Florida Senate - 2017                                    SB 1366
       By Senator Artiles
       40-01061A-17                                          20171366__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to property appraisers; amending s.
    3         194.032, F.S.; revising the definition of the term
    4         “good cause”; specifying rescheduling requirements if
    5         a property appraiser fails to timely provide certain
    6         evidence to be presented at a hearing before the value
    7         adjustment board; providing a procedure for a certain
    8         taxpayer or his or her representative to reschedule
    9         hearings an additional time; creating s. 194.191,
   10         F.S.; prohibiting a property appraiser, under certain
   11         circumstances, from increasing a tax assessment in
   12         excess of a court-established assessment for a
   13         specified time; amending s. 194.192, F.S.; providing
   14         specified remedies to a taxpayer who is injured by
   15         certain actions of a property appraiser; amending s.
   16         194.301, F.S.; providing construction relating to the
   17         property appraiser’s burden of proof in certain
   18         actions challenging the property appraiser’s
   19         assessment; amending s. 195.027, F.S.; prohibiting
   20         certain acts by a property appraiser; requiring an
   21         employee in the property appraiser’s office to have an
   22         appraiser license or a certain certification under
   23         certain circumstances; requiring an employee of the
   24         property appraiser’s office to correct certain errors
   25         or omissions within a reasonable time; amending s.
   26         195.099, F.S.; requiring the Office of Program Policy
   27         Analysis and Government Accountability to review and
   28         evaluate specified annual changes in the assessed
   29         value of property and present an annual report to the
   30         Governor and Legislature; providing requirements for
   31         the report; requiring the Department of Revenue and
   32         the property appraiser to give the office access to
   33         data that is necessary to complete the report;
   34         amending s. 192.0105, F.S.; conforming cross
   35         references; providing an effective date.
   37  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   39         Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section
   40  194.032, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   41         194.032 Hearing purposes; timetable.—
   42         (2)(a) The clerk of the governing body of the county shall
   43  prepare a schedule of appearances before the board based on
   44  petitions timely filed with him or her. The clerk shall notify
   45  each petitioner of the scheduled time of his or her appearance
   46  at least 25 calendar days before the day of the scheduled
   47  appearance. The notice must indicate whether the petition has
   48  been scheduled to be heard at a particular time or during a
   49  block of time. If the petition has been scheduled to be heard
   50  within a block of time, the beginning and ending of that block
   51  of time must be indicated on the notice; however, as provided in
   52  paragraph (b), a petitioner may not be required to wait for more
   53  than a reasonable time, not to exceed 2 hours, after the
   54  beginning of the block of time. The property appraiser must
   55  provide a copy of the property record card containing
   56  information relevant to the computation of the current
   57  assessment, with confidential information redacted, to the
   58  petitioner upon receipt of the petition from the clerk
   59  regardless of whether the petitioner initiates evidence
   60  exchange, unless the property record card is available online
   61  from the property appraiser, in which case the property
   62  appraiser must notify the petitioner that the property record
   63  card is available online. The petitioner and the property
   64  appraiser may each reschedule the hearing a single time for good
   65  cause. As used in this paragraph, the term “good cause” means
   66  circumstances beyond the control of the person seeking to
   67  reschedule the hearing which reasonably prevent the party from
   68  having adequate representation at the hearing. The term
   69  includes, but is not limited to, being scheduled in different
   70  jurisdictions at the same time or date. If the property
   71  appraiser fails to timely provide its evidence to be presented
   72  at the hearing pursuant to s. 194.011(4)(b), the hearing must be
   73  rescheduled and the good cause reschedule shall count against
   74  the property appraiser. A taxpayer, or the taxpayer’s
   75  representative pursuant to s. 194.034(1)(a), who files 10 or
   76  more petitions in the same county and in the same year may
   77  reschedule the hearing an additional time for any purpose by
   78  submitting to the clerk a written request to reschedule no later
   79  than 10 calendar days before the day of the originally scheduled
   80  hearing. If the hearing is rescheduled by the petitioner or the
   81  property appraiser, the clerk shall notify the petitioner of the
   82  rescheduled time of his or her appearance at least 15 calendar
   83  days before the day of the rescheduled appearance, unless this
   84  notice is waived by both parties.
   85         Section 2. Section 194.191, Florida Statutes, is created to
   86  read:
   87         194.191 Limitations on subsequent assessments.—If a
   88  taxpayer is the prevailing party in an action to contest a tax
   89  assessment and the court establishes the assessment based on
   90  competent and substantial evidence of value in the record which
   91  cumulatively meets the criteria of s. 193.011 and professionally
   92  accepted appraisal practices, the property appraiser may not,
   93  for 4 years, increase the assessment in excess of the amount
   94  established by the court.
   95         Section 3. Subsection (3) is added to section 194.192,
   96  Florida Statutes, to read:
   97         194.192 Costs; interest on unpaid taxes; penalty.—
   98         (3) A taxpayer injured as a result of the property
   99  appraiser’s willful violation of this chapter, of the criteria
  100  under s. 193.011, or of professionally accepted appraisal
  101  practices has a civil cause of action for treble damages and
  102  reasonable attorney fees.
