn’t pay taxes. This, for instance, applies if the station is one that solicits advertising revenue, and if it is aspires to make profits.
On the other hand, you may find a community radio station that is operated as a community service organization. So here, we would be looking at a community radio station that is solely funded through donations. In this case then, it wouldn’t make sense to have such a radio station pay taxes.
It gets complicated when you find a community radio station that is operated through both advertising revenues and donations. You see, there are community radio stations that are unable to raise enough money through advertising revenues. This is understandable, given the fact that the communities (audiences) they reach are modest in size. So, on top of the advertising revenues, they solicit donations. In my view, such community radio stations also shouldn’t have to pay taxes. That is because, notwithstanding the modest advertising revenues they rake in, they are (for the most part) donor-funded community service organizations.