December 01, 2020
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CS/HB 265

1
A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to property taxation; amending s. 95.051,
3F.S.; tolling the statute of limitations relating to
4proceedings involving tax lien certificates or tax deeds
5by the period of an intervening bankruptcy; amending s.
6193.023, F.S.; requiring a property appraiser to
7physically inspect property upon request of a
8certificateholder; amending s. 196.1995, F.S.; providing
9that the authority of the governing body of a county or
10municipality to grant certain ad valorem tax exemptions
11may be renewed for multiple 10-year periods upon approval
12by referendum; amending ss. 197.102, 197.122, 197.123,
13197.162, 197.172, 197.182, 197.222, 197.2301, 197.322,
14197.332, 197.343, 197.344, 197.3635, 197.373, 197.374,
15197.402, 197.403, 197.413, 197.414, 197.4155, 197.416,
16197.417, 197.432, 197.4325, 197.442, 197.443, 197.462,
17197.472, 197.473, 197.482, 197.492, 197.552, 197.582, and
18197.602, F.S.; revising, updating, and consolidating
19provisions of ch. 197, F.S., relating to definitions, tax
20collectors, lien of taxes, returns and assessments, unpaid
21or omitted taxes, discounts, interest rates, Department of
22Revenue responsibilities, tax bills, judicial sales,
23prepayment of taxes, assessment rolls, duties of tax
24collectors, tax notices, delinquent taxes, lienholders,
25special assessments, non-ad valorem assessments, tax
26payments, distribution of taxes, advertisements of
27property with delinquent taxes, attachment, delinquent
28personal property taxes, sales of property, tax
29certificates, tax deeds, tax sales, and proceedings
30involving the validity of a tax deed; amending s. 197.502,
31F.S.; revising provisions relating to applications for tax
32deeds; providing notice requirements; providing payment
33requirements; authorizing the tax collector to charge a
34fee to cover the costs to the tax collector for electronic
35tax deed programs or services; authorizing the tax
36collector to charge the county a fee for tax deed
37applications; revising conditions for the escheat of
38property to a county; amending s. 197.542, F.S.; limiting
39the circumstances under which a tax deed sale may be
40canceled; amending s. 197.522, F.S.; providing notice
41requirements for the sale of homestead property due to
42nonpayment of taxes; creating s. 197.146, F.S.;
43authorizing tax collectors to issue certificates of
44correction to tax rolls and outstanding delinquent taxes
45for uncollectable personal property accounts; requiring
46the tax collector to notify the property appraiser;
47providing construction; creating ss. 197.2421 and
48197.2423, F.S., transferring, renumbering, and amending
49ss. 197.253, 197.303, and 197.3071, F.S., and amending ss.
50197.243, 197.252, 197.254, 197.262, 197.263, 197.272,
51197.282, 197.292, 197.301, and 197.312, F.S.; revising,
52updating, and consolidating provisions of ch. 197, F.S.,
53relating to deferral of tax payments for real property,
54homestead property, recreational and commercial working
55waterfront property, and affordable rental property;
56creating s. 197.4725, F.S.; providing authorization and
57requirements for purchase of county-held tax certificates;
58specifying required amounts to be paid; providing for
59fees; providing for electronic services; amending s.
60192.0105, F.S.; providing conditions under which a
61taxpayer is deemed to have waived a right to know;
62providing that the right to a discount for the early
63payment of taxes does not apply to certain partial
64payments of taxes; revising a provision for a taxpayer's
65right to redeem real property and tax certificates;
66revising a provision that a property owner may not be
67contacted by the holder of a tax certificate for 2 years
68following the date the certificate is issued; providing
69that s. 197.122, F.S., applies in certain circumstances;
70providing for the obligation of the property owner to
71obtain certain information; correcting cross-references;
72amending ss. 194.011, 194.013, and 196.011, F.S.;
73correcting cross-references; creating s. 197.603, F.S.;
74providing legislative intent; repealing s. 197.202, F.S.,
75relating to destruction of 20-year-old tax receipts;
76repealing s. 197.242, F.S., relating to a short title;
77repealing ss. 197.304, 197.3041, 197.3042, 197.3043,
78197.3044, 197.3045, 197.3046, 197.3047, 197.307, 197.3072,
79197.3073, 197.3074, 197.3075, 197.3076, 197.3077,
80197.3078, and 197.3079, F.S., relating to deferrals of tax
81payments; providing an effective date.
82
83Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
84
85     Section 1.  Section 95.051, Florida Statutes, is amended to
86read:
87     95.051  When limitations tolled.-
88     (1)  The running of the time under any statute of
89limitations except ss. 95.281, 95.35, and 95.36 is tolled by:
90     (a)  Absence from the state of the person to be sued.
91     (b)  Use by the person to be sued of a false name that is
92unknown to the person entitled to sue so that process cannot be
93served on the person to be sued.
94     (c)  Concealment in the state of the person to be sued so
95that process cannot be served on him or her.
96     (d)  The adjudicated incapacity, before the cause of action
97accrued, of the person entitled to sue. In any event, the action
98must be begun within 7 years after the act, event, or occurrence
99giving rise to the cause of action.
100     (e)  Voluntary payments by the alleged father of the child
101in paternity actions during the time of the payments.
102     (f)  The payment of any part of the principal or interest
103of any obligation or liability founded on a written instrument.
104     (g)  The pendency of any arbitral proceeding pertaining to
105a dispute that is the subject of the action.
106     (h)  The period of an intervening bankruptcy in a
107proceeding or process under chapter 197.
108     (i)(h)  The minority or previously adjudicated incapacity
109of the person entitled to sue during any period of time in which
110a parent, guardian, or guardian ad litem does not exist, has an
111interest adverse to the minor or incapacitated person, or is
112adjudicated to be incapacitated to sue; except with respect to
113the statute of limitations for a claim for medical malpractice
114as provided in s. 95.11. In any event, the action must be begun
115within 7 years after the act, event, or occurrence giving rise
116to the cause of action.
117
118Paragraphs (a)-(c) shall not apply if service of process or
119service by publication can be made in a manner sufficient to
120confer jurisdiction to grant the relief sought. This section
121shall not be construed to limit the ability of any person to
122initiate an action within 30 days of the lifting of an automatic
123stay issued in a bankruptcy action as is provided in 11 U.S.C.
124s. 108(c).
125     (2)  No disability or other reason shall toll the running
126of any statute of limitations except those specified in this
127section, s. 95.091, the Florida Probate Code, or the Florida
128Guardianship Law.
129     Section 2.  Subsection (2) of section 193.023, Florida
130Statutes, is amended to read:
131     193.023  Duties of the property appraiser in making
132assessments.-
133     (2)  In making his or her assessment of the value of real
134property, the property appraiser is required to physically
135inspect the property at least once every 5 years. Where
136geographically suitable, and at the discretion of the property
137appraiser, the property appraiser may use image technology in
138lieu of physical inspection to ensure that the tax roll meets
139all the requirements of law. The Department of Revenue shall
140establish minimum standards for the use of image technology
141consistent with standards developed by professionally recognized
142sources for mass appraisal of real property. However, the
143property appraiser shall physically inspect any parcel of
144taxable real property upon the request of the taxpayer,
145certificateholder, or owner.
146     Section 3.  Subsection (7) of section 196.1995, Florida
147Statutes, is amended to read:
148     196.1995  Economic development ad valorem tax exemption.-
149     (7)  The authority to grant exemptions under this section
150expires will expire 10 years after the date such authority was
151approved in an election, but such authority may be renewed for
152subsequent another 10-year periods if each 10-year renewal is
153approved period in a referendum called and held pursuant to this
154section.
155     Section 4.  Section 197.102, Florida Statutes, is amended
156to read:
157     197.102  Definitions.-
158     (1)  As used in this chapter, the following definitions
159apply, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
160     (a)  "Awarded" means the time when the tax collector or a
161designee determines and announces verbally or through the
162closing of the bid process in an electronic auction that a buyer
163has placed the winning bid at a tax certificate sale.
164     (b)(1)  "Department," unless otherwise specified, means the
165Department of Revenue.
166     (c)(2)  "Omitted taxes" means those taxes which have not
167been extended on the tax roll against a parcel of property after
168the property has been placed upon the list of lands available
169for taxes pursuant to s. 197.502.
170     (d)  "Proxy bidding" means a method of bidding by which a
171bidder authorizes an agent, whether an individual or an
172electronic agent, to place bids on his or her behalf.
173     (e)  "Random number generator" means a computational device
174that generates a sequence of numbers that lack any pattern and
175is used to resolve a tie when multiple bidders have bid the same
176lowest amount by assigning a number to each of the tied bidders
177and randomly determining which one of those numbers is the
178winner.
179     (f)(3)  "Tax certificate" means a paper or electronic legal
180document, representing unpaid delinquent real property taxes,
181non-ad valorem assessments, including special assessments,
182interest, and related costs and charges, issued in accordance
183with this chapter against a specific parcel of real property and
184becoming a first lien thereon, superior to all other liens,
185except as provided by s. 197.573(2).
186     (g)(4)  "Tax notice" means the paper or electronic tax bill
187sent to taxpayers for payment of any taxes or special
188assessments collected pursuant to this chapter, or the bill sent
189to taxpayers for payment of the total of ad valorem taxes and
190non-ad valorem assessments collected pursuant to s. 197.3632.
191     (h)(5)  "Tax receipt" means the paid tax notice.
192     (i)(6)  "Tax rolls" and "assessment rolls" are synonymous
193and mean the rolls prepared by the property appraiser pursuant
194to chapter 193 and certified pursuant to s. 193.122.
195     (2)(7)  If when a local government uses the method set
196forth in s. 197.3632 to levy, collect, or enforce a non-ad
197valorem assessment, the following definitions shall apply:
198     (a)  "Ad valorem tax roll" means the roll prepared by the
199property appraiser and certified to the tax collector for
200collection.
201     (b)  "Non-ad valorem assessment roll" means a roll prepared
202by a local government and certified to the tax collector for
203collection.
204     Section 5.  Section 197.122, Florida Statutes, is amended
205to read:
206     197.122  Lien of taxes; dates; application.-
207     (1)  All taxes imposed pursuant to the State Constitution
208and laws of this state shall be a first lien, superior to all
209other liens, on any property against which the taxes have been
210assessed and shall continue in full force from January 1 of the
211year the taxes were levied until discharged by payment or until
212barred under chapter 95. If All personal property tax liens, to
213the extent that the property to which the lien applies cannot be
214located in the county or to the extent that the sale of the
215property is insufficient to pay all delinquent taxes, interest,
216fees, and costs due, a personal property tax lien shall apply be
217liens against all other personal property of the taxpayer in the
218county. However, a lien such liens against other personal
219property does shall not apply against such property that which
220has been sold, and is such liens against other personal property
221shall be subordinate to any valid prior or subsequent liens
222against such other property. An No act of omission or commission
223on the part of a any property appraiser, tax collector, board of
224county commissioners, clerk of the circuit court, or county
225comptroller, or their deputies or assistants, or newspaper in
226which an any advertisement of sale may be published does not
227shall operate to defeat the payment of taxes, interest, fees,
228and costs due and; but any acts of omission or commission may be
229corrected at any time by the officer or party responsible for
230them in the same like manner as provided by law for performing
231acts in the first place. Amounts, and when so corrected they
232shall be considered construed as valid ab initio and do not
233shall in no way affect any process by law for the enforcement of
234the collection of the any tax. All owners of property are shall
235be held to know that taxes are due and payable annually and are
236responsible for charged with the duty of ascertaining the amount
237of current and delinquent taxes and paying them before April 1
238of the year following the year in which taxes are assessed. A No
239sale or conveyance of real or personal property for nonpayment
240of taxes may not shall be held invalid except upon proof that:
241     (a)  The property was not subject to taxation;
242     (b)  The taxes were had been paid before the sale of
243personal property; or
244     (c)  The real property was had been redeemed before receipt
245by the clerk of the court of full payment for the execution and
246delivery of a deed based upon a certificate issued for
247nonpayment of taxes, including all recording fees and
248documentary stamps.
249     (2)  A lien created through the sale of a tax certificate
250may not be foreclosed or enforced in any manner except as
251prescribed in this chapter.
252     (3)  A property appraiser shall may also correct a material
253mistake of fact relating to an essential condition of the
254subject property to reduce an assessment that if to do so
255requires only the exercise of judgment as to the effect of the
256mistake of fact on the assessed or taxable value of that mistake
257of fact.
258     (a)  As used in this subsection, the term "an essential
259condition of the subject property" includes means a
260characteristic of the subject parcel, including only:
261     1.  Environmental restrictions, zoning restrictions, or
262restrictions on permissible use;
263     2.  Acreage;
264     3.  Wetlands or other environmental lands that are or have
265been restricted in use because of such environmental features;
266     4.  Access to usable land;
267     5.  Any characteristic of the subject parcel which
268characteristic, in the property appraiser's opinion, caused the
269appraisal to be clearly erroneous; or
270     6.  Depreciation of the property that was based on a latent
271defect of the property which existed but was not readily
272discernible by inspection on January 1, but not depreciation
273resulting from any other cause.
274     (b)  The material mistake of fact must may be corrected by
275the property appraiser, in the same like manner as provided by
276law for performing the act in the first place, only within 1
277year after the approval of the tax roll pursuant to s. 193.1142.
278If, and, when so corrected, the tax roll act becomes valid ab
279initio and does not affect in no way affects any process by law
280for the enforcement of the collection of the any tax. If the
281such a correction results in a refund of taxes paid on the basis
282of an erroneous assessment included contained on the current
283year's tax roll for years beginning January 1, 1999, or later,
284the property appraiser, at his or her option, may request that
285the department to pass upon the refund request pursuant to s.
286197.182 or may submit the correction and refund order directly
287to the tax collector for action in accordance with the notice
288provisions of s. 197.182(2). Corrections to tax rolls for
289previous prior years which would result in refunds must be made
290pursuant to s. 197.182.
291     Section 6.  Section 197.123, Florida Statutes, is amended
292to read:
293     197.123  Correcting Erroneous returns; notification of
294property appraiser.-If a any tax collector has reason to believe
295that a any taxpayer has filed an erroneous or incomplete
296statement of her or his personal property or has not disclosed
297returned the full amount of all of her or his property subject
298to taxation, the collector must shall notify the property
299appraiser of the erroneous or incomplete statement.
300     Section 7.  Section 197.146, Florida Statutes, is created
301to read:
302     197.146  Uncollectable personal property taxes; correction
303of tax roll.-A tax collector who determines that a tangible
304personal property account is uncollectable may issue a
305certificate of correction for the current tax roll and any prior
306tax rolls. The tax collector shall notify the property appraiser
307that the account is invalid, and the assessment may not be
308certified for a future tax roll. An uncollectable account
309includes, but is not limited to, an account on property that was
310originally assessed but cannot be found to seize and sell for
311the payment of taxes and includes other personal property of the
312owner as identified pursuant to s. 197.413(8) and (9).
313     Section 8.  Section 197.162, Florida Statutes, is amended
314to read:
315     197.162  Tax discount payment periods Discounts; amount and
316time.-
317     (1)  For On all taxes assessed on the county tax rolls and
318collected by the county tax collector, discounts for payments
319made before delinquency early payment thereof shall be at the
320rate of 4 percent in the month of November or at any time within
32130 days after the sending mailing of the original tax notice; 3
322percent in the following month of December; 2 percent in the
323following month of January; 1 percent in the following month of
324February; and zero percent in the following month of March or
325within 30 days prior to the date of delinquency if the date of
326delinquency is after April 1.
