(1)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), the department shall pass upon and order refunds when payment of taxes assessed on the county tax rolls has been made voluntarily or involuntarily under any of the following circumstances:
1. When an overpayment has been made.
2. When a payment has been made when no tax was due.
3. When a bona fide controversy exists between the tax collector and the taxpayer as to the liability of the taxpayer for the payment of the tax claimed to be due, the taxpayer pays the amount claimed by the tax collector to be due, and it is finally adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction that the taxpayer was not liable for the payment of the tax or any part thereof.
4. When a payment has been made in error by a taxpayer to the tax collector, if, within 24 months of the date of the erroneous payment and prior to any transfer of the assessed property to a third party for consideration, the party seeking a refund makes demand for reimbursement of the erroneous payment upon the owner of the property on which the taxes were erroneously paid and reimbursement of the erroneous payment is not received within 45 days after such demand. The demand for reimbursement shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and a copy thereof shall be sent to the tax collector. If the payment was made in error by the taxpayer because of an error in the tax notice sent to the taxpayer, refund must be made as provided in subparagraph (b)2.
5. When any payment has been made for tax certificates that are subsequently corrected or are subsequently determined to be void under s. 197.443.
(b)1. Those refunds that have been ordered by a court and those refunds that do not result from changes made in the assessed value on a tax roll certified to the tax collector shall be made directly by the tax collector without order from the department and shall be made from undistributed funds without approval of the various taxing authorities. Overpayments in the amount of $5 or less may be retained by the tax collector unless a written claim for a refund is received from the taxpayer. Overpayments over $5 resulting from taxpayer error, if determined within the 4-year period of limitation, are to be automatically refunded to the taxpayer. Such refunds do not require approval from the department.
2. When a payment has been made in error by a taxpayer to the tax collector because of an error in the tax notice sent to the taxpayer, refund must be made directly by the tax collector and does not require approval from the department. At the request of the taxpayer, the amount paid in error may be applied by the tax collector to the taxes for which the taxpayer is actually liable.
(c) Claims for refunds shall be made in accordance with the rules of the department. No refund shall be granted unless claim is made therefor within 4 years of January 1 of the tax year for which the taxes were paid.
(d) Upon receipt of the department’s written denial of the refund, the tax collector shall issue the denial in writing to the taxpayer.
(e) If funds are available from current receipts and, subject to subsection (3), if a refund is approved, the taxpayer is entitled to receive a refund within 100 days after a claim for refund is made, unless the tax collector, property appraiser, or department states good cause for remitting the refund after that date. The times stated in this paragraph and paragraphs (f) through (j) are directory and may be extended by a maximum of an additional 60 days if good cause is stated.
(f) If the taxpayer contacts the property appraiser first, the property appraiser shall refer the taxpayer to the tax collector.
(g) If a correction to the roll by the property appraiser is required as a condition for the refund, the tax collector shall, within 30 days, advise the property appraiser of the taxpayer’s application for a refund and forward the application to the property appraiser.
(h) The property appraiser has 30 days after receipt of the form from the tax collector to correct the roll if a correction is permissible by law. After the 30 days, the property appraiser shall immediately advise the tax collector in writing whether or not the roll has been corrected, stating the reasons why the roll was corrected or not corrected.
(i) If the refund is not one that can be directly acted upon by the tax collector, for which an order from the department is required, the tax collector shall forward the claim for refund to the department upon receipt of the correction from the property appraiser or 30 days after the claim for refund, whichever occurs first. This provision does not apply to corrections resulting in refunds of less than $400, which the tax collector shall make directly, without order from the department, and from undistributed funds, and may make without approval of the various taxing authorities.
(j) The department shall approve or deny all refunds within 30 days after receiving from the tax collector the claim for refund, unless good cause is stated for delaying the approval or denial beyond that date.
(k) Subject to and after meeting the requirements of s. 194.171 and this section, an action to contest a denial of refund may not be brought later than 60 days after the date the tax collector issues the denial to the taxpayer, which notice must be sent by certified mail, or 4 years after January 1 of the year for which the taxes were paid, whichever is later.
(l) In computing any time period under this section, when the last day of the period is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the period is to be extended to the next working day.
(2)(a) When the department orders a refund, it shall forward a copy of its order to the tax collector who shall then determine and certify to the county, the district school board, each municipality, and the governing body of each taxing district, their pro rata shares of such refund, the reason for the refund, and the date the refund was ordered by the department.
(b) The board of county commissioners, the district school board, each municipality, and the governing body of each taxing district shall comply with the order of the department in the following manner:
1. Authorize the tax collector to make refund from undistributed funds held for that taxing authority by the tax collector;
2. Authorize the tax collector to make refund and forward to the tax collector its pro rata share of the refund from currently budgeted funds, if available; or
3. Notify the tax collector that the taxing authority does not have funds currently available and provide in its budget for the ensuing year funds for the payment of the refund.