CS/HB 909

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to ad valorem taxation; amending s.
3193.011, F.S.; clarifying factors that a property
4appraiser must consider in deriving just valuation;
5amending s. 193.461, F.S.; revising criteria for
6classifying agricultural lands; amending s. 194.011, F.S.;
7requiring the Department of Revenue to develop a uniform
8policies and procedures manual for use in proceedings
9before value adjustment boards; specifying availability
10requirements for such manual; amending s. 194.035, F.S.;
11requiring certain persons in certain counties to attend
12special magistrate training under certain circumstances;
13providing a fee exemption; requiring value adjustment
14boards to verify the qualifications of special magistrates
15prior to appointment; providing selection criteria;
16requiring the department to provide and conduct training
17for special magistrates; providing training requirements;
18requiring the department to charge tuition fees; providing
19for deposit of such fees; amending s. 194.037, F.S.;
20revising information required to be provided on the
21disclosure of tax impact form; providing legislative
22intent; specifying that taxpayers are precluded from
23having certain burdens of proof; amending s. 195.002,
24F.S.; conforming provisions to changes made by the act;
25amending s. 195.052, F.S.; specifying requirements for
26data to be published by the Department of Revenue;
27extending the publication period; providing an effective
30Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
32     Section 1.  Section 193.011, Florida Statutes, is amended
33to read:
34     193.011  Factors to consider in deriving just
35valuation.--In arriving at just valuation as required under s.
364, Art. VII of the State Constitution, the property appraiser
37shall take into consideration the following factors:
38     (1)  The present cash value of the property, which is the
39amount a willing purchaser would pay a willing seller, exclusive
40of reasonable fees and costs of purchase, in cash or the
41immediate equivalent thereof in a transaction at arm's length;
42     (2)  The highest and best use to which the property can be
43expected to be put in the immediate future and the present use
44of the property, taking into consideration the legally
45permissible use of the property, including any applicable
46judicial limitation, local or state land use regulation, or
47historic preservation ordinance, and any zoning changes,
48concurrency requirements, and permits necessary to achieve the
49highest and best use, and considering any moratorium imposed by
50executive order, law, ordinance, regulation, resolution, or
51proclamation adopted by any governmental body or agency or the
52Governor when the moratorium or judicial limitation prohibits or
53restricts the development or improvement of property as
54otherwise authorized by applicable law. The applicable
55governmental body or agency or the Governor shall notify the
56property appraiser in writing of any executive order, ordinance,
57regulation, resolution, or proclamation it adopts imposing any
58such limitation, regulation, or moratorium;
59     (3)  The location of said property;
60     (4)  The quantity or size of said property;
61     (5)  The cost of said property and the present replacement
62value of any improvements thereon;
63     (6)  The condition of said property;
64     (7)  The income from said property; and
65     (8)  The net proceeds of the sale of the property, as
66received by the seller, after deduction of all of the usual and
67reasonable fees and costs of the sale, including the costs and
68expenses of financing, and allowance for unconventional or
69atypical terms of financing arrangements. When the net proceeds
70of the sale of any property are utilized, directly or
71indirectly, in the determination of just valuation of realty of
72the sold parcel or any other parcel under the provisions of this
73section, the property appraiser, for the purposes of such
74determination, shall exclude any portion of such net proceeds
75attributable to payments for household furnishings or other
76items of personal property.