327     (2)  If When a taxpayer makes a request to have the
328original tax notice corrected, the discount rate for early
329payment applicable at the time of the request for correction is
330made shall apply for 30 days after the sending mailing of the
331corrected tax notice.
332     (3)  A discount rate shall apply at the rate of 4 percent
333applies for 30 days after the sending mailing of a tax notice
334resulting from the action of a value adjustment board.
335Thereafter, the regular discount periods shall apply.
336     (4)  If the For the purposes of this section, when a
337discount period ends on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday,
338the discount period, including the zero percent period, shall be
339extended to the next working day, if payment is delivered to the
340a designated collection office of the tax collector.
341     Section 9.  Subsections (2) and (4) of section 197.172,
342Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
343     197.172  Interest rate; calculation and minimum.-
344     (2)  The maximum rate of interest on a tax certificate is
345shall be 18 percent per year.; However, a tax certificate may
346shall not bear interest and nor shall the mandatory interest
347charge as provided by s. 197.472(2) may not be levied during the
34860-day period following of time from the date of delinquency,
349except for the 3 percent mandatory interest charged charge under
350subsection (1). No tax certificate sold before March 23, 1992,
351shall bear interest nor shall the mandatory charge as provided
352by s. 197.472(2) be levied in excess of the interest or charge
353provided herein, except as to those tax certificates upon which
354the mandatory charge as provided by s. 197.472(2) shall have
355been collected and paid.
356     (4)  Interest shall be calculated Except as provided in s.
357197.262 with regard to deferred payment tax certificates,
358interest to be accrued pursuant to this chapter shall be
359calculated monthly from the first day of each month.
360     Section 10.  Subsections (1), (2), and (3) of section
361197.182, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
362     197.182  Department of Revenue to pass upon and order
363refunds.-
364     (1)(a)  Except as provided in paragraphs paragraph (b),
365(c), and (d), the department shall pass upon and order refunds
366if when payment of taxes assessed on the county tax rolls has
367been made voluntarily or involuntarily under any of the
368following circumstances:
369     1.  When An overpayment has been made.
370     2.  When A payment has been made when no tax was due.
371     3.  When A bona fide controversy exists between the tax
372collector and the taxpayer as to the liability of the taxpayer
373for the payment of the tax claimed to be due, the taxpayer pays
374the amount claimed by the tax collector to be due, and it is
375finally adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction that the
376taxpayer was not liable for the payment of the tax or any part
377thereof.
378     4.  When A payment for a delinquent tax has been made in
379error by a taxpayer to the tax collector due to application of
380payment to an erroneous parcel or misinformation provided by the
381property appraiser or tax collector and, if, within 12 24 months
382after of the date of the erroneous payment and before prior to
383any transfer of the assessed property to a third party for
384consideration, the party seeking a refund makes demand for
385reimbursement of the erroneous payment upon the owner of the
386property on which the taxes were erroneously paid and
387reimbursement of the erroneous payment is not received within 45
388days after such demand. The demand for reimbursement must shall
389be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and a copy
390of the demand must thereof shall be sent to the tax collector.
391If the payment was made in error by the taxpayer because of an
392error in the tax notice sent to the taxpayer, refund must be
393made as provided in paragraph (d) subparagraph (b)2.
394     5.  A payment for a tax that has not become delinquent, has
395been made in error by a taxpayer to the tax collector due to the
396application of the payment to an erroneous parcel or
397misinformation provided by the property appraiser or tax
398collector, and within 18 months after the date of the erroneous
399payment and before any transfer of the assessed property to a
400third party for consideration, the party seeking a refund makes
401a demand for reimbursement of the erroneous payment upon the
402owner of the property on which the taxes were erroneously paid
403and reimbursement of the erroneous payment is not received
404within 45 days after such demand. The demand for reimbursement
405must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and a
406copy of the demand must be sent to the tax collector. If the
407payment was made in error by the taxpayer because of an error in
408the tax notice sent to the taxpayer, refund must be made as
409provided in paragraph (d).
410     6.5.  A When any payment is has been made for a tax
411certificate certificates that is are subsequently corrected or
412amended or is are subsequently determined to be void under s.
413197.443.
414     (b)1.  Those Refunds that have been ordered by a court and
415those refunds that do not result from changes made in the
416assessed value on a tax roll certified to the tax collector
417shall be made directly by the tax collector without order from
418the department and shall be made from undistributed funds
419without approval of the various taxing authorities.
420     (c)  Overpayments in the amount of $10 $5 or less may be
421retained by the tax collector unless a written claim for a
422refund is received from the taxpayer. Overpayments of more than
423$10 over $5 resulting from taxpayer error, if identified
424determined within 12 months the 4-year period of limitation,
425shall are to be automatically refunded to the taxpayer. Such
426refunds do not require approval from the department.
427     (d)2.  If When a payment has been made in error by a
428taxpayer to the tax collector because of an error in the tax
429notice sent to the taxpayer, refund must be made directly by the
430tax collector and does not require approval from the department.
431At the request of the taxpayer, the amount paid in error may be
432applied by the tax collector to the taxes for which the taxpayer
433is actually liable.
434     (e)(c)  Claims for refunds shall be made in accordance with
435the rules of the department. A No refund may not shall be
436granted unless a claim for the refund is made therefor within 4
437years after of January 1 of the tax year for which the taxes
438were paid.
439     (f)(d)  Upon receipt of the department's written denial of
440a the refund, the tax collector shall issue the denial in
441writing to the taxpayer.
442     (g)(e)  If funds are available from current receipts and,
443subject to subsection (3) and, if a refund is approved, the
444taxpayer shall is entitled to receive a refund within 100 days
445after a claim for refund is made, unless the tax collector,
446property appraiser, or department states good cause for
447remitting the refund after that date. The time periods times
448stated in this paragraph and paragraphs (i) (f) through (l) (j)
449are directory and may be extended by a maximum of an additional
45060 days if good cause is stated.
451     (h)(f)  If the taxpayer contacts the property appraiser
452first, the property appraiser shall refer the taxpayer to the
453tax collector.
454     (i)(g)  If a correction to the roll by the property
455appraiser is required as a condition for the refund, the tax
456collector shall, within 30 days, advise the property appraiser
457of the taxpayer's application for a refund and forward the
458application to the property appraiser.
459     (j)(h)  The property appraiser has 30 days after receipt of
460the form from the tax collector to correct the roll if a
461correction is permissible by law. Within After the 30-day period
46230 days, the property appraiser shall immediately advise the tax
463collector in writing of whether or not the roll has been
464corrected and state, stating the reasons why the roll was
465corrected or not corrected.
466     (k)(i)  If the refund requires is not one that can be
467directly acted upon by the tax collector, for which an order
468from the department is required, the tax collector shall forward
469the claim for refund to the department upon receipt of the
470correction from the property appraiser or 30 days after the
471claim for refund, whichever occurs first. This provision does
472not apply to corrections resulting in refunds of less than
473$2,500 $400, which the tax collector shall make directly,
474without order from the department, and from undistributed funds,
475and may make without approval of the various taxing authorities.
476     (l)(j)  The department shall approve or deny a claim for a
477refund all refunds within 30 days after receiving the from the
478tax collector the claim from the tax collector for refund,
479unless good cause is stated for delaying the approval or denial
480beyond that date.
481     (m)(k)  Subject to and after meeting the requirements of s.
482194.171 and this section, an action to contest a denial of
483refund must may not be brought within later than 60 days after
484the date the tax collector sends issues the denial to the
485taxpayer, which notice must be sent by certified mail, or 4
486years after January 1 of the year for which the taxes were paid,
487whichever is later. The tax collector may send notice of the
488denial electronically or by postal mail. Electronic transmission
489may be used only with the express consent of the property owner.
490If the notice of denial is sent electronically and is returned
491as undeliverable, a second notice must be sent by postal mail.
492However, the original electronic transmission is the official
493mailing for purpose of this section.
494     (n)(l)  In computing any time period under this section, if
495when the last day of the period is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal
496holiday, the period is to be extended to the next working day.
497     (2)(a)  If When the department orders a refund, the
498department it shall forward a copy of its order to the tax
499collector who shall then determine the pro rata share due by
500each taxing authority. The tax collector shall make the refund
501from undistributed funds held for that taxing authority and
502shall identify such refund as a reduction in the next
503distribution. If the undistributed funds are not sufficient for
504the refund, the tax collector shall notify the taxing authority
505of the shortfall. The taxing authority shall: and certify to the
506county, the district school board, each municipality, and the
507governing body of each taxing district, their pro rata shares of
508such refund, the reason for the refund, and the date the refund
509was ordered by the department.
510     (b)  The board of county commissioners, the district school
511board, each municipality, and the governing body of each taxing
512district shall comply with the order of the department in the
513following manner:
514     1.  Authorize the tax collector to make refund from
515undistributed funds held for that taxing authority by the tax
516collector;
517     (a)2.  Authorize the tax collector to make refund and
518forward to the tax collector its pro rata share of the refund
519from currently budgeted funds, if available; or
520     (b)3.  Notify the tax collector that the taxing authority
521does not have funds currently available and provide for the
522payment of the refund in its budget for the next ensuing year
523funds for the payment of the refund.
524     (3)  A refund ordered by the department pursuant to this
525section shall be made by the tax collector in one aggregate
526amount composed of all the pro rata shares of the several taxing
527authorities concerned, except that a partial refund is allowed
528if when one or more of the taxing authorities concerned do not
529have funds currently available to pay their pro rata shares of
530the refund and this would cause an unreasonable delay in the
531total refund. A statement by the tax collector explaining the
532refund shall accompany the refund payment. If When taxes become
533delinquent as a result of a refund pursuant to subparagraph
534(1)(a)5. subparagraph (1)(a)4. or paragraph (1)(d) subparagraph
535(1)(b)2., the tax collector shall notify the property owner that
536the taxes have become delinquent and that a tax certificate will
537be sold if the taxes are not paid within 30 days after the date
538of delinquency.
539     Section 11.  Subsections (1), (3), and (5) of section
540197.222, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
541     197.222  Prepayment of estimated tax by installment
542method.-
543     (1)  Taxes collected pursuant to this chapter may be
544prepaid in installments as provided in this section. A taxpayer
545may elect to prepay by installments for each tax notice for with
546taxes estimated to be more than $100. A taxpayer who elects to
547prepay taxes shall make payments based upon an estimated tax
548equal to the actual taxes levied upon the subject property in
549the prior year. To prepay by installments, the Such taxpayer
550must shall complete and file an application for each tax notice
551to prepay such taxes by installment with the tax collector on or
552before April 30 prior to May 1 of the year in which the taxpayer
553elects to prepay the taxes in installments pursuant to this
554section. The application shall be made on forms supplied by the
555department and provided to the taxpayer by the tax collector.
556After submission of an initial application, a taxpayer is shall
557not be required to submit additional annual applications as long
558as he or she continues to elect to prepay taxes in installments
559pursuant to this section. However, if in any year the taxpayer
560does not so elect, reapplication is shall be required for a
561subsequent election to do so. Installment payments shall be made
562according to the following schedule:
563     (a)  The first payment of one-quarter of the total amount
564of estimated taxes due must shall be made by not later than June
56530 of the year in which the taxes are assessed. A 6-percent
566discount applied against the amount of the installment shall be
567granted for such payment. The tax collector may accept a late
568payment of the first installment through July 31, and the under
569this paragraph within 30 days after June 30; such late payment
570must be accompanied by a penalty of 5 percent of the amount of
571the installment due.
572     (b)  The second payment of one-quarter of the total amount
573of estimated taxes must due shall be made by not later than
574September 30 of the year in which the taxes are assessed. A 4.5-
575percent discount applied against the amount of the installment
576shall be granted for such payment.
577     (c)  The third payment of one-quarter of the total amount
578of estimated taxes due, plus one-half of any adjustment made
579pursuant to a determination of actual tax liability, must shall
580be made by not later than December 31 of the year in which taxes
581are assessed. A 3 percent 3-percent discount applied against the
582amount of the installment shall be granted for such payment.
583     (d)  The fourth payment of one-quarter of the total amount
584of estimated taxes due, plus one-half of any adjustment made
585pursuant to a determination of actual tax liability, must shall
586be made by not later than March 31 following the year in which
587taxes are assessed. A No discount may not shall be granted for
588such payment.
589     (e)  If For purposes of this section, when an installment
590due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the due
591date for the installment is shall be the next working day, if
592the installment payment is delivered to a designated collection
593office of the tax collector. Taxpayers making such payment shall
594be entitled to the applicable discount rate authorized in this
595section.
596     (3)  Upon receiving a taxpayer's application for
597participation in the prepayment installment plan, and the tax
598collector shall mail to the taxpayer a statement of the
599taxpayer's estimated tax liability which shall be equal to the
600actual taxes levied on the subject property in the preceding
601year; such statement shall indicate the amount of each quarterly
602installment after application of the discount rates provided in
603this section, and a payment schedule, based upon the schedule
604provided in this section and furnished by the department. for
605those taxpayers who participated in the prepayment installment
606plan for the previous year and who are not required to reapply,
607the tax collector shall send a quarterly tax notice with the
608discount rates provided in this section according to the payment
609schedule provided by the department the statement shall be
610mailed by June 1. During the first month that the tax roll is
611open for payment of taxes, the tax collector shall mail to the
612taxpayer a statement which shows the amount of the remaining
613installment payments to be made after application of the
614discount rates provided in this section. The postage or cost of
615electronic mailing shall be paid out of the general fund of the
616county, upon statement of the costs thereof by the tax
617collector.
618     (5)  Notice of the right to prepay taxes pursuant to this
619section shall be provided with the notice of taxes. The Such
620notice shall inform the taxpayer of the right to prepay taxes in
621installments, and that application forms can be obtained from
622the tax collector, and shall state that reapplication is not
623necessary if the taxpayer participated in the prepayment
624installment plan for the previous year. The application forms
625shall be provided by the department and shall be mailed by the
626tax collector to those taxpayers requesting an application.
627     Section 12.  Subsections (3) and (9) of section 197.2301,
628Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
629     197.2301  Payment of taxes prior to certified roll
630procedure.-
631     (3)  Immediately upon receipt of the property appraiser's
632certification under subsection (2), the tax collector shall
633publish a notice cause to be published in a newspaper of general
634circulation in the county and shall prominently post at the
635courthouse door a notice that the tax roll will not be certified
636for collection before prior to January 1 and that payments of
637estimated taxes may be made will be allowed by those taxpayers
638who submit tender payment to the collector on or before December
63931.
640     (9)  After the discount has been applied to the estimated
641taxes paid and it is determined that an underpayment or
642overpayment has occurred, the following shall apply:
643     (a)  If the amount of underpayment or overpayment is $10 $5
644or less, then no additional billing or refund is required except
645as determined by the tax collector.
646     (b)  If the amount of overpayment is more than $10 $5, the
647tax collector shall immediately refund to the person who paid
648the estimated tax the amount of overpayment. Department of
649Revenue approval is shall not be required for such the refund of
650overpayment made pursuant to this subsection.
651     Section 13.  Section 197.2421, Florida Statutes, is created
652to read:
653     197.2421  Property tax deferral.-
654     (1)  If a property owner applies for a property tax
655deferral and meets the criteria established in this chapter, the
656tax collector shall approve the deferral of such ad valorem
657taxes and non-ad valorem assessments.
