(1)(a) All property exempted from the annual application requirement of s. 196.011 shall be returned, but shall be granted tax exemption by the property appraiser. However, no such property shall be exempt which is rented or hired out for other than religious, educational, or other exempt purposes at any time. (b) The property appraiser may deny exemption to property claimed by religious organizations to be used for any of the purposes set out in s. 196.011 if the use is not clear or if the property appraiser determines that the property is being held for speculative purposes or that it is being rented or hired out for other than religious or educational purposes.
(c) If the property appraiser does deny such property a tax exemption, appeal of the determination to the value adjustment board may be made in the manner prescribed for appealed tax exemptions.
(2) Applications required by this chapter shall be filed on forms distributed to the property appraisers by the Department of Revenue. Such forms shall call for accurate description of the property, the value of such property, and the use of such property.
(3) Upon receipt of an application for exemption, the property appraiser shall determine:
(a) Whether the applicant falls within the definition of any one or several of the exempt classifications.
(b) Whether the applicant requesting exemption uses the property predominantly or exclusively for exempt purposes.
(c) The extent to which the property is used for exempt purposes.
In doing so, the property appraiser shall use the standards set forth in this chapter as applied by regulations of the Department of Revenue.
(4) The property appraiser shall find that the person or organization requesting exemption meets the requirements set forth in paragraphs (3)(a) and (b) before any exemption can be granted.
(5)(a) If the property appraiser determines that any property claimed as wholly or partially exempt under this section is not entitled to any exemption or is entitled to an exemption to an extent other than that requested in the application, he or she shall notify the person or organization filing the application on such property of that determination in writing on or before July 1 of the year for which the application was filed.
(b) The notification must state in clear and unambiguous language the specific requirements of the state statutes which the property appraiser relied upon to deny the applicant the exemption with respect to the subject property. The notification must be drafted in such a way that a reasonable person can understand specific attributes of the applicant or the applicant’s use of the subject property which formed the basis for the denial. The notice must also include the specific facts the property appraiser used to determine that the applicant failed to meet the statutory requirements. If a property appraiser fails to provide a notice that complies with this subsection, any denial of an exemption or an attempted denial of an exemption is invalid.
(c) All notifications must specify the right to appeal to the value adjustment board and the procedures to follow in obtaining such an appeal. Thereafter, the person or organization filing such application, or a duly designated representative, may appeal that determination by the property appraiser to the board at the time of its regular hearing. In the event of an appeal, the property appraiser or the property appraiser’s representative shall appear at the board hearing and present his or her findings of fact. If the applicant is not present or represented at the hearing, the board may make a determination on the basis of information supplied by the property appraiser or such other information on file with the board.