CS/HB 909

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to value adjustment boards; amending s.
3194.011, F.S.; requiring the Department of Revenue to
4develop a uniform policies and procedures manual for use
5in proceedings before value adjustment boards; specifying
6availability requirements for the manual; amending s.
7194.015, F.S.; revising the membership of value adjustment
8boards; providing requirements and limitations; deleting
9provisions relating to county attorneys as counsel for
10value adjustment boards; providing limitations on private
11counsel representation; amending s. 194.035, F.S.;
12applying to all counties a requirement that value
13adjustment boards appoint special magistrates for certain
14purposes; requiring value adjustment boards to verify the
15qualifications of special magistrates prior to
16appointment; providing selection criteria; providing
17duties of special magistrates; requiring the department to
18provide and conduct training for special magistrates;
19providing training requirements; amending s. 194.037,
20F.S.; revising required information in the disclosure of
21tax impact form to include certain additional information;
22providing legislative intent regarding standards in
23property assessment disputes; providing an effective date.
25Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
27     Section 1.  Subsection (5) of section 194.011, Florida
28Statutes, is amended to read:
29     194.011  Assessment notice; objections to assessments.--
30     (5)(a)  The department shall by rule prescribe uniform
31procedures for hearings before the value adjustment board which
32include requiring:
33     1.(a)  Procedures for the exchange of information and
34evidence by the property appraiser and the petitioner consistent
35with s. 194.032; and
36     2.(b)  That the value adjustment board hold an
37organizational meeting for the purpose of making these
38procedures available to petitioners.
39     (b)  The department shall develop a uniform policies and
40procedures manual that shall be used by value adjustment boards,
41special magistrates, and taxpayers in proceedings before value
42adjustment boards. The manual shall be made available, at a
43minimum, on the department's website and on the existing
44websites of the clerks of circuit courts.
45     Section 2.  Section 194.015, Florida Statutes, is amended
46to read:
47     194.015  Value adjustment board.--
48     (1)  There is hereby created a value adjustment board for
49each county, which shall consist of five members.
50     (2)(a)1.  Three members shall be appointed by of the
51governing body of the county as follows:
52     a.  One member must own a homestead property within the
54     b.  One member must own a business that occupies commercial
55space located within the county.
56     2.  One of such appointees elected from the membership of
57the board of said governing body, one of whom shall be elected
58chairperson., and
59     (b)1.  Two members shall be appointed by of the school
60board as follows:
61     a.  One member must own a business that occupies commercial
62space located within the school district.
63     b.  One member must be eligible to receive one or more of
64the exemptions under s. 6(c), (f), or (g), Art. VII of the State
65Constitution, regardless of whether the taxpayer's local
66government grants the additional local homestead exemptions.
67     (c)  An appointee may not be a member or an employee of any
68taxing authority and may not be a person who represents property
69owners in any administrative or judicial review of property
70taxes elected from the membership of the school board.
71     (3)  The members of the board shall attend all meetings of
72the value adjustment board to which appointed, unless excused by
73the chairperson or the governing body of the county. If a member
74accumulates one unexcused absence, the member may tender his or
75her resignation prior to a second unexcused absence, in which
76case the member shall be replaced by the appointing body with an
77individual who satisfies the original criteria for appointment.
78If a member accumulates two unexcused absences, the appointing
79body shall replace the member, and the replacement member may be
80a member of the appointing body may be temporarily replaced by
81other members of the respective boards on appointment by their
82respective chairpersons.
83     (4)  Any three members shall constitute a quorum of the
84board, except that each quorum must include at least one member
85of said governing board and at least one member of the school
86board, and no meeting of the board shall take place unless a
87quorum is present.
88     (5)  Members of the board may receive such per diem
89compensation as is allowed by law for state employees if both
90bodies elect to allow such compensation.
91     (6)  The clerk of the governing body of the county shall be
92the clerk of the value adjustment board. The office of the
93county attorney may be counsel to the board unless the county
94attorney represents the property appraiser, in which instance
95     (7)(a)  The board shall appoint private counsel who has
96practiced law for over 5 years and who shall receive such
97compensation as may be established by the board. The private
98counsel may not represent the property appraiser, the tax
99collector, any taxing authority, or any property owner in any
100administrative judicial review of property taxes.
101     (b)  Meetings No meeting of the board may not shall take
102place unless counsel to the board is present. However, counsel
103for the property appraiser shall not be required when the county
104attorney represents only the board at the board hearings, even
105though the county attorney may represent the property appraiser
106in other matters or at a different time.
107     (8)  Two-fifths of the expenses of the board shall be borne
108by the district school board and three-fifths by the district
109county commission.
110     Section 3.  Section 194.035, Florida Statutes, is amended
111to read:
112     194.035  Special magistrates; property evaluators.--
113     (1)  Each value adjustment In counties having a population
114of more than 75,000, the board shall appoint special magistrates
115for the purpose of taking testimony and making recommendations
116to the board, which recommendations the board may act upon
117without further hearing. These special magistrates may not be
118elected or appointed officials or employees of the county but
119shall be selected from a list of those qualified individuals who
120are willing to serve as special magistrates. Employees and
121elected or appointed officials of a taxing jurisdiction or of
122the state may not serve as special magistrates. The clerk of the
123board shall annually notify such individuals or their
124professional associations to make known to them that
125opportunities to serve as special magistrates exist. The
126Department of Revenue shall provide a list of qualified special
127magistrates to any county with a population of 75,000 or less.