658     (2)  Authorized property tax deferral programs are:
659     (a)  Homestead tax deferral.
660     (b)  Recreational and commercial working waterfront
661deferral.
662     (c)  Affordable rental housing deferral.
663     (3)  Ad valorem taxes, non-ad valorem assessments, and
664interest deferred pursuant to this chapter shall constitute a
665priority lien and shall attach to the property in the same
666manner as other tax liens. Deferred taxes, assessments, and
667interest, however, shall be due, payable, and delinquent as
668provided in this chapter.
669     Section 14.  Section 197.2423, Florida Statutes, is created
670to read:
671     197.2423  Application for property tax deferral;
672determination of approval or denial by tax collector.-
673     (1)  A property owner is responsible for submitting an
674annual application for tax deferral with the county tax
675collector on or before March 31 following the year in which the
676taxes and non-ad valorem assessments are assessed.
677     (2)  Each applicant shall demonstrate compliance with the
678requirements for tax deferral.
679     (3)  The application for deferral shall be made upon a form
680provided by the tax collector. The tax collector may require the
681applicant to submit other evidence and documentation deemed
682necessary in considering the application. The application form
683shall advise the applicant:
684     (a)  Of the manner in which interest is computed.
685     (b)  Of the conditions that must be met to qualify for
686approval.
687     (c)  Of the conditions under which deferred taxes,
688assessments, and interest become due, payable, and delinquent.
689     (d)  That all tax deferrals pursuant to this section
690constitute a lien on the applicant's property.
691     (4)  Each application shall include a list of all
692outstanding liens on the property and the current value of each
693lien.
694     (5)  Each applicant shall furnish proof of fire and
695extended coverage insurance in an amount at least equal to the
696total of all outstanding liens, including a lien for deferred
697taxes, non-ad valorem assessments, and interest with a loss
698payable clause to the tax collector.
699     (6)  The tax collector shall consider each annual
700application for a tax deferral within 45 days after the
701application is filed or as soon as practicable thereafter. The
702tax collector shall exercise reasonable discretion based upon
703applicable information available under this section. A tax
704collector who finds that the applicant is entitled to the tax
705deferral shall approve the application and maintain the deferral
706records until the tax lien is satisfied.
707     (7)  For approved deferrals, the date of receipt by the tax
708collector of the application for tax deferral shall be used in
709calculating taxes due and payable net of discounts for early
710payment as provided in s. 197.162.
711     (8)  The tax collector shall notify the property appraiser
712in writing of those parcels for which taxes have been deferred.
713     (9)  A tax deferral may not be granted if:
714     (a)  The total amount of deferred taxes, non-ad valorem
715assessments, and interest, plus the total amount of all other
716unsatisfied liens on the property, exceeds 85 percent of the
717just value of the property; or
718     (b)  The primary mortgage financing on the property is for
719an amount that exceeds 70 percent of the just value of the
720property.
721     (10)  A tax collector who finds that the applicant is not
722entitled to the deferral shall send a notice of disapproval
723within 45 days after the date the application is filed, citing
724the reason for disapproval. The original notice of disapproval
725shall be sent to the applicant and shall advise the applicant of
726the right to appeal the decision to the value adjustment board
727and shall inform the applicant of the procedure for filing such
728an appeal.
729     Section 15.  Section 197.253, Florida Statutes, is
730transferred, renumbered as section 197.2425, Florida Statutes,
731and amended to read:
732     197.2425 197.253  Appeal of denied Homestead tax deferral;
733application.-An appeal of a denied tax deferral must be made by
734the property owner
735     (1)  The application for deferral shall be made upon a form
736prescribed by the department and furnished by the county tax
737collector. The application form shall be signed upon oath by the
738applicant before an officer authorized by the state to
739administer oaths. The tax collector may, in his or her
740discretion, require the applicant to submit such other evidence
741and documentation as deemed necessary by the tax collector in
742considering the application. The application form shall advise
743the applicant of the manner in which interest is computed. Each
744application form shall contain an explanation of the conditions
745to be met for approval and the conditions under which deferred
746taxes and interest become due, payable, and delinquent. Each
747application shall clearly state that all deferrals pursuant to
748this act shall constitute a lien on the applicant's homestead.
749     (2)(a)  The tax collector shall consider each annual
750application for homestead tax deferral within 30 days of the day
751the application is filed or as soon as practicable thereafter. A
752tax collector who finds that the applicant is entitled to the
753tax deferral shall approve the application and file the
754application in the permanent records. A tax collector who finds
755the applicant is not entitled to the deferral shall send a
756notice of disapproval within 30 days of the filing of the
757application, giving reasons therefor to the applicant, either by
758personal delivery or by registered mail to the mailing address
759given by the applicant and shall make return in the manner in
760which such notice was served upon the applicant upon the
761original notice thereof and file among the permanent records of
762the tax collector's office. The original notice of disapproval
763sent to the applicant shall advise the applicant of the right to
764appeal the decision of the tax collector to the value adjustment
765board and shall inform the applicant of the procedure for filing
766such an appeal.
767     (b)  Appeals of the decision of the tax collector to the
768value adjustment board shall be in writing on a form prescribed
769by the department and furnished by the tax collector. The Such
770appeal must shall be filed with the value adjustment board
771within 30 20 days after the notice of disapproval is sent to the
772applicant applicant's receipt of the notice of disapproval. The
773value adjustment board shall review the application and the
774evidence presented to the tax collector upon which the applicant
775based his or her claim for tax deferral and, at the election of
776the applicant, shall hear the applicant in person, or by agent
777on the applicant's behalf, on his or her right to homestead tax
778deferral. The value adjustment board shall reverse the decision
779of the tax collector and grant a homestead tax deferral to the
780applicant, if in its judgment the applicant is entitled to the
781tax deferral thereto, or shall affirm the decision of the tax
782collector. An Such action by of the value adjustment board is
783shall be final unless the applicant or tax collector files a de
784novo proceeding for a declaratory judgment or other appropriate
785proceeding in the circuit court of the county in which the
786property is located or other lienholder, within 15 days after
787from the date of the decision disapproval of the application by
788the board, files in the circuit court of the county in which the
789property is located, a proceeding for a declaratory judgment or
790other appropriate proceeding.
791     (3)  Each application shall contain a list of, and the
792current value of, all outstanding liens on the applicant's
793homestead.
794     (4)  For approved applications, the date of receipt by the
795tax collector of the application for tax deferral shall be used
796in calculating taxes due and payable net of discounts for early
797payment as provided for by s. 197.162.
798     (5)  If such proof has not been furnished with a prior
799application, each applicant shall furnish proof of fire and
800extended coverage insurance in an amount which is in excess of
801the sum of all outstanding liens and deferred taxes and interest
802with a loss payable clause to the county tax collector.
803     (6)  The tax collector shall notify the property appraiser
804in writing of those parcels for which taxes have been deferred.
805     (7)  The property appraiser shall promptly notify the tax
806collector of denials of homestead application and changes in
807ownership of properties that have been granted a tax deferral.
808     Section 16.  Section 197.243, Florida Statutes, is amended
809to read:
810     197.243  Definitions relating to homestead property tax
811deferral Act.-
812     (1)  "Household" means a person or group of persons living
813together in a room or group of rooms as a housing unit, but the
814term does not include persons boarding in or renting a portion
815of the dwelling.
816     (2)  "Income" means the "adjusted gross income," as defined
817in s. 62 of the United States Internal Revenue Code, of all
818members of a household.
819     Section 17.  Section 197.252, Florida Statutes, is amended
820to read:
821     197.252  Homestead tax deferral.-
822     (1)  Any person who is entitled to claim homestead tax
823exemption under the provisions of s. 196.031(1) may apply elect
824to defer payment of a portion of the combined total of the ad
825valorem taxes, and any non-ad valorem assessments, and interest
826which would be covered by a tax certificate sold under this
827chapter levied on that person's homestead by filing an annual
828application for tax deferral with the county tax collector on or
829before January 31 following the year in which the taxes and non-
830ad valorem assessments are assessed. Any applicant who is
831entitled to receive the homestead tax exemption but has waived
832it for any reason shall furnish, with the application for tax
833deferral, a certificate of eligibility to receive the exemption.
834Such certificate shall be prepared by the county property
835appraiser upon request of the taxpayer. It shall be the burden
836of each applicant to affirmatively demonstrate compliance with
837the requirements of this section.
838     (2)(a)  Approval of an application for homestead tax
839deferral shall defer that portion of the combined total of ad
840valorem taxes and any non-ad valorem assessments:
841     1.  That which would be covered by a tax certificate sold
842under this chapter otherwise due and payable on the applicant's
843homestead pursuant to s. 197.333 which exceeds 5 percent of the
844applicant's household household's income for the prior calendar
845year if the applicant is younger than 65 years old;
846     2.  That exceeds 3 percent of the applicant's household
847income for the prior calendar year if the applicant is 65 years
848old or older; or
849     3.  In its entirety if the applicant's household income:
850     a.  For the previous calendar year is less than $10,000; or
851     b.  Is less than the designated amount for the additional
852homestead exemption under s. 196.075 and the applicant is 65
853years old or older. If any such applicant's household income for
854the prior calendar year is less than $10,000, approval of such
855application shall defer such ad valorem taxes plus non-ad
856valorem assessments in their entirety.
857     (b)  If the applicant is 65 years of age or older, approval
858of the application shall defer that portion of the ad valorem
859taxes plus non-ad valorem assessments which exceeds 3 percent of
860the applicant's household income for the prior calendar year. If
861any applicant's household income for the prior calendar year is
862less than $10,000, or is less than the amount of the household
863income designated for the additional homestead exemption
864pursuant to s. 196.075, and the applicant is 65 years of age or
865older, approval of the application shall defer the ad valorem
866taxes plus non-ad valorem assessments in their entirety.
867     (b)(c)  The household income of an applicant who applies
868for a tax deferral before the end of the calendar year in which
869the taxes and non-ad valorem assessments are assessed shall be
870for the current year, adjusted to reflect estimated income for
871the full calendar year period. The estimate of a full year's
872household income shall be made by multiplying the household
873income received to the date of application by a fraction, the
874numerator being 365 and the denominator being the number of days
875expired in the calendar year to the date of application.
876     (3)  The property appraiser shall promptly notify the tax
877collector if there is a change in ownership or the homestead
878exemption has been denied on property that has been granted a
879tax deferral. No tax deferral shall be granted:
880     (a)  If the total amount of deferred taxes, non-ad valorem
881assessments, and interest plus the total amount of all other
882unsatisfied liens on the homestead exceeds 85 percent of the
883assessed value of the homestead, or
884     (b)  If the primary mortgage financing on the homestead is
885for an amount which exceeds 70 percent of the assessed value of
886the homestead.
887     (4)  The amount of taxes, non-ad valorem assessments, and
888interest deferred under this act shall accrue interest at a rate
889equal to the semiannually compounded rate of one-half of 1
890percent plus the average yield to maturity of the long-term
891fixed-income portion of the Florida Retirement System
892investments as of the end of the quarter preceding the date of
893the sale of the deferred payment tax certificates; however, the
894interest rate may not exceed 7 percent.
895     (5)  The taxes, non-ad valorem assessments, and interest
896deferred pursuant to this act shall constitute a prior lien and
897shall attach as of the date and in the same manner and be
898collected as other liens for taxes, as provided for under this
899chapter, but such deferred taxes, non-ad valorem assessments,
900and interest shall only be due, payable, and delinquent as
901provided in this act.
902     Section 18.  Section 197.303, Florida Statutes, is
903transferred, renumbered as section 197.2524, Florida Statutes,
904and amended to read:
905     197.2524 197.303  Ad valorem Tax deferral for recreational
906and commercial working waterfront properties and affordable
907rental housing property.-
908     (1)  This section applies to: The board of county
909commissioners of any county or the governing authority of any
910municipality may adopt an ordinance to allow for ad valorem tax
911deferrals for
912     (a)  Recreational and commercial working waterfront
913properties if the owners are engaging in the operation,
914rehabilitation, or renovation of such properties in accordance
915with guidelines established in this section.
916     (b)  Affordable rental housing, if the owners are engaging
917in the operation, rehabilitation, or renovation of such
918properties in accordance with the guidelines provided in part VI
919of chapter 420.
920     (2)  The board of county commissioners of any county or the
921governing authority of a the municipality may adopt an by
922ordinance to may authorize the deferral of ad valorem taxes
923taxation and non-ad valorem assessments for recreational and
924commercial working waterfront properties described in subsection
925(1).
926     (3)  The ordinance shall designate the percentage or amount
927of the deferral and the type and location of the working
928waterfront property and, including the type of public lodging
929establishments, for which deferrals may be granted, which may
930include any property meeting the provisions of s. 342.07(2),
931which property may require the property be further required to
932be located within a particular geographic area or areas of the
933county or municipality. For property defined in s. 342.07(2) as
934"recreational and commercial working waterfront," the ordinance
935may specify the type of public lodging establishments that
936qualify.
937     (4)  The ordinance must specify that such deferrals apply
938only to taxes or assessments levied by the unit of government
939granting the deferral. However, a deferral may not be granted
940for the deferrals do not apply, however, to taxes or non-ad
941valorem assessments defined in s. 197.3632(1)(d) levied for the
942payment of bonds or for to taxes authorized by a vote of the
943electors pursuant to s. 9(b) or s. 12, Art. VII of the State
944Constitution.
945     (5)  The ordinance must specify that any deferral granted
946remains in effect regardless of any change in the authority of
947the county or municipality to grant the deferral. In order to
948retain the deferral, however, the use and ownership of the
949property as a working waterfront must remain as it was when the
950deferral was granted for be maintained over the period in for
951which the deferral remains is granted.
952     (6)(a)  If an application for deferral is granted on
953property that is located in a community redevelopment area, the
954amount of taxes eligible for deferral shall be limited reduced,
955as provided for in paragraph (b), if:
956     1.  The community redevelopment agency has previously
957issued instruments of indebtedness that are secured by increment
958revenues on deposit in the community redevelopment trust fund;
959and
960     2.  Those instruments of indebtedness are associated with
961the real property applying for the deferral.
962     (b)  If the provisions of paragraph (a) applies apply, the
963tax deferral may shall not apply only to the an amount of taxes
964in excess of equal to the amount that must be deposited into the
965community redevelopment trust fund by the entity granting the
966deferral based upon the taxable value of the property upon which
967the deferral is being granted. Once all instruments of
968indebtedness that existed at the time the deferral was
969originally granted are no longer outstanding or have otherwise
970been defeased, the provisions of this paragraph shall no longer
971apply.
972     (c)  If a portion of the taxes on a property were not
973eligible for deferral under because of the provisions of
974paragraph (b), the community redevelopment agency shall notify
975the property owner and the tax collector 1 year before the debt
976instruments that prevented said taxes from being deferred are no
977longer outstanding or otherwise defeased.
978     (d)  The tax collector shall notify a community
979redevelopment agency of any tax deferral that has been granted
980on property located within the community redevelopment area of
981that agency.
982     (e)  Issuance of debt obligation after the date a deferral
983has been granted shall not reduce the amount of taxes eligible
984for deferral.
985     Section 19.  Section 197.3071, Florida Statutes, is
986transferred, renumbered as section 197.2526, Florida Statutes,
987and amended to read:
988     197.2526 197.3071  Eligibility for tax deferral for
989affordable rental housing property.-The tax deferral authorized
990by s. 197.2524 this section is applicable only on a pro rata
991basis to the ad valorem taxes levied on residential units within
992a property which meet the following conditions:
993     (1)  Units for which the monthly rent along with taxes,
994insurance, and utilities does not exceed 30 percent of the
995median adjusted gross annual income as defined in s. 420.0004
996for the households described in subsection (2).
