Florida Senate - 2020                                     SB 856
       By Senator Pizzo
       38-01037-20                                            2020856__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to an affordable housing tax
    3         reduction; creating s. 196.1979, F.S.; defining terms;
    4         providing legislative findings; providing a reduction
    5         in certain property taxes to taxpayers building or
    6         renovating certain affordable, elderly, or workforce
    7         housing projects; providing qualifying criteria;
    8         specifying the calculation of property assessments
    9         over the reduction term; providing taxpayer
   10         requirements for recording a certain covenant;
   11         providing a requirement for the property appraiser in
   12         applying reductions; specifying an annual reporting
   13         requirement for taxpayers; providing a criminal
   14         penalty; authorizing certain counties to limit the
   15         total number of qualifying projects, subject to
   16         certain requirements; specifying a taxpayer’s
   17         liability for back taxes, penalties, interest, and
   18         certain remedies under certain circumstances;
   19         providing an effective date.
   21  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   23         Section 1. Section 196.1979, Florida Statutes, is created
   24  to read:
   25         196.1979 Affordable housing property tax reduction.—
   26         (1)As used in this section, the term:
   27         (a)“Affordable housing project” means a qualifying housing
   28  development that receives an allocation of 4 percent low-income
   29  housing tax credits from the corporation pursuant to s.
   30  420.5099, receives bonds for qualifying housing developments
   31  from a housing finance authority after July 1, 2020, or both.
   32         (b)“Base tax” means the operating taxes remitted to a
   33  project taxing authority in the tax year immediately preceding
   34  the reduction term.
   35         (c)“Corporation” means the Florida Housing Finance
   36  Corporation.
   37         (d)“Elderly housing project” means a rental housing
   38  project that receives an allocation of 9 percent low-income
   39  housing tax credits from the corporation pursuant to s. 420.5099
   40  and that meets all of the following criteria:
   41         1.It reserves at least 80 percent of the rental unit
   42  occupancy in the project for the elderly.
   43         2.It offers all rental units to eligible persons.
   44         3.It implements the standards and processes adopted by
   45  rule of the corporation to reduce barriers to elderly rental
   46  housing entry.
   47         (e)“Household” has the same meaning as in s. 196.075(1).
   48         (f)“Operating taxes” means the nonvoted millage portion of
   49  the county millage and the municipal millage as identified in s.
   50  200.001(1)(a) and (2)(a), respectively.
   51         (g)“Project taxing authority” means a county or
   52  municipality, as those terms are defined in s. 200.001(8)(a) and
   53  (b), respectively, which is authorized to levy operating taxes
   54  against real property in the jurisdiction in which a qualifying
   55  project is located.
   56         (h)“Qualifying project” means an affordable housing
   57  project, elderly housing project, or workforce housing project
   58  that:
   59         1.Is located in a county with a population of 825,000 or
   60  more; and
   61         2.Has not received an affordable housing property
   62  exemption pursuant to s. 196.1978(2).
   63         (i)“Reduction term” means the 25-year tax reduction period
   64  beginning the year in which the qualifying project is first
   65  assessed under s. 192.042(1) and certified by the county
   66  property appraiser as eligible to receive a reduction in
   67  operating taxes.
   68         (j)“Taxpayer” has the same meaning as in s. 192.001(13).
   69         (k)“Workforce housing project” means a rental housing
   70  project containing four or more dwelling units for natural
   71  persons and households which has not received from the
   72  corporation an allocation of low-income housing tax credits
   73  pursuant to s. 420.5099, a loan pursuant to s. 420.5087, or bond
   74  proceeds pursuant to s. 159.612, and in which:
   75         1.At least 10 percent of the rental units are set aside
   76  for one or more natural persons or a family with a total annual
   77  gross household income greater than 60 percent and up to 80
   78  percent of the median annual income, adjusted for family size,
   79  for households within the metropolitan statistical area, the
   80  county, or the nonmetropolitan areas of this state, whichever is
   81  greatest;
   82         2.At least 20 percent of the rental units are set aside
   83  for one or more natural persons or a family with a total annual
   84  gross household income greater than 60 percent and up to 100
   85  percent of the median annual income, adjusted for family size,
   86  for households within the metropolitan statistical area, the
   87  county, or the nonmetropolitan areas of this state, whichever is
   88  greatest; and
   89         3.Rents for the rental units set aside under subparagraphs
   90  1. and 2. are set at the applicable income limitations
   91  established by the corporation for the county in which the
   92  rental housing project is located. For rental units within the
   93  project which are not set aside under subparagraphs 1. and 2.,
   94  the taxpayer may offer the units at rents it determines at its
   95  sole discretion.