77     Section 2.  Paragraph (b) of subsection (3) of section
78193.461, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
79     193.461  Agricultural lands; classification and assessment;
80mandated eradication or quarantine program.--
81     (3)
82     (b)  Subject to the restrictions set out in this section,
83only lands which are used primarily for bona fide agricultural
84purposes shall be classified agricultural. "Bona fide
85agricultural purposes" means good faith commercial agricultural
86use of the land. In determining whether the use of the land for
87agricultural purposes is bona fide, the following factors may be
88taken into consideration:
89     1.  The length of time the land has been so used. utilized;
90     2.  Whether the use has been continuous.;
91     3.  The purchase price paid.;
92     4.  Size, as it relates to specific agricultural use, but
93in no event shall a minimum acreage be required for agricultural
95     5.  Whether an indicated effort has been made to care
96sufficiently and adequately for the land in accordance with
97accepted commercial agricultural practices, including, without
98limitation, fertilizing, liming, tilling, mowing, reforesting,
99and other accepted agricultural practices.;
100     6.  Whether such land is under lease and, if so, the
101effective length, terms, and conditions of the lease.; and
102     7.  Such other factors as may from time to time become
104     Section 3.  Subsection (5) of section 194.011, Florida
105Statutes, is amended to read:
106     194.011  Assessment notice; objections to assessments.--
107     (5)(a)  The department shall by rule prescribe uniform
108procedures for hearings before the value adjustment board which
109include requiring:
110     1.(a)  Procedures for the exchange of information and
111evidence by the property appraiser and the petitioner consistent
112with s. 194.032.; and
113     2.(b)  That the value adjustment board hold an
114organizational meeting for the purpose of making these
115procedures available to petitioners.
116     (b)  The department shall develop a uniform policies and
117procedures manual that shall be used by value adjustment boards,
118special magistrates, and taxpayers in proceedings before value
119adjustment boards. The manual shall be made available, at a
120minimum, on the department's website and on the existing
121websites of the clerks of circuit courts.
122     Section 4.  Section 194.015, Florida Statutes, is amended
123to read:
124     194.015  Value adjustment board.--There is hereby created a
125value adjustment board for each county, which shall consist of
126two three members of the governing body of the county as elected
127from the membership of the board of said governing body, one of
128whom shall be elected chairperson, and one member two members of
129the school board as elected from the membership of the school
130board, and two citizen members, one of whom shall be appointed
131by the governing body of the county and must own homestead
132property within the county and one of whom must be appointed by
133the school board and must own a business occupying commercial
134space located within the school district. A citizen member may
135not be a member or an employee of any taxing authority, and may
136not be a person who represents property owners in any
137administrative or judicial review of property taxes. The members
138of the board may be temporarily replaced by other members of the
139respective boards on appointment by their respective
140chairpersons. Any three members shall constitute a quorum of the
141board, except that each quorum must include at least one member
142of said governing board, and at least one member of the school
143board, and at least one citizen member and no meeting of the
144board shall take place unless a quorum is present. Members of
145the board may receive such per diem compensation as is allowed
146by law for state employees if both bodies elect to allow such
147compensation. The clerk of the governing body of the county
148shall be the clerk of the value adjustment board. The office of
149the county attorney may be counsel to the board unless the
150county attorney represents the property appraiser, in which
151instance The board shall appoint private counsel who has
152practiced law for over 5 years and who shall receive such
153compensation as may be established by the board. The private
154counsel may not represent the property appraiser, the tax
155collector, any taxing authority, or any property owner in any
156administrative or judicial review of property taxes. No meeting
157of the board shall take place unless counsel to the board is
158present. However, counsel for the property appraiser shall not
159be required when the county attorney represents only the board
160at the board hearings, even though the county attorney may
161represent the property appraiser in other matters or at a
162different time. Two-fifths of the expenses of the board shall be
163borne by the district school board and three-fifths by the
164district county commission.
165     Section 5.  Section 194.035, Florida Statutes, is amended
166to read:
167     194.035  Special magistrates; property evaluators.--
168     (1)  In counties having a population of more than 75,000,
169the board shall appoint special magistrates for the purpose of
170taking testimony and making recommendations to the board, which
171recommendations the board may act upon without further hearing.