997     (2)  Units that are occupied by extremely-low-income
998persons, very-low-income persons, low-income persons, or
999moderate-income persons as these terms are defined in s.
1000420.0004.
1001     Section 20.  Section 197.254, Florida Statutes, is amended
1002to read:
1003     197.254  Annual notification to taxpayer.-
1004     (1)  The tax collector shall notify the taxpayer of each
1005parcel appearing on the real property assessment roll of the
1006right to defer payment of taxes and non-ad valorem assessments
1007and interest on homestead property pursuant to s. 197.252.
1008pursuant to ss. 197.242-197.312. Such notice shall be printed on
1009the back of envelopes used for mailing the notice of taxes
1010provided for by s. 197.322(3). Such notice of the right to defer
1011payment of taxes and non-ad valorem assessments shall read:
1012
1013
NOTICE TO TAXPAYERS ENTITLED
1014
TO HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION
1015
1016     "If your income is low enough to meet certain conditions,
1017you may qualify for a deferred tax payment plan on homestead
1018property. An application to determine eligibility is available
1019in the county tax collector's office."
1020     (2)  On or before November 1 of each year, the tax
1021collector shall notify each taxpayer to whom a tax deferral has
1022been previously granted of the accumulated sum of deferred
1023taxes, non-ad valorem assessments, and interest outstanding.
1024     Section 21.  Section 197.262, Florida Statutes, is amended
1025to read:
1026     197.262  Deferred payment tax certificates.-
1027     (1)  The tax collector shall notify each local governing
1028body of the amount of taxes and non-ad valorem assessments
1029deferred which would otherwise have been collected for such
1030governing body. The county shall then, At a the time of the tax
1031certificate sale held pursuant to s. 197.432, the tax collector
1032shall strike to the county each certificate on property for
1033which taxes have been deferred off to the county. Certificates
1034issued pursuant to this section are exempt from the public sale
1035of tax certificates held pursuant to s. 197.432 or s. 197.4725.
1036     (2)  The certificates so held by the county shall bear
1037interest at a rate equal to the semiannually compounded rate of
10380.5 percent plus the average yield to maturity of the long-term
1039fixed-income portion of the Florida Retirement System
1040investments as of the end of the quarter preceding the date of
1041the sale of the deferred payment tax certificates.; However, the
1042interest rate may not exceed 7 9.5 percent.
1043     Section 22.  Section 197.263, Florida Statutes, is amended
1044to read:
1045     197.263  Change in ownership or use of property.-
1046     (1)  If In the event that there is a change in use or
1047ownership of tax-deferred property such that the owner is no
1048longer eligible for the tax deferral granted entitled to claim
1049homestead exemption for such property pursuant to s. 196.031(1),
1050or the owner such person fails to maintain the required fire and
1051extended insurance coverage, the total amount of deferred taxes
1052and interest for all previous years shall be due and payable
1053November 1 of the year in which the change in use occurs or on
1054the date failure to maintain insurance occurs. Payment and shall
1055be delinquent on April 1 of the year following the year in which
1056the change in use or failure to maintain insurance occurs.
1057However, if the change in ownership is to a surviving spouse and
1058the spouse is eligible to maintain the tax deferral on such
1059property, the surviving spouse may continue the deferment of
1060previously deferred taxes and interest pursuant to this chapter.
1061     (2)  In the event that there is a change in ownership of
1062tax-deferred property, the total amount of deferred taxes and
1063interest for all previous years shall be due and payable on the
1064date the change in ownership takes place and shall be delinquent
1065on April 1 following said date. When, however, the change in
1066ownership is to a surviving spouse and such spouse is eligible
1067to claim homestead exemption on such property pursuant to s.
1068196.031(1), such surviving spouse may continue the deferment of
1069previously deferred taxes and interest pursuant to the
1070provisions of this act.
1071     (2)(3)  Whenever the property appraiser discovers that
1072there has been a change in the ownership or use of property
1073which has been granted a tax deferral, the property appraiser
1074shall notify the tax collector in writing of the date such
1075change occurs, and the tax collector shall collect any taxes,
1076assessments, and interest due or delinquent.
1077     (3)(4)  During any year in which the total amount of
1078deferred taxes, interest, assessments, and all other unsatisfied
1079liens on the homestead exceeds 85 percent of the just assessed
1080value of the homestead, the tax collector shall immediately
1081notify the owner of the property on which taxes and interest
1082have been deferred that the portion of taxes, and interest, and
1083assessments which exceeds 85 percent of the just assessed value
1084of the homestead is shall be due and payable within 30 days
1085after of receipt of the notice is sent. Failure to pay the
1086amount due causes shall cause the total amount of deferred
1087taxes, and interest, and assessments to become delinquent.
1088     (4)(5)  Each year, upon notification, each owner of
1089property on which taxes, and interest, and assessments have been
1090deferred shall submit to the tax collector a list of, and the
1091current value of, all outstanding liens on the owner's
1092homestead. Failure to respond to this notification within 30
1093days shall cause the total amount of deferred taxes, and
1094interest, and assessments to become payable within 30 days.
1095     (5)(6)  If In the event deferred taxes, interest, and
1096assessments become delinquent under this chapter, then on or
1097before June 1 following the date the taxes become delinquent,
1098the tax collector shall sell a tax certificate for the
1099delinquent taxes, and interest, and assessments in the manner
1100provided by s. 197.432.
1101     Section 23.  Section 197.272, Florida Statutes, is amended
1102to read:
1103     197.272  Prepayment of deferred taxes.-
1104     (1)  All or part of the deferred taxes and accrued interest
1105may at any time be paid to the tax collector. by:
1106     (a)  The owner of the property or the spouse of the owner.
1107     (b)  The next of kin of the owner, heir of the owner, child
1108of the owner, or any person having or claiming a legal or
1109equitable interest in the property, provided no objection is
1110made by the owner within 30 days after the tax collector
1111notifies the owner of the fact that such payment has been
1112tendered.
1113     (2)  Any partial payment that is less than the total amount
1114due must be equal to the amount of the deferred taxes, interest,
1115assessments, and for 1 or more full years made pursuant to this
1116section shall be applied first to accrued interest.
1117     Section 24.  Section 197.282, Florida Statutes, is amended
1118to read:
1119     197.282  Distribution of payments.-When any amount of
1120deferred taxes, assessments, or interest is collected, the tax
1121collector shall maintain a record of the payment, setting forth
1122a description of the property and the amount of taxes or
1123interest collected for such property. The tax collector shall
1124distribute payments received in accordance with the procedures
1125for distribution of ad valorem taxes, non-ad valorem
1126assessments, or redemption moneys as prescribed in this chapter.
1127     Section 25.  Section 197.292, Florida Statutes, is amended
1128to read:
1129     197.292  Construction.-Nothing in This chapter does not:
1130act shall be construed to prevent
1131     (1)  Prohibit the collection of personal property taxes
1132that which become a lien against tax-deferred property;,
1133     (2)  Defer payment of special assessments to benefited
1134property other than those specifically allowed to be deferred;,
1135or
1136     (3)  Affect any provision of any mortgage or other
1137instrument relating to property requiring a person to pay ad
1138valorem taxes or non-ad valorem assessments.
1139     Section 26.  Section 197.301, Florida Statutes, is amended
1140to read:
1141     197.301  Penalties.-
1142     (1)  The following penalties shall be imposed on any person
1143who willfully files incorrect information for a tax deferral
1144required under s. 197.252 or s. 197.263 which is incorrect:
1145     (a)  The Such person shall pay the total amount of deferred
1146taxes, non-ad valorem assessments subject to collection pursuant
1147to the uniform method of collection set forth in s. 197.3632,
1148and interest deferred, which amount shall immediately become
1149due.;
1150     (b)  The Such person shall be disqualified from filing a
1151homestead tax deferral application for the next 3 years.; and
1152     (c)  The Such person shall pay a penalty of 25 percent of
1153the total amount of deferred taxes, non-ad valorem assessments
1154subject to collection pursuant to the uniform method of
1155collection set forth in s. 197.3632, and interest deferred.
1156     (2)  Any person against whom the penalties prescribed in
1157this section have been imposed may appeal the penalties imposed
1158to the value adjustment board within 30 days after said
1159penalties are imposed.
1160     Section 27.  Section 197.312, Florida Statutes, is amended
1161to read:
1162     197.312  Payment by mortgagee.-If any mortgagee elects
1163shall elect to pay the taxes when an applicant qualifies for tax
1164deferral, then such election does shall not give the mortgagee
1165the right to foreclose.
1166     Section 28.  Section 197.322, Florida Statutes, is amended
1167to read:
1168     197.322  Delivery of ad valorem tax and non-ad valorem
1169assessment rolls; notice of taxes; publication and mail.-
1170     (1)  The property appraiser shall deliver to the tax
1171collector the certified assessment roll along with his or her
1172warrant and recapitulation sheet.
1173     (2)  The tax collector shall on November 1, or as soon as
1174the assessment roll is open for collection, publish a notice in
1175a local newspaper that the tax roll is open for collection.
1176     (3)  Within 20 working days after receipt of the certified
1177ad valorem tax roll and the non-ad valorem assessment rolls, the
1178tax collector shall send mail to each taxpayer appearing on such
1179said rolls, whose post office address is known to him or her, a
1180tax notice stating the amount of current taxes due, from the
1181taxpayer and, if applicable, the fact that back taxes remain
1182unpaid and advising the taxpayer of the discounts allowed for
1183early payment, and that delinquent taxes are outstanding, if
1184applicable. Pursuant to s. 197.3632, the form of the notice of
1185non-ad valorem assessments and notice of ad valorem taxes shall
1186be in the form specified as provided in s. 197.3635 and no other
1187form shall be used, notwithstanding the provisions of s.
1188195.022. The tax collector may send such notice electronically
1189or by postal mail. Electronic transmission may be used only with
1190the express consent of the property owner. Electronic
1191transmission of tax notices may be sent earlier but may not be
1192sent later than the postal mailing of the notices. If the notice
1193of taxes is sent electronically and is returned as
1194undeliverable, a second notice shall be sent by postal mail.
1195However, the original electronic transmission is the official
1196mailing for purpose of this section. A discount period may not
1197be extended due to a tax bill being returned as undeliverable
1198electronically or by postal mail. The postage for mailing or the
1199cost of electronic transmission shall be paid out of the general
1200fund of each local governing board, upon statement of the amount
1201thereof by the tax collector.
1202     Section 29.  Section 197.332, Florida Statutes, is amended
1203to read:
1204     197.332  Duties of tax collectors; branch offices.-
1205     (1)  The tax collector has the authority and obligation to
1206collect all taxes as shown on the tax roll by the date of
1207delinquency or to collect delinquent taxes, interest, and costs,
1208by sale of tax certificates on real property and by seizure and
1209sale of personal property. The tax collector may perform such
1210duties by use of contracted services or products or by
1211electronic means. The use of contracted services, products, or
1212vendors does not diminish the responsibility or liability of the
1213tax collector to perform such duties pursuant to law. The tax
1214collector may shall be allowed to collect the cost of contracted
1215services and reasonable attorney's fees and court costs in
1216actions on proceedings to recover delinquent taxes, interest,
1217and costs.
1218     (2)  A county tax collector may establish one or more
1219branch offices by acquiring title to real property or by lease
1220agreement. The tax collector may staff and equip such branch
1221offices to conduct state business, or if authorized to do so by
1222resolution of the county governing body conduct county business
1223pursuant to s. (1)(k), Art. VIII of the State Constitution. The
1224department shall rely on the tax collector's determination that
1225a branch office is necessary and shall base its approval of the
1226tax collector's budget in accordance with the procedures of s.
1227195.087(2).
1228     Section 30.  Section 197.343, Florida Statutes, is amended
1229to read:
1230     197.343  Tax notices; additional notice required.-
1231     (1)  An additional tax notice shall be sent, electronically
1232or by postal mail, mailed by April 30 to each taxpayer whose
1233payment has not been received. Electronic transmission of the
1234additional tax notice may be used only with the express consent
1235of the property owner. If the electronic transmission is
1236returned as undeliverable, a second notice must be sent by
1237postal mail. However, the original electronic transmission is
1238the official notice for the purposes of this subsection. The
1239notice shall include a description of the property and a
1240statement that if the taxes are not paid:
1241     (a)  For real property, a tax certificate may be sold; and
1242     (b)  For tangible personal property, the property may be
1243sold the following statement: If the taxes for ...(year)... on
1244your property are not paid in full, a tax certificate will be
1245sold for the delinquent taxes, and your property may be sold at
1246a future date. Contact the tax collector's office at once.
1247     (2)  A duplicate of the additional tax notice required by
1248subsection (1) shall be mailed to a condominium unit owner's
1249condominium association or to a mobile home owner's homeowners'
1250association as defined in s. 723.075 if the association has
1251filed with the tax collector a written request and included a
1252description of the land. The tax collector is authorized to
1253charge a reasonable fee for the cost of this service.
1254     (2)(3)  When the taxes under s. 193.481 on subsurface
1255rights have become delinquent and a tax certificate is to be
1256sold under this chapter, a notice of the delinquency shall be
1257sent given by first-class mail to the owner of the fee to which
1258these subsurface rights are attached. The additional notice may
1259be transmitted electronically only with the express consent of
1260the fee owner. If the electronic transmission is returned as
1261undeliverable, a second notice must be sent by postal mail.
1262However, the original electronic transmission is the official
1263notice for the purposes of this subsection. On the day of the
1264tax sale, the fee owner shall have the right to purchase the tax
1265certificate at the maximum rate of interest provided by law
1266before bids are accepted for the sale of such certificate.
1267     (3)(4)  The tax collector shall send mail such additional
1268notices as he or she considers proper and necessary or as may be
1269required by reasonable rules of the department. An additional
1270notice may be transmitted electronically only with the express
1271consent of the property owner. If the notice of taxes is sent
1272electronically and is returned as undeliverable, a second notice
1273shall be sent by postal mail. However, the original electronic
1274transmission is the official mailing for purpose of this
1275section.
1276     Section 31.  Subsections (1) and (2) of section 197.344,
1277Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
1278     197.344  Lienholders; receipt of notices and delinquent
1279taxes.-
1280     (1)  When requested in writing, a tax notice shall be sent
1281mailed according to the following procedures:
1282     (a)  Upon request by any taxpayer who is aged 60 years old
1283or older over, the tax collector shall send mail the tax notice
1284to a third party designated by the taxpayer. A duplicate copy of
1285the notice shall be sent mailed to the taxpayer.
1286     (b)  Upon request by a mortgagee stating that the mortgagee
1287is the trustee of an escrow account for ad valorem taxes due on
1288the property, the tax notice shall be sent mailed to such
1289trustee. When the original tax notice is sent mailed to such
1290trustee, the tax collector shall send mail a duplicate notice to
1291the owner of the property with the additional statement that the
1292original has been sent to the trustee.
1293     (c)  Upon request by a vendee of an unrecorded or recorded
1294contract for deed, the tax collector shall send mail a duplicate
1295notice to such vendee.
1296
1297The tax collector may establish cutoff dates, periods for
1298updating the list, and any other reasonable requirements to
1299ensure that the tax notices are sent mailed to the proper party
1300on time. Notices shall be sent electronically or by postal mail.