  103         Section 4. Subsection (3) is added to section 194.301,
  104  Florida Statutes, to read:
  105         194.301 Challenge to ad valorem tax assessment.—
  106         (3) In any administrative or judicial action in which a
  107  taxpayer challenges an annual change resulting from the property
  108  appraiser’s reassessment which exceeds 10 percent of the
  109  assessed value of the property for the prior year, the property
  110  appraiser must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the
  111  assessed value in excess of 10 percent of the prior year was
  112  arrived at by complying with s. 193.011, any other applicable
  113  statutory requirements, and professionally accepted appraisal
  114  practices.
  115         Section 5. Present subsections (2) through (6) of section
  116  195.027, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (5)
  117  through (9), respectively, and new subsections (2), (3), and (4)
  118  are added to that section, to read:
  119         195.027 Rules and regulations.—
  120         (2) Consistent with chapter 112, a property appraiser may
  121  not engage in any business transaction or professional activity
  122  that is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his
  123  or her duties in the public interest. For purposes of this
  124  subsection, a substantial conflict includes, but is not limited
  125  to, entering into contracts, memoranda of understanding, or
  126  other binding agreements with the property appraiser’s family
  127  members or other persons with whom the property appraiser has a
  128  direct or indirect financial interest.
  129         (3) An employee of the property appraiser’s office must be
  130  licensed as an appraiser under chapter 475 or be certified
  131  through the department as a Certified Florida Appraiser or
  132  Certified Florida Evaluator if the employee is engaged in the
  133  process or methodology of determining classifications of
  134  property or of deriving the just valuation of property.
  135         (4) If an employee of the property appraiser’s office
  136  becomes aware of a mathematical error, clerical error,
  137  measurement error, technical error, or other omission related to
  138  a property, the employee must correct the error or omission
  139  within a reasonable time.
  140         Section 6. Subsection (3) is added to section 195.099,
  141  Florida Statutes, to read:
  142         195.099 Periodic review.—
  143         (3) The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government
  144  Accountability shall review and evaluate all annual changes in
  145  the assessed value of property which exceed 10 percent of the
  146  assessed value of the property for the prior year and shall
  147  prepare an annual report. The annual report must be presented to
  148  the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of
  149  the House of Representatives. The annual report must provide
  150  statistics and data by county which are related specifically to
  151  the properties with an annual change in the assessed value
  152  exceeding 10 percent. The annual report must also include
  153  detailed information on contracts in excess of $500,000 executed
  154  by individual property appraisers. The department and the
  155  property appraiser must give the Office of Program Policy
  156  Analysis and Government Accountability access to all data
  157  maintained by the department and property appraiser which is
  158  necessary to complete the report.
  159         Section 7. Subsection (4) of section 192.0105, Florida
  160  Statutes, is amended to read:
  161         192.0105 Taxpayer rights.—There is created a Florida
  162  Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights for property taxes and assessments to
  163  guarantee that the rights, privacy, and property of the
  164  taxpayers of this state are adequately safeguarded and protected
  165  during tax levy, assessment, collection, and enforcement
  166  processes administered under the revenue laws of this state. The
  167  Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights compiles, in one document, brief but
  168  comprehensive statements that summarize the rights and
  169  obligations of the property appraisers, tax collectors, clerks
  170  of the court, local governing boards, the Department of Revenue,
  171  and taxpayers. Additional rights afforded to payors of taxes and
  172  assessments imposed under the revenue laws of this state are
  173  provided in s. 213.015. The rights afforded taxpayers to assure
  174  that their privacy and property are safeguarded and protected
  175  during tax levy, assessment, and collection are available only
  176  insofar as they are implemented in other parts of the Florida
  177  Statutes or rules of the Department of Revenue. The rights so
  178  guaranteed to state taxpayers in the Florida Statutes and the
  179  departmental rules include:
  181         (a) The right to have information kept confidential,
  182  including federal tax information, ad valorem tax returns,
  183  social security numbers, all financial records produced by the
  184  taxpayer, Form DR-219 returns for documentary stamp tax
  185  information, and sworn statements of gross income, copies of
  186  federal income tax returns for the prior year, wage and earnings
  187  statements (W-2 forms), and other documents (see ss. 192.105,
  188  193.074, 193.114(5), 195.027(6) and (9), and 196.101(4)(c) ss.
  189  192.105, 193.074, 193.114(5), 195.027(3) and (6), and
  190  196.101(4)(c)).
  191         (b) The right to limiting access to a taxpayer’s records by
  192  a property appraiser, the Department of Revenue, and the Auditor
  193  General only to those instances in which it is determined that
  194  such records are necessary to determine either the
  195  classification or the value of taxable nonhomestead property
  196  (see s. 195.027(6) s. 195.027(3)).
  197         Section 8. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.