172These special magistrates may not be elected or appointed
173officials or employees of the county but shall be selected from
174a list of those qualified individuals who are willing to serve
175as special magistrates. Employees and elected or appointed
176officials of a taxing jurisdiction or of the state may not serve
177as special magistrates. The clerk of the board shall annually
178notify such individuals or their professional associations to
179make known to them that opportunities to serve as special
180magistrates exist. The Department of Revenue shall provide a
181list of qualified special magistrates to any county with a
182population of 75,000 or less. Subject to appropriation, the
183department shall reimburse counties with a population of 75,000
184or less for payments made to special magistrates appointed for
185the purpose of taking testimony and making recommendations to
186the value adjustment board pursuant to this section. The
187department shall establish a reasonable range for payments per
188case to special magistrates based on such payments in other
189counties. Requests for reimbursement of payments outside this
190range shall be justified by the county. If the total of all
191requests for reimbursement in any year exceeds the amount
192available pursuant to this section, payments to all counties
193shall be prorated accordingly. If a county having a population
194less than 75,000 does not appoint a special magistrate to hear
195each petition, the person or persons designated to hear
196petitions before the value adjustment board or the attorney
197appointed to advise the value adjustment board shall attend the
198training provided pursuant to subsection (3), regardless of
199whether the person would otherwise be required to attend, but
200shall not be required to pay the tuition fee specified in
201subsection (3). A special magistrate appointed to hear issues of
202exemptions and classifications shall be a member of The Florida
203Bar with no less than 5 years' experience in the area of ad
204valorem taxation. A special magistrate appointed to hear issues
205regarding the valuation of real estate shall be a state
206certified real estate appraiser with not less than 5 years'
207experience in real property valuation. A special magistrate
208appointed to hear issues regarding the valuation of tangible
209personal property shall be a designated member of a nationally
210recognized appraiser's organization with not less than 5 years'
211experience in tangible personal property valuation. A special
212magistrate need not be a resident of the county in which he or
213she serves. A special magistrate may not represent a person
214before the board in any tax year during which he or she has
215served that board as a special magistrate. Before appointing a
216special magistrate, a value adjustment board shall verify the
217special magistrate's qualifications. The value adjustment board
218shall ensure that the selection of special magistrates is based
219solely upon the experience and qualifications of the special
220magistrate and is not influenced by the property appraiser. The
221special magistrate shall accurately and completely preserve all
222testimony and, in making recommendations to the value adjustment
223board, shall include proposed findings of fact, conclusions of
224law, and reasons for upholding or overturning the determination
225of the property appraiser. The board shall appoint special
226magistrates from the list so compiled prior to convening of the
227board. The expense of hearings before magistrates and any
228compensation of special magistrates shall be borne three-fifths
229by the board of county commissioners and two-fifths by the
230school board.
231     (2)  The value adjustment board of each county may employ
232qualified property appraisers or evaluators to appear before the
233value adjustment board at that meeting of the board which is
234held for the purpose of hearing complaints. Such property
235appraisers or evaluators shall present testimony as to the just
236value of any property the value of which is contested before the
237board and shall submit to examination by the board, the
238taxpayer, and the property appraiser.
239     (3)  The department shall provide and conduct training for
240special magistrates at least once each state fiscal year in at
241least five locations throughout the state. Such training shall
242emphasize the department's standard measures of value, including
243the guidelines for real and tangible personal property.
244Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person who has 3 years of
245relevant experience and who has completed the training provided
246by the department under this subsection may be appointed as a
247special magistrate. The training shall be open to the public.
248The department shall charge tuition fees to any person attending
249this training in an amount sufficient to fund the department's
250costs to conduct all aspects of the training. The department
251shall deposit the fees collected into the Certification Program
252Trust Fund pursuant to s. 195.002(2).
253     Section 6.  Subsection (1) of section 194.037, Florida
254Statutes, is amended to read:
255     194.037  Disclosure of tax impact.--
256     (1)  After hearing all petitions, complaints, appeals, and
257disputes, the clerk shall make public notice of the findings and
258results of the board in at least a quarter-page size
259advertisement of a standard size or tabloid size newspaper, and
260the headline shall be in a type no smaller than 18 point. The
261advertisement shall not be placed in that portion of the
262newspaper where legal notices and classified advertisements
263appear. The advertisement shall be published in a newspaper of
264general paid circulation in the county. The newspaper selected
265shall be one of general interest and readership in the
266community, and not one of limited subject matter, pursuant to
267chapter 50. The headline shall read: TAX IMPACT OF VALUE
268ADJUSTMENT BOARD. The public notice shall list the members of
269the value adjustment board and the taxing authorities to which
270they are elected. The form shall show, in columnar form, for
271each of the property classes listed under subsection (2), the
272following information, with appropriate column totals:
273     (a)  In the first column, the number of parcels for which
274the board granted exemptions that had been denied or that had
275not been acted upon by the property appraiser.