1301However, electronic transmission may be used only with the
1302express consent of the person making the request. If the
1303electronic transmission is returned as undeliverable, a second
1304notice shall be sent by postal mail. However, the original
1305electronic transmission is the official notice for the purpose
1306of this subsection.
1307     (2)  On or before May 1 of each year, the holder or
1308mortgagee of an unsatisfied mortgage, lienholder, or vendee
1309under a contract for deed, upon filing with the tax collector a
1310description of property land so encumbered and paying a service
1311charge of $2, may request and receive information concerning any
1312delinquent taxes appearing on the current tax roll and
1313certificates issued on the described property land. Upon receipt
1314of such request, the tax collector shall furnish the following
1315information within 60 days following the tax certificate sale:
1316     (a)  The description of property on which certificates were
1317sold.
1318     (b)  The number of each certificate issued and to whom.
1319     (c)  The face amount of each certificate.
1320     (d)  The cost for redemption of each certificate.
1321     Section 32.  Section 197.3635, Florida Statutes, is amended
1322to read:
1323     197.3635  Combined notice of ad valorem taxes and non-ad
1324valorem assessments; requirements.-A form for the combined
1325notice of ad valorem taxes and non-ad valorem assessments shall
1326be produced and paid for by the tax collector. The form shall
1327meet the requirements of this section and department rules and
1328shall be subject to approval by the department. By rule, the
1329department shall provide a format for the form of such combined
1330notice. The form shall meet the following requirements:
1331     (1)  It shall Contain the title "Notice of Ad Valorem Taxes
1332and Non-ad Valorem Assessments." The form It shall also contain
1333a receipt part that can be returned along with the payment to
1334the tax collector.
1335     (2)  It shall provide a clear partition between ad valorem
1336taxes and non-ad valorem assessments. Such partition shall be a
1337bold horizontal line approximately 1/8 inch thick.
1338     (2)(3)  Within the ad valorem part, it shall Contain the
1339heading "Ad Valorem Taxes." within the ad valorem part and
1340Within the non-ad valorem assessment part, it shall contain the
1341heading "Non-ad Valorem Assessments." within the non-ad valorem
1342assessment part.
1343     (3)(4)  It shall Contain the county name, the assessment
1344year, the mailing address of the tax collector, the mailing
1345address of one property owner, the legal description of the
1346property to at least 25 characters, and the unique parcel or tax
1347identification number of the property.
1348     (4)(5)  It shall Provide for the labeled disclosure of the
1349total amount of combined levies and the total discounted amount
1350due each month when paid in advance.
1351     (5)(6)  It shall Provide a field or portion on the front of
1352the notice for official use for data to reflect codes useful to
1353the tax collector.
1354     (6)(7)  Provide for the combined notice to shall be set in
1355type that which is 8 points or larger.
1356     (7)(8)  The ad valorem part shall Contain within the ad
1357valorem part the following:
1358     (a)  A schedule of the assessed value, exempted value, and
1359taxable value of the property.
1360     (b)  Subheadings for columns listing taxing authorities,
1361corresponding millage rates expressed in dollars and cents per
1362$1,000 of taxable value, and the associated tax.
1363     (c)  A listing of taxing authorities listed in the same
1364sequence and manner as listed on the notice required by s.
1365200.069(4)(a), with the exception that independent special
1366districts, municipal service taxing districts, and voted debt
1367service millages for each taxing authority shall be listed
1368separately. If a county has too many municipal service taxing
1369units to list separately, it shall combine them to disclose the
1370total number of such units and the amount of taxes levied.
1371     (8)(9)  Contain within the non-ad valorem assessment part,
1372it shall contain the following:
1373     (a)  Subheadings for columns listing the levying
1374authorities, corresponding assessment rates expressed in dollars
1375and cents per unit of assessment, and the associated assessment
1376amount.
1377     (b)  The purpose of the assessment, if the purpose is not
1378clearly indicated by the name of the levying authority.
1379     (c)  A listing of the levying authorities in the same order
1380as in the ad valorem part to the extent practicable. If a county
1381has too many municipal service benefit units to list separately,
1382it shall combine them by function.
1383     (9)(10)  It shall Provide instructions and useful
1384information to the taxpayer. Such information and instructions
1385shall be nontechnical to minimize confusion. The information and
1386instructions required by this section shall be provided by
1387department rule and shall include:
1388     (a)  Procedures to be followed when the property has been
1389sold or conveyed.
1390     (b)  Instruction as to mailing the remittance and receipt
1391along with a brief disclosure of the availability of discounts.
1392     (c)  Notification about delinquency and interest for
1393delinquent payment.
1394     (d)  Notification that failure to pay the amounts due will
1395result in a tax certificate being issued against the property.
1396     (e)  A brief statement outlining the responsibility of the
1397tax collector, the property appraiser, and the taxing
1398authorities. This statement shall be accompanied by directions
1399as to which office to contact for particular questions or
1400problems.
1401     Section 33.  Subsections (2) and (4) of section 197.373,
1402Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
1403     197.373  Payment of portion of taxes.-
1404     (2)  The request must be made at least 45 15 days before
1405prior to the tax certificate sale.
1406     (4)  This section does not apply to assessments and
1407collections relating to fee timeshare real property made
1408pursuant to the provisions of s. 192.037.
1409     Section 34.  Subsection (1) of section 197.374, Florida
1410Statutes, is amended to read:
1411     197.374  Partial payment of current year taxes.-
1412     (1)  As used in this section, the term "partial payment"
1413means a payment that is less than the full amount of taxes due.
1414The term does not include payments made pursuant to s. 194.171,
1415s. 196.295, s. 197.222, s. 197.252, or s. 197.2524 s. 197.303.
1416     Section 35.  Subsections (1) and (3) of section 197.402,
1417Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
1418     197.402  Advertisement of real or personal property with
1419delinquent taxes.-
1420     (1)  If Whenever legal advertisements are required, the
1421board of county commissioners shall select the newspaper as
1422provided in chapter 50. The office of the tax collector shall
1423pay all newspaper charges, and the proportionate cost of the
1424advertisements shall be added to the delinquent taxes when they
1425are collected.
1426     (3)  Except as provided in s. 197.432(4), on or before June
14271 or the 60th day after the date of delinquency, whichever is
1428later, the tax collector shall advertise once each week for 3
1429weeks and shall sell tax certificates on all real property
1430having with delinquent taxes. If the deadline falls on a
1431Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, it is extended to the next
1432working day. The tax collector shall make a list of such
1433properties in the same order in which the property was lands
1434were assessed, specifying the amount due on each parcel,
1435including interest at the rate of 18 percent per year from the
1436date of delinquency to the date of sale; the cost of
1437advertising; and the expense of sale. For sales that commence on
1438or before June 1, all certificates shall be issued effective as
1439of the date of the first day of the sale and the interest to be
1440paid to the certificateholder shall include the month of June.
1441     Section 36.  Section 197.403, Florida Statutes, is amended
1442to read:
1443     197.403  Publisher to furnish copy of advertisement to tax
1444collector; Proof of publication; fees.-The newspaper publishing
1445the notice of a tax sale shall furnish transmit by mail a copy
1446of the paper containing each notice to the tax collector within
144710 days after the last required publication. When the
1448publication of the tax sale notice is completed as provided by
1449law, the publisher shall make an affidavit, in the form
1450prescribed by the department, which shall be delivered to the
1451tax collector and annexed to the report of certificates sold for
1452taxes as provided by s. 197.432(9) s. 197.432(8).
1453     Section 37.  Subsections (5) and (10) of section 197.413,
1454Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
1455     197.413  Delinquent personal property taxes; warrants;
1456court order for levy and seizure of personal property; seizure;
1457fees of tax collectors.-
1458     (5)  Upon the filing of the such petition, the clerk of the
1459court shall notify each delinquent taxpayer listed in the
1460petition that a petition has been filed and that, upon
1461ratification and confirmation of the petition, the tax collector
1462is will be authorized to issue warrants and levy upon, seize,
1463and sell so much of the personal property as to satisfy the
1464delinquent taxes, plus costs, interest, attorney's fees, and
1465other charges. The Such notice shall be given by certified mail,
1466return receipt requested. If the clerk of court and the tax
1467collector agree, the tax collector may provide the notice.
1468     (10)  The tax collector is entitled to a fee of $10 $2 from
1469each delinquent taxpayer at the time delinquent taxes are
1470collected. The tax collector is entitled to receive an
1471additional $8 for each warrant issued.
1472     Section 38.  Section 197.414, Florida Statutes, is amended
1473to read:
1474     197.414  Tax collector to keep Record of warrants and
1475levies on tangible personal property.-The tax collector shall
1476keep a record of all warrants and levies made under this chapter
1477and shall note on such record the date of payment, the amount of
1478money, if any, received, and the disposition thereof made by him
1479or her. Such record shall be known as "the tangible personal
1480property tax warrant register." and the form thereof shall be
1481prescribed by the Department of Revenue. The warrant register
1482may be maintained in paper or electronic form.
1483     Section 39.  Subsections (1) and (2) of section 197.4155,
1484Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
1485     197.4155  Delinquent personal property taxes; installment
1486payment program.-
1487     (1)  A county tax collector may implement a an installment
1488payment program for the payment of delinquent personal property
1489taxes. If implemented, the program must be available, upon
1490application to the tax collector, to each delinquent personal
1491property taxpayer whose delinquent personal property taxes
1492exceed $1,000. The tax collector shall require each taxpayer who
1493requests to participate in the program to submit an application
1494on a form prescribed by the tax collector which, at a minimum,
1495must include the name, address, a description of the property
1496subject to personal property taxes, and the amount of the
1497personal property taxes owed by the taxpayer.
1498     (2)  Within 10 days after a taxpayer who owes delinquent
1499personal property taxes submits the required application, the
1500tax collector may shall prescribe a an installment payment plan
1501for the full payment of the taxpayer's delinquent personal
1502property taxes, including any delinquency charges, interest, and
1503costs allowed by this chapter. The plan must be in writing and
1504must be delivered to the taxpayer after it is prescribed. When
1505At the time the plan is developed, the tax collector may
1506consider a taxpayer's current and anticipated future ability to
1507pay over the time period of a potential installment payment
1508plan. The plan must provide that if the taxpayer does not follow
1509the payment terms or fails to timely file returns or pay current
1510obligations after the date of the payment plan, the taxpayer is
1511will be considered delinquent under the terms of the plan, and
1512any unpaid balance of tax, penalty, or interest scheduled in the
1513payment plan will be due and payable immediately. The plan must
1514also provide that unpaid tax amounts bear interest as provided
1515by law. In prescribing a such an installment payment plan, the
1516tax collector may exercise flexibility as to the dates, amounts,
1517and number of payments required to collect all delinquent
1518personal property taxes owed by the taxpayer, except that the
1519plan must provide for the full satisfaction of all amounts owed
1520by the taxpayer within by no later than 3 years after the due
1521date of the first payment under the plan.
1522     Section 40.  Section 197.416, Florida Statutes, is amended
1523to read:
1524     197.416  Continuing duty of the tax collector to collect
1525delinquent tax warrants; limitation of actions.-It is shall be
1526the duty of the tax collector issuing a tax warrant for the
1527collection of delinquent tangible personal property taxes to
1528continue from time to time his or her efforts to collect such
1529taxes for a period of 7 years after from the date of the
1530ratification issuance of the warrant. After the expiration of 7
1531years, the warrant is will be barred by this statute of
1532limitation, and no action may be maintained in any court. A tax
1533collector or his or her successor is shall not be relieved of
1534accountability for collection of any taxes assessed on tangible
1535personal property until he or she has completely performed every
1536duty devolving upon the tax collector as required by law.
1537     Section 41.  Subsection (1) of section 197.417, Florida
1538Statutes, is amended to read:
1539     197.417  Sale of personal property after seizure.-
1540     (1)  When personal property is levied upon for delinquent
1541taxes as provided for in s. 197.413, at least 7 15 days before
1542the sale the tax collector shall give public notice by
1543advertisement of the time and place of sale of the property to
1544be sold. The notice shall be posted in at least two three public
1545places in the county, one of which shall be at the courthouse,
1546and the property shall be sold at public auction at the location
1547noted in the advertisement. Notice posted on the Internet
1548qualifies as one location. The property sold shall be present if
1549practical. If the sale is conducted electronically, a
1550description of the property and a photograph, when practical,
1551shall be available. At any time before the sale the owner or
1552claimant of the property may release the property by the payment
1553of the taxes, plus delinquent charges, interest, and costs, for
1554which the property was liable to be sold. In all cases,
1555immediate payment for the property shall be required. In case
1556such a sale is made, the tax collector shall be entitled to the
1557same fees and charges as are allowed sheriffs upon execution
1558sales.
1559     Section 42.  Section 197.432, Florida Statutes, is amended
1560to read:
1561     197.432  Sale of tax certificates for unpaid taxes.-
1562     (1)  On the day and approximately at the time designated in
1563the notice of the sale, the tax collector shall commence the
1564sale of tax certificates on the real property those lands on
1565which taxes have not been paid. The tax collector, and he or she
1566shall continue the sale from day to day until each certificate
1567is sold to pay the taxes, interest, costs, and charges on the
1568parcel described in the certificate. In case there are no
1569bidders, the certificate shall be issued to the county. The tax
1570collector shall offer all certificates on the property lands as
1571they are listed on the tax roll assessed. The tax collector may
1572conduct the sale of tax certificates for unpaid taxes pursuant
1573to this section by electronic means, which may allow for proxy
1574bidding. Such electronic means must comply with the procedures
1575provided in this chapter. A tax collector who chooses to conduct
1576such electronic sales may receive electronic deposits and
1577payments related to the tax certificate sale.
1578     (2)  A lien created through the sale of a tax certificate
1579may not be enforced in any manner except as prescribed in this
1580chapter.
1581     (3)  If the Delinquent real property taxes on a real
1582property and all interest, costs, and charges are paid before a
1583tax certificate is awarded to a buyer or struck to the county
1584the tax collector may not issue the tax certificate of all
1585governmental units due on a parcel of land in any one year shall
1586be combined into one certificate. After a tax certificate is
1587awarded to a buyer or struck to the county, the delinquent
1588taxes, interest, costs, and charges are paid by the redemption
1589of the tax certificate.
1590     (4)  A tax certificate representing less than $250 $100 in
1591delinquent taxes on property that has been granted a homestead
1592exemption for the year in which the delinquent taxes were
1593assessed may not be sold at public auction or by electronic sale
1594as provided in subsection (1) (16) but must shall be issued by
1595the tax collector to the county at the maximum rate of interest
1596allowed by this chapter. The provisions of s. 197.4725 or s.
1597197.502(3) may shall not be invoked if as long as the homestead
1598exemption is granted to the person who received the homestead
1599exemption for the year in which the tax certificate was issued.
1600However, if when all such tax certificates and accrued interest
1601thereon represent an amount of $250 $100 or more, the provisions
1602of s. 197.502(3) shall be invoked.
1603     (5)  A tax certificate that has not been sold on property
1604for which a tax deed application is pending shall be struck to
1605the county.