128Subject to appropriation, the department shall reimburse
129counties with a population of 75,000 or less for payments made
130to special magistrates appointed for the purpose of taking
131testimony and making recommendations to the value adjustment
132board pursuant to this section. The department shall establish a
133reasonable range for payments per case to special magistrates
134based on such payments in other counties. Requests for
135reimbursement of payments outside this range shall be justified
136by the county. If the total of all requests for reimbursement in
137any year exceeds the amount available pursuant to this section,
138payments to all counties shall be prorated accordingly. A
139special magistrate appointed to hear issues of exemptions and
140classifications shall be a member of The Florida Bar with no
141less than 5 years' experience in the area of ad valorem
142taxation. A special magistrate appointed to hear issues
143regarding the valuation of real estate shall be a state
144certified real estate appraiser with not less than 5 years'
145experience in real property valuation. A special magistrate
146appointed to hear issues regarding the valuation of tangible
147personal property shall be a designated member of a nationally
148recognized appraiser's organization with not less than 5 years'
149experience in tangible personal property valuation. A special
150magistrate need not be a resident of the county in which he or
151she serves. A special magistrate may not represent a person
152before the board in any tax year during which he or she has
153served that board as a special magistrate. Before appointing a
154special magistrate, a value adjustment board shall verify the
155special magistrate's qualifications. The value adjustment board
156shall ensure that the selection of special magistrates is based
157solely upon the experience and qualifications of the special
158magistrate and is not influenced by the property appraiser. It
159is the duty of the special magistrate to accurately and
160completely preserve all testimony and, in making recommendations
161to the value adjustment board, the special magistrate shall
162include proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and
163reasons for upholding or overturning the determination of the
164property appraiser. The board shall appoint special magistrates
165from the list so compiled prior to convening of the board. The
166expense of hearings before magistrates and any compensation of
167special magistrates shall be borne three-fifths by the board of
168county commissioners and two-fifths by the school board.
169     (2)  The value adjustment board of each county may employ
170qualified property appraisers or evaluators to appear before the
171value adjustment board at that meeting of the board which is
172held for the purpose of hearing complaints. Such property
173appraisers or evaluators shall present testimony as to the just
174value of any property the value of which is contested before the
175board and shall submit to examination by the board, the
176taxpayer, and the property appraiser.
177     (3)  The department shall provide and conduct training for
178special magistrates at least once each year in at least five
179locations throughout the state. The training shall emphasize the
180department's standard measures of value, including the
181guidelines for real and tangible personal property.
182Notwithstanding the requirements in subsection (1), a person who
183has 3 years of relevant experience and who has completed the
184training provided by the department under this subsection may be
185appointed as a special magistrate. The training shall be open to
186the public.
187     Section 4.  Subsection (1) of section 194.037, Florida
188Statutes, is amended to read:
189     194.037  Disclosure of tax impact.--
190     (1)  After hearing all petitions, complaints, appeals, and
191disputes, the clerk shall make public notice of the findings and
192results of the board in at least a quarter-page size
193advertisement of a standard size or tabloid size newspaper, and
194the headline shall be in a type no smaller than 18 point. The
195advertisement shall not be placed in that portion of the
196newspaper where legal notices and classified advertisements
197appear. The advertisement shall be published in a newspaper of
198general paid circulation in the county. The newspaper selected
199shall be one of general interest and readership in the
200community, and not one of limited subject matter, pursuant to
201chapter 50. The headline shall read: TAX IMPACT OF VALUE
202ADJUSTMENT BOARD. The public notice shall list the members of
203the value adjustment board and the taxing authorities to which
204they are elected. The form shall show, in columnar form, for
205each of the property classes listed under subsection (2), the
206following information, with appropriate column totals:
207     (a)  In the first column, the number of parcels for which
208the board granted exemptions that had been denied or that had
209not been acted upon by the property appraiser.
210     (b)  In the second column, the number of parcels for which
211petitions were filed concerning a property tax exemption.
212     (c)  In the third column, the number of parcels for which
213the board considered the petition and reduced the assessment
214from that made by the property appraiser on the initial
215assessment roll.
216     (d)  In the fourth column, the number of parcels for which
217petitions were filed but which were not considered by the board
218because such petitions were withdrawn or settled prior to the
219board's consideration.
220     (e)(d)  In the fifth fourth column, the number of parcels
221for which petitions were filed requesting a change in assessed
222value, including requested changes in assessment classification.
223     (f)(e)  In the sixth fifth column, the net change in
224taxable value from the assessor's initial roll which results
225from board decisions.
226     (g)(f)  In the seventh sixth column, the net shift in taxes
227to parcels not granted relief by the board. The shift shall be
228computed as the amount shown in column 6 5 multiplied by the
229applicable millage rates adopted by the taxing authorities in
230hearings held pursuant to s. 200.065(2)(d) or adopted by vote of
231the electors pursuant to s. 9(b) or s. 12, Art. VII of the State
232Constitution, but without adjustment as authorized pursuant to
233s. 200.065(6). If for any taxing authority the hearing has not
234been completed at the time the notice required herein is
235prepared, the millage rate used shall be that adopted in the
236hearing held pursuant to s. 200.065(2)(c).
237     Section 5.  It is the express intent of the Legislature
238that a taxpayer shall never have the burden of proving that the
239property appraiser's assessment is not supported by any
240reasonable hypothesis of a legal assessment and all cases
241setting out such a standard were expressly rejected
242legislatively on the adoption of chapter 97-85, Laws of Florida.
243It is the further intent of the Legislature that any cases of
244law published since 1997 citing the every-reasonable-hypothesis
245standard are expressly rejected to the extent that they are
246interpretative of legislative intent.
247     Section 6.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2008.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.