276     (b)  In the second column, the number of parcels for which
277petitions were filed concerning a property tax exemption.
278     (c)  In the third column, the number of parcels for which
279the board considered the petition and reduced the assessment
280from that made by the property appraiser on the initial
281assessment roll.
282     (d)  In the fourth column, the number of parcels for which
283petitions were filed but not considered by the board because
284such petitions were withdrawn or settled prior to the board's
286     (e)(d)  In the fifth fourth column, the number of parcels
287for which petitions were filed requesting a change in assessed
288value, including requested changes in assessment classification.
289     (f)(e)  In the sixth fifth column, the net change in
290taxable value from the assessor's initial roll which results
291from board decisions.
292     (g)(f)  In the seventh sixth column, the net shift in taxes
293to parcels not granted relief by the board. The shift shall be
294computed as the amount shown in column 6 5 multiplied by the
295applicable millage rates adopted by the taxing authorities in
296hearings held pursuant to s. 200.065(2)(d) or adopted by vote of
297the electors pursuant to s. 9(b) or s. 12, Art. VII of the State
298Constitution, but without adjustment as authorized pursuant to
299s. 200.065(6). If for any taxing authority the hearing has not
300been completed at the time the notice required herein is
301prepared, the millage rate used shall be that adopted in the
302hearing held pursuant to s. 200.065(2)(c).
303     Section 7.  It is the express intent of the Legislature
304that a taxpayer shall never have the burden of proving that the
305property appraiser's assessment is not supported by any
306reasonable hypothesis of a legal assessment. It is the further
307intent of the Legislature that any cases of law published since
3081997 applying the every-reasonable-hypothesis burden of proof to
309uphold the property appraiser's assessment are expressly
310rejected to the extent that they are interpretive of legislative
312Section 8.  Subsection (2) of section 195.002, Florida
313Statutes, is amended to read:
314     195.002  Supervision by Department of Revenue.--
315     (2)  In furtherance of its duty to conduct schools to
316upgrade assessment skills and collection skills, the department
317may establish by rule committees on admissions and
318certification. Additionally, The department may also incur
319reasonable expenses for hiring instructors, travel, office
320operations, certificates of completion, badges or awards, and
321food service incidental to conducting such schools and for
322administering any certification program under s. 145.10, or s.
323145.11, or s. 194.035. The department may charge a tuition fee
324and an examination fee to any person who attends such a school
325and may charge a fee to certify or recertify any person under
326such a program. The department shall deposit such fees into the
327Certification Program Trust Fund which is created in the State
328Treasury. There shall be separate school accounts and program
329accounts in the trust fund for property appraisers, and for tax
330collectors, and special magistrates. The department shall use
331money in the fund to pay such expenses.
332     Section 9.  Section 195.052, Florida Statutes, is amended
333to read:
334     195.052  Research and tabulation of data.--The department
335shall conduct constant research and maintain accurate
336tabulations of data and conditions existing as to ad valorem
337taxation, shall annually publish such data as may be appropriate
338to facilitate fiscal policymaking, and shall annually make such
339recommendations to the Legislature as are necessary to ensure
340that property is valued according to its just value and is
341equitably taxed throughout the state. Such data shall include
342the annual percentage increase in total nonvoted ad valorem
343taxes levied by each city and county and shall include
344information on the distribution of ad valorem taxes levied among
345the various classifications of property, including homestead,
346nonhomestead residential, new construction, commercial, and
347industrial properties. Such data shall include the previous
348year's adopted millage rate, the current year's millage rate,
349and the current percentage increase in taxes levied above the
350rolled-back rate. Such data shall be published, at a minimum, on
351the department's website and on the websites of all property
352appraisers of this state, if available. Publication shall occur
353not later than 90 60 days after receipt of extended rolls for
354all counties pursuant to s. 193.122(7).
355     Section 10.  This act shall take effect September 1, 2008.

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