   96         (2)The Legislature finds that property used to provide
   97  affordable, elderly, and workforce housing to natural persons
   98  and households that meet the low-income or moderate-income
   99  limits is a charitable purpose. Notwithstanding s. 196.195(4), a
  100  taxpayer who builds or renovates a qualifying project after July
  101  1, 2020, may receive a reduction in operating taxes that would
  102  otherwise be assessed, if both of the following criteria are
  103  met:
  104         (a)The taxpayer timely files an application for the tax
  105  reduction with the property appraiser no later than March 1 of
  106  the year immediately after the year in which the qualifying
  107  project is first assessed under s. 192.042(1).
  108         (b)The taxpayer records a covenant running with the land
  109  which restricts the rents of units within the qualifying project
  110  in accordance with the criteria under paragraph (1)(a),
  111  paragraph (1)(d), or paragraph (1)(k), as applicable.
  112         (3)For the first 16 years of the reduction term, a
  113  qualifying project shall be assessed operating taxes in an
  114  amount equal to the base tax, subject to an annual adjustment
  115  equal to 2.5 percent beginning in year 2 of the reduction term
  116  or the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for the
  117  county in which the qualifying project is located, whichever is
  118  less. After the first 16 years of the reduction term, the
  119  qualifying project shall be assessed as follows:
  121  Year of Tax Reduction Affordable Housing Reduction PercentageWorkforce Housing Reduction Percentage
  122  1-16                  100 percent           100 percent           
  123  17                    90 percent            100 percent           
  124  18                    80 percent            90 percent            
  125  19                    70 percent            85 percent            
  126  20                    60 percent            75 percent            
  127  21                    50 percent            60 percent            
  128  22                    40 percent            50 percent            
  129  23                    30 percent            40 percent            
  130  24                    20 percent            25 percent            
  131  25                    10 percent            15 percent            
  132         (4)If the property appraiser approves the application, the
  133  taxpayer must submit the covenant under paragraph (2)(b) for
  134  recording. The property appraiser shall apply the authorized tax
  135  reductions beginning in the same tax year. The taxpayer
  136  submitting the application is responsible for the cost of
  137  recording the covenant.
  138         (5)A taxpayer who receives a tax reduction is required to
  139  submit a report annually to the property appraiser confirming
  140  his or her compliance with the rent restrictions required for
  141  the receipt of the reduction. The report must be executed by the
  142  taxpayer or an authorized representative of the taxpayer and
  143  must include the written declaration set forth in s. 92.525(2).
  144  A taxpayer who falsifies the written declaration commits a
  145  felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s.
  146  775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
  147         (6)Each county described in s. 420.5087(1)(a) where a
  148  qualifying project may be located may, by the adoption of an
  149  ordinance and after conducting a public hearing noticed in a
  150  newspaper of general circulation, limit the total number of
  151  qualifying projects the property appraiser may approve annually,
  152  upon a finding supported by competent substantial evidence that
  153  such a limitation is necessary in order to avoid a substantial
  154  impairment of the taxing authority’s ability to meet its
  155  financial obligations to fund other public services that are
  156  necessary to ensure the public safety and welfare.
  157         (7)(a)If the property appraiser determines that a
  158  qualifying project that was granted a tax reduction failed to
  159  offer rents as required in the recorded covenant and as set
  160  forth in this section, the taxpayer is liable for the payment of
  161  any back taxes, penalties, and interest, as well as any other
  162  remedies authorized pursuant to s. 193.092.
  163         (b)If a property appraiser improperly grants a tax
  164  reduction as a result of a clerical mistake or an omission, the
  165  taxpayer improperly receiving the reduction shall not be
  166  assessed back taxes, penalties, or interest, or liable for any
  167  other remedies authorized under s. 193.092.
  168         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.