1606     (6)(5)  Each certificate shall be awarded struck off to the
1607person who will pay the taxes, interest, costs, and charges and
1608will demand the lowest rate of interest, not in excess of the
1609maximum rate of interest allowed by this chapter. The tax
1610collector shall accept bids in even increments and in fractional
1611interest rate bids of one-quarter of 1 percent only. Proxy
1612bidding is valid if authorized or accepted by the potential
1613buyer of the certificate. If multiple bidders offer the same
1614lowest rate of interest, the tax collector shall determine the
1615method of selecting the bidder to whom the certificate will be
1616awarded. Acceptable methods include the bid received first or
1617use of a random number generator. If a certificate is not
1618purchased there is no buyer, the certificate shall be struck
1619issued to the county at the maximum rate of interest allowed by
1620this chapter.
1621     (7)(6)  The tax collector may shall require immediate
1622payment of a reasonable deposit from any person who wishes to
1623bid for a tax certificate. A person who fails or refuses to pay
1624any bid made by, or on behalf of, such person him or her is not
1625entitled to bid or have any other bid accepted or
1626except as authorized by the tax collector until a new
1627100 percent of the amount of estimated purchases has been paid
1628to the tax collector. When tax certificates are ready for
1629issuance, The tax collector shall provide written or electronic
1630notice when certificates are notify each person to whom a
1631certificate was struck off that the certificate is ready for
1632issuance. and Payment must be made within 48 hours after from
1633the transmission of the electronic notice by the tax collector
1634or receipt of the written notice by the certificate buyer
1635mailing of such notice or, at the tax collector's discretion,
1636all or any portion of the deposit placed by the bidder may be
1637the deposit shall be forfeited and the bid canceled. In any
1638event, Payment must shall be made before the issuance delivery
1639of the certificate by the tax collector. If the tax collector
1640determines that payment has been requested in error, the tax
1641collector shall issue a refund within 15 business days after
1642such payment. Any refund issued after 15 business days shall be
1643issued with interest at the rate of 5 percent per annum.
1644     (8)(7)  The form of the certificate shall be as prescribed
1645by the department. Upon the cancellation of a any bid:, the tax
1646collector shall resell that certificate the following day or as
1647soon thereafter as possible, provided the certificate is sold
1648within 10 days after cancellation of such bid.
1649     (a)  If the sale has not been adjourned, the tax collector
1650shall reoffer the certificate for sale.
1651     (b)  If the sale has been adjourned, the tax collector
1652shall reoffer the certificate at a subsequent sale. Before the
1653subsequent sale, the parcels must be readvertised pursuant to s.
1654197.402(3).
1655     (9)(8)  The tax collector shall maintain records make a
1656list of all the certificates sold for taxes, showing the date of
1657the sale, the number of each certificate, the name of the owner
1658as returned, a description of the property land within the
1659certificate, the name of the purchaser, the interest rate bid,
1660and the amount for which sale was made. Such records may be
1661maintained electronically and shall This list shall be cited
1662known as the "list of tax certificates sold." The tax collector
1663shall append to the list a certificate setting forth the fact
1664that the sale was made in accordance with this chapter.
1665     (10)(9)  A certificate may not be sold on, and a nor is any
1666lien is not created in, property owned by any governmental unit
1667the property of which has become subject to taxation due to
1668lease of the property to a nongovernmental lessee. The
1669delinquent taxes shall be enforced and collected in the manner
1670provided in s. 196.199(8). However, the ad valorem real property
1671taxes levied on a leasehold that is taxed as real property under
1672s. 196.199(2)(b), and for which no rental payments are due under
1673the agreement that created the leasehold or for which payments
1674required under the original leasehold agreement have been waived
1675or prohibited by law before January 1, 1993, must be paid by the
1676lessee. If the taxes are unpaid, the delinquent taxes become a
1677lien on the leasehold and may be collected and enforced under
1678this chapter.
1679     (11)(10)  Any tax certificates that issued pursuant to this
1680section after January 1, 1977, which are void due to an error of
1681the property appraiser, the tax collector, or the taxing or
1682levying authority any other county official, or any municipal
1683official and which are subsequently canceled, or which are
1684corrected or amended, pursuant to this chapter or chapter 196,
1685shall earn interest at the rate of 8 percent per year, simple
1686interest, or the rate of interest bid at the tax certificate
1687sale, whichever is less, calculated monthly from the date the
1688certificate was purchased until the date the tax collector
1689issues the refund is ordered. Refunds made on tax certificates
1690that are corrected or void shall be processed in accordance with
1691the procedure set forth in s. 197.182, except that the 4-year
1692time period provided for in s. 197.182(1)(e) s. 197.182(1)(c)
1693does not apply to or bar refunds resulting from correction or
1694cancellation of certificates and release of tax deeds as
1695authorized herein.
1696     (12)(11)  When tax certificates are advertised for sale,
1697The tax collector is shall be entitled to a commission of 5
1698percent on the amount of the delinquent taxes and interest when
1699a tax certificate is sold actual sale is made. The commission
1700must be included on the face value of the certificate. However,
1701the tax collector is shall not be entitled to a any commission
1702for a certificate that is struck the sale of certificates made
1703to the county until the certificate is redeemed or purchased
1704commission is paid upon the redemption or sale of the tax
1705certificates. If When a tax deed is issued to the county, the
1706tax collector may shall not receive his or her commission for
1707the certificates until after the property is sold and conveyed
1708by the county.
1709     (12)  All tax certificates issued to the county shall be
1710held by the tax collector of the county where the lands covered
1711by the certificates are located.
1712     (13)  Delinquent taxes on real property may be paid after
1713the date of delinquency but prior to the sale of a tax
1714certificate by paying all costs, advertising charges, and
1715interest.
1716     (13)(14)  The holder of a tax certificate may not directly,
1717through an agent, or otherwise initiate contact with the owner
1718of property upon which he or she holds a tax certificate to
1719encourage or demand payment until 2 years after have elapsed
1720since April 1 of the year of issuance of the tax certificate.
1721     (14)(15)  Any holder of a tax certificate who, prior to the
1722date 2 years after April 1 of the year of issuance of the tax
1723certificate, initiates, or whose agent initiates, contact with
1724the property owner upon which he or she holds a certificate
1725encouraging or demanding payment may be barred by the tax
1726collector from bidding at a tax certificate sale. Unfair or
1727deceptive contact by the holder of a tax certificate to a
1728property owner to obtain payment is an unfair and deceptive
1729trade practice, as referenced in s. 501.204(1), regardless of
1730whether the tax certificate is redeemed. Such unfair or
1731deceptive contact is actionable under ss. 501.2075-501.211. If
1732the property owner later redeems the certificate in reliance on
1733the deceptive or unfair practice, the unfair or deceptive
1734contact is actionable under applicable laws prohibiting fraud.
1735     (16)  The county tax collector may conduct the sale of tax
1736certificates for unpaid taxes pursuant to this section by
1737electronic means. Such electronic sales shall comply with the
1738procedures provided in this chapter. The tax collector shall
1739provide access to such electronic sale by computer terminals
1740open to the public at a designated location. A tax collector who
1741chooses to conduct such electronic sales may receive electronic
1742deposits and payments related to the tax certificate sale.
1743     Section 43.  Section 197.4325, Florida Statutes, is amended
1744to read:
1745     197.4325  Procedure when checks received for payment of
1746taxes or tax certificates is are dishonored.-
1747     (1)(a)  Within 10 days after a payment for taxes check
1748received by the tax collector for payment of taxes is
1749dishonored, the tax collector shall notify the payor maker of
1750the check that the payment check has been dishonored. If the
1751official receipt is canceled for nonpayment, the tax collector
1752shall cancel the official receipt issued for the dishonored
1753check and shall make an entry on the tax roll that the receipt
1754was canceled because of a dishonored payment check. Where
1755practicable, The tax collector may shall make a reasonable
1756effort to collect the moneys due before canceling the receipt.
1757     (b)  The tax collector shall retain a copy of the canceled
1758tax receipt and the dishonored check for the period of time
1759required by law.
1760     (2)(a)  If When a payment check received by the tax
1761collector for the purchase of a tax certificate is dishonored
1762and: the certificate has not been delivered to the bidder, the
1763tax collector shall retain the deposit and resell the tax
1764certificate. If the certificate has been delivered to the
1765bidder, the tax collector shall notify the department, and, upon
1766approval by the department, the certificate shall be canceled
1767and resold.
1768     (b)  When a bidder's deposit is forfeited, the tax
1769collector shall retain the deposit and resell the tax
1770certificate.
1771     (a)1.  If The tax certificate sale has been adjourned, the
1772tax collector shall readvertise the tax certificate to be
1773resold. If When the bidder's deposit is forfeited and the
1774certificate is readvertised, the deposit shall be used to pay
1775the advertising fees before other costs or charges are imposed.
1776Any portion of the bidder's forfeit deposit that remains after
1777advertising and other costs or charges have been paid shall be
1778deposited by the tax collector into his or her official office
1779account. If the tax collector fails to require a deposit and tax
1780certificates are resold, the advertising charges required for
1781the second sale may shall not be added to the face value of the
1782tax certificate.
1783     (b)2.  If The tax certificate sale has not been adjourned,
1784the tax collector shall cancel the previous bid pursuant to s.
1785197.432(8)(a) and reoffer the certificate for sale add the
1786certificates to be resold to the sale list and continue the sale
1787until all tax certificates are sold.
1788     Section 44.  Subsection (2) of section 197.442, Florida
1789Statutes, is amended to read:
1790     197.442  Tax collector not to sell certificates on land on
1791which taxes have been paid; penalty.-
1792     (2)  The office of the tax collector shall be responsible
1793to the publisher for costs of advertising property lands on
1794which the taxes have been paid, and the office of the property
1795appraiser shall be responsible to the publisher for the costs of
1796advertising property lands doubly assessed or assessed in error.
1797     Section 45.  Section 197.443, Florida Statutes, is amended
1798to read:
1799     197.443  Cancellation of void tax certificates; correction
1800of tax certificates; procedure.-
1801     (1)  The tax collector shall forward a certificate of error
1802to the department and enter a memorandum of error upon the list
1803of certificates sold for taxes if When a tax certificate on
1804lands has been sold for unpaid taxes and:
1805     (a)  The tax certificate evidencing the sale is void
1806because the taxes on the property lands have been paid;
1807     (b)  The property was lands were not subject to taxation at
1808the time of the assessment on which they were sold;
1809     (c)  The description of the property in the tax certificate
1810is void or has been corrected or amended;
1811     (d)  An error of commission or omission has occurred which
1812invalidates the sale;
1813     (e)  The circuit court has voided the tax certificate by a
1814suit to cancel the tax certificate by the holder;
1815     (f)  The tax certificate is void for any other reason; or
1816     (g)  An error in assessed value has occurred for which the
1817tax certificate may be corrected.,
1818
1819the tax collector shall forward a certificate of such error to
1820the department and enter upon the list of certificates sold for
1821taxes a memorandum of such error.
1822     (2)  The department, upon receipt of the such certificate
1823of error, if satisfied of the correctness of the certificate of
1824error or upon receipt of a court order, shall notify the tax
1825collector, who shall cancel or correct the certificate. A tax
1826certificate correction or cancellation that has been ordered by
1827a court or requested by the tax certificateholder and that does
1828not result from a change made in the assessed value on a tax
1829roll certified to the tax collector shall be made by the tax
1830collector without order from the department.
1831     (3)(2)  The holder of a tax certificate who pays, redeems,
1832or causes to be corrected or to be canceled and surrendered by
1833any other tax certificates, or who pays any subsequent and
1834omitted taxes or costs, in connection with the foreclosure of a
1835tax certificate or tax deed that is, and when such other
1836certificates or such subsequent and omitted taxes are void or
1837corrected for any reason, the person paying, redeeming, or
1838causing to be corrected or to be canceled and surrendered the
1839other tax certificates or paying the other subsequent and
1840omitted taxes is entitled to a refund obtain the return of the
1841amount paid together with interest calculated monthly from the
1842date of payment through the day of issuance of the refund at the
1843rate specified in s. 197.432(11) therefor.
1844     (a)  The county officer or taxing or levying authority
1845that, as the case may be, which causes an error that results in
1846the voiding issuance of a void tax certificate shall be charged
1847for the costs of advertising incurred in the sale of a new the
1848tax certificate.
1849     (b)  If When the owner of a tax certificate requests that
1850the certificate be canceled for any reason, or that the amount
1851of the certificate be amended as a result of payments received
1852due to an intervening bankruptcy or receivership, but does not
1853seek a refund, the tax collector shall cancel or amend the tax
1854certificate and a refund shall not be processed. The tax
1855collector shall require the owner of the tax certificate to
1856execute a written statement that he or she is the holder of the
1857tax certificate, that he or she wishes the certificate to be
1858canceled or amended, and that a refund is not expected and is
1859not to be made.
1860     (4)(3)  If When the tax certificate or a tax deed based
1861upon the certificate is held by an individual, the collector
1862shall at once notify the original purchaser of the certificate
1863or tax deed or the subsequent holder thereof, if known, that
1864upon the voluntary surrender of the certificate or deed of
1865release of any his or her rights under the tax deed, a refund
1866will be made of the amount received by the governmental units
1867for the certificate or deed, plus $1 for the deed of release.
1868     (5)(4)  The refund shall be made in accordance with the
1869procedure set forth in s. 197.182, except that the 4-year time
1870period provided for in s. 197.182(1)(e) s. 197.182(1)(c) does
1871not apply to or bar refunds resulting from correction or
1872cancellation of certificates and release of tax deeds as
1873authorized in this section herein.
1874     Section 46.  Section 197.462, Florida Statutes, is amended
1875to read:
1876     197.462  Transfer of tax certificates held by individuals.-
1877     (1)  All tax certificates issued to an individual may be
1878transferred by endorsement at any time before they are redeemed
1879or a tax deed is executed thereunder.
1880     (2)  The official endorsement of a tax certificate by the
1881tax collector with the date and the amount received and its
1882entry on the record of tax certificates sold shall be sufficient
1883evidence of the assignment of it.
1884     (2)(3)  The tax collector shall record the transfer on the
1885record of tax certificates sold.
1886     (3)(4)  The tax collector shall receive $2.25 as a service
1887charge for each transfer endorsement.
1888     Section 47.  Section 197.472, Florida Statutes, is amended
1889to read:
1890     197.472  Redemption of tax certificates.-
1891     (1)  Any person may redeem a tax certificate or purchase a
1892county-held certificate at any time after the certificate is
1893issued and before a tax deed is issued or the property is placed
1894on the list of lands available for sale. The person redeeming or
1895purchasing a tax certificate shall pay to the tax collector in
1896the county where the land is situated the face amount plus all
1897interest, costs, and charges. of the certificate or the part
1898thereof that the part or interest purchased or redeemed bears to
1899the whole. Upon purchase or redemption being made, the person
1900shall pay all taxes, interest, costs, charges, and omitted
1901taxes, if any, as provided by law upon the part or parts of the
1902certificate so purchased or redeemed.
1903     (2)  When a tax certificate is redeemed and the interest
1904earned on the tax certificate is less than 5 percent of the face
1905amount of the certificate, a mandatory minimum interest charge
1906of an absolute 5 percent shall be levied upon the face value of
1907the tax certificate. The person redeeming the tax certificate
1908shall pay the interest rate due on the certificate or the 5
1909percent 5-percent mandatory minimum interest charge, whichever
1910is greater. This subsection applies to all county-held tax
1911certificates and all individual tax certificates except those
1912with an interest rate bid of zero percent.
1913     (3)  After an application for a tax deed is filed but
1914before a tax deed is issued, a person who wishes to redeem the
1915tax certificates issued against a property must pay all
1916principle, fees, and interest that would constitute the minimum
1917bid under s. 197.542 were the tax deed sale held the date of
1918redemption.
