Florida Senate - 2020                             CS for SB 1236
       By the Committee on Community Affairs; and Senator Gruters
       578-02663-20                                          20201236c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the educational property tax
    3         exemption; amending s. 196.198, F.S.; exempting land
    4         and real property improvements used exclusively for
    5         educational purposes from ad valorem taxes if certain
    6         criteria are met; providing that the educational
    7         institution shall receive the full benefit from the
    8         exemption; requiring the property owner to make
    9         certain disclosures to the educational institution;
   10         providing an effective date.
   12  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   14         Section 1. Section 196.198, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   15  read:
   16         196.198 Educational property exemption.—Educational
   17  institutions within this state and their property used by them
   18  or by any other exempt entity or educational institution
   19  exclusively for educational purposes are exempt from taxation.
   20  Sheltered workshops providing rehabilitation and retraining of
   21  individuals who have disabilities and exempted by a certificate
   22  under s. (d) of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as
   23  amended, are declared wholly educational in purpose and are
   24  exempt from certification, accreditation, and membership
   25  requirements set forth in s. 196.012. Those portions of property
   26  of college fraternities and sororities certified by the
   27  president of the college or university to the appropriate
   28  property appraiser as being essential to the educational process
   29  are exempt from ad valorem taxation. The use of property by
   30  public fairs and expositions chartered by chapter 616 is
   31  presumed to be an educational use of such property and is exempt
   32  from ad valorem taxation to the extent of such use. Property
   33  used exclusively for educational purposes shall be deemed owned
   34  by an educational institution if the entity owning 100 percent
   35  of the educational institution is owned by the identical persons
   36  who own the property, or if the entity owning 100 percent of the
   37  educational institution and the entity owning the property are
   38  owned by the identical natural persons. Land, buildings, and
   39  other improvements to real property used exclusively for
   40  educational purposes shall be deemed owned by an educational
   41  institution if the entity owning 100 percent of the land is a
   42  nonprofit entity and the land is used, under a ground lease or
   43  other contractual arrangement, by an educational institution
   44  that owns the buildings and other improvements to the real
   45  property, is a nonprofit entity under s. 501(c)(3) of the
   46  Internal Revenue Code, and provides education limited to
   47  students in prekindergarten through grade 8. Land, buildings,
   48  and other improvements to real property used exclusively for
   49  educational purposes shall also be exempt from ad valorem taxes
   50  if, under a lease, the educational institution is responsible
   51  for any taxes owed and for ongoing maintenance and operational
   52  expenses for the land and buildings under the lease and if the
   53  real property has been used for educational purposes and has
   54  been receiving the exemption under this section for at least 10
   55  years. For such leasehold properties, the educational
   56  institution shall receive the full benefit from the exemption.
   57  The owner of the property shall disclose to the educational
   58  institution the full amount of the benefit derived from the
   59  exemption and the method for ensuring the educational
   60  institution receives the benefit. If legal title to property is
   61  held by a governmental agency that leases the property to a
   62  lessee, the property shall be deemed to be owned by the
   63  governmental agency and used exclusively for educational
   64  purposes if the governmental agency continues to use such
   65  property exclusively for educational purposes pursuant to a
   66  sublease or other contractual agreement with that lessee. If the
   67  title to land is held by the trustee of an irrevocable inter
   68  vivos trust and if the trust grantor owns 100 percent of the
   69  entity that owns an educational institution that is using the
   70  land exclusively for educational purposes, the land is deemed to
   71  be property owned by the educational institution for purposes of
   72  this exemption. Property owned by an educational institution
   73  shall be deemed to be used for an educational purpose if the
   74  institution has taken affirmative steps to prepare the property
   75  for educational use. The term “affirmative steps” means
   76  environmental or land use permitting activities, creation of
   77  architectural plans or schematic drawings, land clearing or site
   78  preparation, construction or renovation activities, or other
   79  similar activities that demonstrate commitment of the property
   80  to an educational use.
   81         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.