196.2001 Not-for-profit sewer and water company property exemption.—
(1) Property of any sewer and water company owned or operated by a Florida corporation not for profit, the income from which has been exempt, as of January 1 of the year for which the exemption from ad valorem property taxes is requested, from federal income taxation by having qualified under s. 115(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 or of a corresponding section of a subsequently enacted federal revenue act, shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation, provided the following criteria for exemption are met by the not-for-profit sewer and water company:
(a) Net income derived by the company does not inure to any private shareholder or individual.
(b) Gross receipts do not constitute gross income for federal income tax purposes.
(c) Members of the company’s governing board serve without compensation.
(d) Rates for services rendered by the company are established by the governing board of the county or counties within which the company provides service; by the Public Service Commission, in those counties in which rates are regulated by the commission; or by the Farmers Home Administration.
(e) Ownership of the company reverts to the county in which the company conducts its business upon retirement of all outstanding indebtedness of the company.
Notwithstanding anything above, no exemption shall be granted until the property appraiser has considered the proposed exemption and has made a specific finding that the water and sewer company in question performs a public purpose in the absence of which the expenditure of public funds would be required.
(2)(a) No exemption authorized pursuant to this section shall be granted unless the company applies to the property appraiser on or before March 1 of each year for such exemption. In its annual application for exemption, the company shall provide the property appraiser with the following information:
1. Financial statements for the immediately preceding fiscal year, certified by an independent certified public accountant, showing the financial condition and records of operation of the company for that fiscal year.
2. Any other records or information as may be requested by the property appraiser for the purposes of determining whether the requirements of subsection (1) have been met.
(b) The exemption from ad valorem taxation shall not be granted to a not-for-profit sewer and water company unless the company meets the criteria set forth in subsection (1). In determining whether the company is operated as a profitmaking venture, the property appraiser shall consider the following:
1. Any advances or payments directly or indirectly by way of salary, fee, loan, gift, bonus, gratuity, drawing account, commission, or otherwise (except for reimbursement of advances for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred on behalf of the applicant) to any person, company, or other entity directly or indirectly controlled by such persons, or which pays any compensation to its officers, directors, trustees, members, or stockholders for services rendered to or on behalf of the corporation;
2. Any contractual arrangement by the corporation with any officer, director, trustee, member, or stockholder of the corporation regarding rendition of services, the provision of goods or supplies, the management of applicant, the construction or renovation of the property of the corporation, the procurement of the real, personal, or intangible property of the corporation, or other similar financial interest in the affairs of the corporation;
3. The reasonableness of payments made for salaries for the operations of the corporation or for services, supplies, and materials used by the corporation, reserves for repair, replacement, and depreciation of the property of the corporation, payment of mortgages, liens, and encumbrances upon the property of the corporation, or other purposes.