1919     (4)(3)  The tax collector shall receive a fee of $6.25 for
1920each tax certificate purchased or redeemed.
1921     (5)(4)  When only A portion of a certificate may be is
1922being redeemed only if or purchased and such portion can be
1923ascertained by legal description and the portion to be redeemed
1924is evidenced by a contract for sale or recorded deed., The tax
1925collector shall make a written request for apportionment to the
1926property appraiser, and. within 15 days after such request, the
1927property appraiser shall furnish the tax collector a certificate
1928apportioning the value to that portion sought to be redeemed and
1929to the remaining land covered by the certificate.
1930     (5)  When a tax certificate is purchased or redeemed, the
1931tax collector shall give to the person a receipt and certificate
1932showing the amount paid for the purchase or redemption, a
1933description of the land, and the date, number, and amount of the
1934certificate, certificates, or part of certificate which is
1935purchased or redeemed, which shall be in the form prescribed by
1936the department. If a tax certificate is redeemed in full, the
1937certificate shall be surrendered to the tax collector by the
1938original purchaser and canceled by the tax collector. If only a
1939part is purchased or redeemed, the portion and description of
1940land, with date of purchase or redemption, shall be endorsed on
1941the certificate by the tax collector. The certificate shall be
1942retained by the owner, or the tax collector if the certificate
1943is a county-held certificate, subject to the endorsement. The
1944purchase or redemption shall be entered by the tax collector on
1945the record of tax certificates sold.
1946     (6)  After When a tax certificate is has been purchased or
1947redeemed, the tax collector shall pay to the owner of the tax
1948certificate the amount received by the tax collector less the
1949redemption fee within 15 business days after the date of receipt
1950of the redemption. If the payment to the tax certificate owner
1951is not issued within 15 business days, the tax collector shall
1952pay interest at the rate of 5 percent per annum to the
1953certificate owner service charges. Along with the payment, the
1954tax collector shall identify the certificates redeemed and the
1955amount paid for each certificate. However, if the tax collector
1956pays the certificateholder electronically, the certificates
1957redeemed and the amounts paid for each certificate shall be
1958provided electronically by facsimile or electronic mail within
195924 hours after payment.
1960     (7)  Nothing in this section shall be deemed to deny any
1961person the right to purchase or redeem any outstanding tax
1962certificate in accordance with the law in force when it was
1963issued. However, the provisions of s. 197.573 relating to
1964survival of restrictions and covenants after the issuance of a
1965tax deed are not repealed by this chapter and apply regardless
1966of the manner in which the tax deed was issued.
1967     (8)  The provisions of subsection (5) (4) do not apply to
1968collections relating to fee timeshare real property made
1969pursuant to the provisions of s. 192.037.
1970     Section 48.  Section 197.4725, Florida Statutes, is created
1971to read:
1972     197.4725  Purchase of county-held tax certificates.-
1973     (1)  Any person may purchase a county-held tax certificate
1974at any time after the tax certificate is issued and before a tax
1975deed application is made. The person purchasing a county-held
1976tax certificate shall pay to the tax collector the face amount
1977plus all interest, costs, and charges or, subject to s.
1978197.472(4), the part described in the tax certificate.
1979     (2)  If a county-held tax certificate is purchased, the
1980interest earned shall be calculated at 1.5 percent per month, or
1981a fraction thereof, to the date of purchase.
1982     (3)  The tax collector shall receive a fee of $6.25 for
1983each county-held tax certificate purchased.
1984     (4)  This section does not apply to collections relating to
1985fee timeshare real property made pursuant to s. 192.037.
1986     (5)  The tax collector may use electronic means to make
1987known county-held tax certificates that are available for
1988purchase and to complete the purchase. The tax collector may
1989charge a reasonable fee for costs incurred in providing such
1990electronic services.
1991     (6)  The purchaser of a county-held tax certificate shall
1992be issued a new tax certificate with a face value that includes
1993all sums paid to acquire the certificate from the county,
1994including accrued interest and charges paid under to this
1995section. The date the county-held certificate was issued shall
1996be the date used to determine the date on which an application
1997for tax deed may be made. The date that the new certificate is
1998purchased is the date that must be used to calculate the
1999interest or minimum charge due if the certificate is redeemed.
2000     Section 49.  Section 197.473, Florida Statutes, is amended
2001to read:
2002     197.473  Disposition of unclaimed redemption moneys.-
2003     (1)  After Money paid to the tax collector for the
2004redemption of a tax certificate or a tax deed application that
2005certificates has been held for 90 days, which money is payable
2006to the holder of a redeemed tax certificate but for which no
2007claim has been made, or which fails to be presented for payment,
2008is considered unclaimed as defined in s. 717.113 and shall be
2009remitted to the state pursuant to s. 717.117, on the first day
2010of the following quarter the tax collector shall remit such
2011unclaimed moneys to the board of county commissioners, less the
2012sum of $5 on each $100 or fraction thereof which shall be
2013retained by the tax collector as service charges.
2014     (2)  Two years after the date the unclaimed redemption
2015moneys were remitted to the board of county commissioners, all
2016claims to such moneys are forever barred, and such moneys become
2017the property of the county.
2018     Section 50.  Section 197.482, Florida Statutes, is amended
2019to read:
2020     197.482  Expiration Limitation upon lien of tax
2021certificate.-
2022     (1)  Seven After the expiration of 7 years after from the
2023date of issuance of a tax certificate, which is the date of the
2024first day of the tax certificate sale as advertised under s.
2025197.432, of a tax certificate, if a tax deed has not been
2026applied for on the property covered by the certificate, and no
2027other administrative or legal proceeding, including a
2028bankruptcy, has existed of record, the tax certificate is null
2029and void, and the tax collector shall be canceled. The tax
2030collector shall note cancel the tax certificate, noting the date
2031of the cancellation of the tax certificate upon all appropriate
2032records in his or her office. The tax collector shall complete
2033the cancellation by entering opposite the record of the 7-year-
2034old tax certificate a notation in substantially the following
2035form: "Canceled by Act of 1973 Florida Legislature." All
2036certificates outstanding July 1, 1973, shall have a life of 20
2037years from the date of issue. This section subsection does not
2038apply to deferred payment tax certificates.
2039     (2)  The provisions and limitations herein prescribed for
2040tax certificates do not apply to tax certificates which were
2041sold under the provisions of chapter 18296, Laws of Florida,
20421937, commonly known as the "Murphy Act."
2043     Section 51.  Section 197.492, Florida Statutes, is amended
2044to read:
2045     197.492  Errors and insolvencies report list.-On or before
2046the 60th day after the tax certificate sale is adjourned, the
2047tax collector shall certify make out a report to the board of
2048county commissioners a report separately showing the discounts,
2049errors, double assessments, and insolvencies relating to tax
2050collections for which credit is to be given, including in every
2051case except discounts, the names of the parties on whose account
2052the credit is to be allowed. The report may be submitted in an
2053electronic format. The board of county commissioners, upon
2054receiving the report, shall examine it; make such investigations
2055as may be necessary; and, if the board discovers that the tax
2056collector has taken credit as an insolvent item any personal
2057property tax due by a solvent taxpayer, charge the amount of
2058taxes represented by such item to the tax collector and not
2059approve the report until the tax collector strikes such item
2060from the record.
2061     Section 52.  Section 197.502, Florida Statutes, is amended
2062to read:
2063     197.502  Application for obtaining tax deed by holder of
2064tax sale certificate; fees.-
2065     (1)  The holder of a any tax certificate, other than the
2066county, at any time after 2 years have elapsed since April 1 of
2067the year of issuance of the tax certificate and before the
2068cancellation expiration of the certificate 7 years from the date
2069of issuance, may file the certificate and an application for a
2070tax deed with the tax collector of the county where the property
2071lands described in the certificate is are located. The
2072application may be made on the entire parcel of property or any
2073part thereof which is capable of being readily separated from
2074the whole. The tax collector may charge shall be allowed a tax
2075deed application fee of $75, plus reimbursement for any fee
2076charged to the tax collector by a vendor for providing an
2077electronic tax deed application program or service.
2078     (2)  A certificateholder, other than the county, may notify
2079the tax collector at any time of the certificateholder's intent
2080to make application for tax deed. However, if the tax deed
2081application will be filed within the month of the earliest date
2082allowed pursuant to subsection (1), the certificateholder must
2083provide the tax collector with a notice of intent to make
2084application no later than 30 days before the date of
2085application. The tax collector shall notify the
2086certificateholder of the total amount due or the estimated
2087amount due, which must include the amount due for redemption or
2088purchase of all other outstanding tax certificates, plus
2089interest; any omitted taxes, plus interest; any delinquent
2090taxes, plus interest; any costs of an electronic tax deed sale;
2091and current taxes, if due, which cover the land. The tax
2092collector shall provide this notice at the earliest possible
2093date but no later than 30 days following the tax collector's
2094receipt of the certficateholder's notice of intent to make
2095application. The certificateholder shall pay the total amount
2096due or the estimated amount due at the time of application. If
2097the tax collector estimates the costs to redeem the outstanding
2098certificates, the tax collector must provide a final statement
2099of the costs within 60 days after receipt of the application.
2100The applicant shall pay any additional amounts due within 10
2101days after receipt of a final statement. The tax collector shall
2102refund any overpayments with interest at the rate of 5 percent
2103per annum compounded annually within 10 days after providing the
2104final statement. Any certificateholder, other than the county,
2105who makes application for a tax deed shall pay the tax collector
2106at the time of application all amounts required for redemption
2107or purchase of all other outstanding tax certificates, plus
2108interest, any omitted taxes, plus interest, any delinquent
2109taxes, plus interest, and current taxes, if due, covering the
2110land.
2111     (3)  The county in which where the property lands described
2112in the certificate is are located shall apply make application
2113for a tax deed on all county-held certificates on property
2114valued at $5,000 or more on the property appraiser's most recent
2115assessment roll, except deferred payment tax certificates, and
2116may apply for tax deeds make application on those certificates
2117on property valued at less than $5,000 on the property
2118appraiser's most recent assessment roll. The Such application
2119shall be made 2 years after April 1 of the year of issuance of
2120the certificates or as soon thereafter as is reasonable. Upon
2121application for a tax deed, the county shall deposit with the
2122tax collector all applicable costs and fees, but may shall not
2123deposit any money to cover the redemption of other outstanding
2124certificates covering the property land. The tax collector may
2125charge a tax deed application fee of $75, plus reimbursement for
2126any fee charged to the tax collector by a vendor for providing
2127an electronic tax deed application program or service.
2128     (4)  The tax collector shall deliver to the clerk of the
2129circuit court a statement that payment has been made for all
2130outstanding certificates or, if the certificate is held by the
2131county, that all appropriate fees have been deposited, and
2132stating that the following persons are to be notified prior to
2133the sale of the property:
2134     (a)  Any legal titleholder of record if the address of the
2135owner appears on the record of conveyance of the property lands
2136to the owner. However, if the legal titleholder of record is the
2137same as the person to whom the property was assessed on the tax
2138roll for the year in which the property was last assessed, then
2139the notice may only be mailed to the address of the legal
2140titleholder as it appears on the latest assessment roll.
2141     (b)  Any lienholder of record who has recorded a lien
2142against the property described in the tax certificate if an
2143address appears on the recorded lien.
2144     (c)  Any mortgagee of record if an address appears on the
2145recorded mortgage.
2146     (d)  Any vendee of a recorded contract for deed if an
2147address appears on the recorded contract or, if the contract is
2148not recorded, any vendee who has applied to receive notice
2149pursuant to s. 197.344(1)(c).
2150     (e)  Any other lienholder who has applied to the tax
2151collector to receive notice if an address is supplied to the
2152collector by such lienholder.
2153     (f)  Any person to whom the property was assessed on the
2154tax roll for the year in which the property was last assessed.
2155     (g)  Any lienholder of record who has recorded a lien
2156against a mobile home located on the property described in the
2157tax certificate if an address appears on the recorded lien and
2158if the lien is recorded with the clerk of the circuit court in
2159the county where the mobile home is located.
2160     (h)  Any legal titleholder of record of property that is
2161contiguous to the property described in the tax certificate, if
2162when the property described is either submerged land or common
2163elements of a subdivision, if the address of the titleholder of
2164contiguous property appears on the record of conveyance of the
2165property land to the that legal titleholder. However, if the
2166legal titleholder of property contiguous to the property
2167described in the tax certificate is the same as the person to
2168whom the property described in the tax certificate was assessed
2169on the tax roll for the year in which the property was last
2170assessed, the notice may be mailed only to the address of the
2171legal titleholder as it appears on the latest assessment roll.
2172As used in this chapter, the term "contiguous" means touching,
2173meeting, or joining at the surface or border, other than at a
2174corner or a single point, and not separated by submerged lands.
2175Submerged lands lying below the ordinary high-water mark which
2176are sovereignty lands are not part of the upland contiguous
2177property for purposes of notification.
2178
2179The statement must be signed by the tax collector or the tax
2180collector's designee, with the tax collector's seal affixed. The
2181tax collector may purchase a reasonable bond for errors and
2182omissions of his or her office in making such statement. The
2183search of the official records must be made by a direct and
2184inverse search. "Direct" means the index in straight and
2185continuous alphabetic order by grantor, and "inverse" means the
2186index in straight and continuous alphabetic order by grantee.
2187     (5)(a)  The tax collector may contract with a title company
2188or an abstract company at a reasonable fee to provide the
2189minimum information required in subsection (4), consistent with
2190rules adopted by the department. If additional information is
2191required, the tax collector must make a written request to the
2192title or abstract company stating the additional requirements.
2193The tax collector may select any title or abstract company,
2194regardless of its location, as long as the fee is reasonable,
2195the minimum information is submitted, and the title or abstract
2196company is authorized to do business in this state. The tax
2197collector may advertise and accept bids for the title or
2198abstract company if he or she considers it appropriate to do so.
2199     1.  The ownership and encumbrance report must include the
2200be printed or typed on stationery or other paper showing a
2201letterhead of the person, firm, or company that makes the
2202search, and the signature of the individual person who makes the
2203search or of an officer of the firm must be attached. The tax
2204collector is not liable for payment to the firm unless these
2205requirements are met. The report may be submitted to the tax
2206collector in an electronic format.
2207     2.  The tax collector may not accept or pay for any title
2208search or abstract if no financial responsibility is not assumed
2209for the search. However, reasonable restrictions as to the
2210liability or responsibility of the title or abstract company are
2211acceptable. Notwithstanding s. 627.7843(3), the tax collector
2212may contract for higher maximum liability limits.
2213     3.  In order to establish uniform prices for ownership and
2214encumbrance reports within the county, the tax collector must
2215shall ensure that the contract for ownership and encumbrance
2216reports include all requests for title searches or abstracts for
2217a given period of time.
2218     (b)  Any fee paid for a any title search or abstract must
2219be collected at the time of application under subsection (1),
2220and the amount of the fee must be added to the opening bid.
2221     (c)  The clerk shall advertise and administer the sale and
2222receive such fees for the issuance of the deed and sale of the
2223property as are provided in s. 28.24.
2224     (6)(a)  The opening bid:
2225     (a)  On county-held certificates on nonhomestead property
2226shall be the sum of the value of all outstanding certificates
2227against the property land, plus omitted years' taxes, delinquent
2228taxes, interest, and all costs and fees paid by the county.
2229     (b)  The opening bid On an individual certificate on
2230nonhomestead property shall include, in addition to the amount
2231of money paid to the tax collector by the certificateholder at
2232the time of application, the amount required to redeem the
2233applicant's tax certificate and all other costs and fees paid by
2234the applicant, plus all tax certificates that were sold
2235subsequent to the filing of the tax deed application and omitted
2236taxes, if any.
2237     (c)  The opening bid On property assessed on the latest tax
2238roll as homestead property shall include, in addition to the
2239amount of money required for an opening bid on nonhomestead
2240property, an amount equal to one-half of the latest just
2241assessed value of the homestead. Payment of one-half of the just
2242assessed value of the homestead property shall not be required
2243if the tax certificate to which the application relates was sold
2244prior to January 1, 1982.
2245     (7)  On county-held certificates for which there are no
2246bidders at the public sale, the clerk shall enter the land on a
2247list entitled "lands available for taxes" and shall immediately
2248notify the county commission and all other persons holding
2249certificates against the property land that the property land is
2250available. During the first 90 days after the property land is
2251placed on the list of lands available for taxes, the county may
2252purchase the land for the opening bid or may waive its rights to
2253purchase the property. Thereafter, any person, the county, or
2254any other governmental unit may purchase the property land from
2255the clerk, without further notice or advertising, for the
2256opening bid, except that if when the county or other
2257governmental unit is the purchaser for its own use, the board of
2258county commissioners may cancel omitted years' taxes, as
2259provided under s. 197.447. If the county does not elect to
2260purchase the property land, the county must notify each legal
2261titleholder of property contiguous to the property land
2262available for taxes, as provided in paragraph (4)(h), before
2263expiration of the 90-day period. Interest on the opening bid
2264continues to accrue through the month of sale as prescribed by
2265s. 197.542.
2266     (8)  Taxes may shall not be extended against parcels listed
2267as lands available for taxes, but in each year the taxes that
2268would have been due shall be treated as omitted years and added
2269to the required minimum bid. If any tax certificates exist or if
2270an application for a tax deed by a person other than the county
2271is not filed within 7 Three years after the day the land was
2272offered for public sale, the land shall escheat to the county in
2273which it is located, free and clear. If the property was placed
2274on the list of lands available for taxes as a result of a tax
2275deed application filed by the county and a tax certificate,
2276owned by a person other than the county, does not exist on the
2277property, the property shall escheat 3 years after the day the
2278property was offered for private sale, free and clear. All tax
2279certificates, accrued taxes, and liens of any nature against the
2280property shall be deemed canceled as a matter of law and of no
2281further legal force and effect, and the clerk shall execute an
2282escheatment tax deed vesting title in the board of county
2283commissioners of the county in which the land is located.
2284     (a)  When a property escheats to the county under this
2285subsection, the county is not subject to any liability imposed
2286by chapter 376 or chapter 403 for preexisting soil or
2287groundwater contamination due solely to its ownership. However,
2288this subsection does not affect the rights or liabilities of any
2289past or future owners of the escheated property and does not
2290affect the liability of any governmental entity for the results
2291of its actions that create or exacerbate a pollution source.
2292     (b)  The county and the Department of Environmental
2293Protection may enter into a written agreement for the
2294performance, funding, and reimbursement of the investigative and
2295remedial acts necessary for a property that escheats to the
2296county.
2297     (9)  Consolidated applications on more than one tax
2298certificate are allowed, but a separate statement shall be
2299issued pursuant to subsection (4), and a separate tax deed shall
2300be issued pursuant to s. 197.552, for each parcel of property
2301shown on the tax certificate.
2302     (10)  Any fees collected pursuant to this section shall be
2303refunded to the certificateholder in the event that the tax deed
2304sale is canceled for any reason.
2305     (11)  For any property acquired under this section by the
2306county for the express purpose of providing infill housing, the
2307board of county commissioners may, in accordance with s.
2308197.447, cancel county-held tax certificates and omitted years'
2309taxes on such properties. Furthermore, the county may not
2310transfer a property acquired under this section specifically for
2311infill housing back to a taxpayer who failed to pay the
2312delinquent taxes or charges that led to the issuance of the tax
2313certificate or lien. For purposes of this subsection only, the
2314term "taxpayer" includes the taxpayer's family or any entity in
2315which the taxpayer or taxpayer's family has any interest.
2316     Section 53.  Section 197.522, Florida Statutes, is amended
2317to read:
2318     197.522  Notice to owner when application for tax deed is
2319made.-
2320     (1)(a)  Except as provided in this section, the clerk of
2321the circuit court shall notify, by certified mail with return
2322receipt requested or by registered mail if the notice is to be
2323sent outside the continental United States, the persons listed
2324in the tax collector's statement pursuant to s. 197.502(4) that
2325an application for a tax deed has been made. Such notice shall
2326be mailed at least 20 days before prior to the date of sale. If
2327an no address is not listed in the tax collector's statement,
2328then a no notice is not shall be required.
2329     (b)  The clerk shall enclose with every copy mailed a
2330statement as follows:
2331     WARNING: There are unpaid taxes on property which you own
2332or in which you have a legal interest. Such property will be
2333sold at public auction notwithstanding its classification as
2334homestead property, if applicable. The property will be sold at
2335public auction on ...(date)... unless the back taxes are paid.
2336To make payment, or to receive further information, contact the
2337clerk of court immediately at ...(address)..., ...(telephone
2338number)....
2339     (c)  The clerk shall complete and attach to the affidavit
2340of the publisher a certificate containing the names and
2341addresses of those persons notified and the date the notice was
2342mailed. The certificate shall be signed by the clerk and the
2343clerk's official seal affixed. The certificate shall be prima
2344facie evidence of the fact that the notice was mailed. If an no
2345address is not listed on the tax collector's certification, the
2346clerk shall execute a certificate to that effect.
2347     (d)  The failure of anyone to receive notice as provided
2348herein shall not affect the validity of the tax deed issued
2349pursuant to the notice.
2350     (e)  A printed copy of the notice as published in the
2351newspaper, accompanied by the warning statement described in
2352paragraph (b), shall be deemed sufficient notice.
2353     (2)(a)  In addition to the notice provided in subsection
2354(1), for property that was not classified as homestead property
2355on the most recent assessment roll prior to the tax deed
2356application, the sheriff of the county in which the legal
2357titleholder resides shall, at least 20 days prior to the date of
2358sale, notify the legal titleholder of record of the property on
2359which the tax certificate is outstanding. The original notice
2360and sufficient copies shall be prepared by the clerk and
2361provided to the sheriff. Such notice shall be served as
2362specified in chapter 48; if the sheriff is unable to make
2363service, he or she shall post a copy of the notice in a
2364conspicuous place at the legal titleholder's last known address.
2365The inability of the sheriff to serve notice on the legal
2366titleholder shall not affect the validity of the tax deed issued
2367pursuant to the notice. A legal titleholder of record who
2368resides outside the state may be notified by the clerk as
2369provided in subsection (1). The notice shall be in substantially
2370the following form:
2371
WARNING
2372
2373There are unpaid taxes on the property which you own.
2374Such property will be sold at public auction
2375notwithstanding its classification as homestead
2376property, if applicable. The property will be sold at
2377public auction on ...(date)... unless the back taxes
2378are paid. To make arrangements for payment, or to
2379receive further information, contact the clerk of
2380court at ...(address)..., ...(telephone number)....
2381
2382In addition, if the legal titleholder does not reside in the
2383county in which the property to be sold is located, a copy of
2384such notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the
2385property by the sheriff of the county in which the property is
2386located. However, no posting of notice shall be required if the
2387property to be sold is classified for assessment purposes,
2388according to use classifications established by the department,
2389as nonagricultural acreage or vacant land.
2390     (b)  In addition to the notice provided in subsection (1),
2391for property classified as homestead property on the most recent
2392assessment roll, the sheriff of the county in which the legal
2393titleholder resides shall, at least 45 days prior to the date of
2394sale, provide notice that a tax certificate is outstanding on
2395such homestead property to the legal titleholder of record. The
2396original notice and sufficient copies shall be prepared by the
2397clerk of the circuit court and provided to the sheriff. Such
2398notice shall be served as provided in chapter 48. If unable to
2399make service, the sheriff shall post a copy of the notice in a
2400conspicuous place at the homestead property address. The return
2401of service shall indicate, in addition to the details of
2402service, whether the residence exists and whether the residence
2403appears to be occupied. The inability of the sheriff to serve
2404notice on the legal titleholder of homestead property subject to
2405an outstanding tax certificate does not affect the validity of a
2406tax deed issued on such property pursuant to the notice. The
2407notice shall be in substantially the following form:
2408
WARNING
2409
2410There are unpaid taxes on the homestead property you
2411own. Such property will be sold at public auction on
2412...(date)..., unless the back taxes are paid,
2413notwithstanding its classification as homestead
2414property. To make arrangements for payment or to
2415receive further information, contact the clerk of the
2416court immediately at ...(address)..., ...(telephone
2417number)....
2418     (c)(b)  In addition to the notice provided in subsection
2419(1), the clerk shall notify by certified mail with return
2420receipt requested, or by registered mail if the notice is to be
2421sent outside the continental United States, the persons listed
2422in the tax collector's statement pursuant to s. 197.502(4)(h)
2423and to the tax deed applicant that application for a tax deed
2424has been made. Such notice shall be mailed at least 20 days
2425prior to the date of sale. If an no address is not listed in the
2426tax collector's statement, a then no notice is not shall be
2427required. Enclosed with the copy of the notice shall be a
2428statement in substantially the following form:
2429
WARNING
2430
2431There are unpaid taxes on property contiguous to your
2432property. The property with the unpaid taxes will be
2433sold at auction on ...(date)... unless the back taxes
2434are paid. To make payment, or to receive further
2435information about the purchase of the property,
2436contact the clerk of court immediately at
2437...(address)..., ...(telephone number)....
2438
2439Neither the failure of the tax collector to include the list of
2440contiguous property owners pursuant to s. 197.502(4)(h) in his
2441or her statement to the clerk nor the failure of the clerk to
2442mail this notice to any or all of the persons listed in the tax
2443collector's statement pursuant to s. 197.502(4)(h) shall be a
2444basis to challenge the validity of the tax deed issued pursuant
2445to any notice under this section.
2446     (3)  Nothing in This chapter does not prohibit a shall be
2447construed to prevent the tax collector, or any other public
2448official, in his or her discretion from giving additional notice
2449in any form concerning tax certificates and tax sales beyond the
2450minimum requirements of this chapter.
2451     Section 54.  Section 197.542, Florida Statutes, is amended
2452to read:
2453     197.542  Sale at public auction.-
2454     (1)  Real property The lands advertised for sale to the
2455highest bidder as a result of an application filed under s.
2456197.502 shall be sold at public auction by the clerk of the
2457circuit court, or his or her deputy, of the county where the
2458property is lands are located on the date, at the time, and at
2459the location as set forth in the published notice, which must
2460shall be during the regular hours the clerk's office is open. At
2461the time and place, the clerk shall read the notice of sale and
2462shall offer the lands described in the notice for sale to the
2463highest bidder for cash at public outcry. The amount required to
2464redeem the tax certificate, plus the amounts paid by the holder
2465to the clerk of the circuit court in charges for costs of sale,
2466redemption of other tax certificates on the same property lands,
2467and all other costs to the applicant for tax deed, plus interest
2468thereon at the rate of 1.5 percent per month for the period
2469running from the month after the date of application for the
2470deed through the month of sale and costs incurred for the
2471service of notice provided for in s. 197.522(2), shall be
2472considered the bid of the certificateholder for the property. If
2473tax certificates exist or if delinquent taxes accrued subsequent
2474to the filing of the tax deed application, the amount required
2475to redeem such tax certificates or pay such delinquent taxes
2476shall be included in the minimum bid. However, if the land to be
2477sold is assessed on the latest tax roll as homestead property,
2478the bid of the certificateholder shall be increased to include
2479an amount equal to one-half of the just assessed value of the
2480homestead property as required by s. 197.502. If there are no
2481higher bids, the property land shall be struck off and sold to
2482the certificateholder, who shall forthwith pay to the clerk any
2483amounts included in the minimum bid, the documentary stamp tax,
2484and recording fees due. Upon payment, and a tax deed shall
2485thereupon be issued and recorded by the clerk. The tax deed
2486applicant shall have the option of placing the property on the
2487list of lands available for taxes in lieu of paying any
2488additional sums due as a result of the increased minimum bid,
2489documentary stamps, or recording fees.
2490     (2)  If there are other bids, The certificateholder has
2491shall have the right to bid as others present may bid, and the
2492property shall be struck off and sold to the highest bidder. The
2493high bidder shall post with the clerk a nonrefundable cash
2494deposit of 5 percent of the bid $200 at the time of the sale, to
2495be applied to the sale price at the time of full payment. Notice
2496of the this deposit requirement must shall be posted at the
2497auction site, and the clerk may require that bidders to show
2498their willingness and ability to post the cost deposit. If full
2499payment of the final bid and of documentary stamp tax and
2500recording fees is not made within 24 hours, excluding weekends
2501and legal holidays, the clerk shall cancel all bids, readvertise
2502the sale as provided in this section, and pay all costs of the
2503sale from the deposit. Any remaining funds must be applied
2504toward the opening bid. The clerk may refuse to recognize the
2505bid of any person who has previously bid and refused, for any
2506reason, to honor such bid.
2507     (3)  If the sale is canceled for any reason, or the buyer
2508fails to make full payment within the time required, the clerk
2509shall immediately readvertise the sale to be held within no
2510later than 30 days after the date the sale was canceled. Only
2511one advertisement is necessary. No further notice is required.
2512The amount of the opening statutory (opening) bid shall be
2513increased by the cost of advertising, additional clerk's fees as
2514provided for in s. 28.24(21), and interest as provided for in
2515subsection (1). This process must be repeated until the property
2516is sold and the clerk receives full payment or the clerk does
2517not receive any bids other than the bid of the
2518certificateholder. The clerk must shall receive full payment
2519before prior to the issuance of the tax deed.
2520     (4)  A tax deed sale may not be canceled without the
2521consent of the tax deed applicant for any reason in law or
2522equity other than that the tax deed application has been
2523redeemed, collection has been stayed by the filing of a
2524bankruptcy petition, an error has been discovered in the
2525assessment record, or an error has been demonstrated in the
2526procedure or process used in processing the tax deed application
2527or setting the sale.
2528     (5)(4)(a)  A clerk may conduct electronic tax deed sales in
2529lieu of public outcry. The clerk must comply with the procedures
2530provided in this chapter, except that electronic proxy bidding
2531shall be allowed and the clerk may require bidders to advance
2532sufficient funds to pay the deposit required by subsection (2).
2533The clerk shall provide access to the electronic sale by
2534computer terminals open to the public at a designated location.
2535A clerk who conducts such electronic sales may receive
2536electronic deposits and payments related to the sale. The
2537portion of an advance deposit from a winning bidder required by
2538subsection (2) shall, upon acceptance of the winning bid, be
2539subject to the fee under s. 28.24(10).
2540     (b)  Nothing in This subsection does not shall be construed
2541to restrict or limit the authority of a charter county to
2542conduct from conducting electronic tax deed sales. In a charter
2543county where the clerk of the circuit court does not conduct all
2544electronic sales, the charter county shall be permitted to
2545receive electronic deposits and payments related to sales it
2546conducts, as well as to subject the winning bidder to a fee,
2547consistent with the schedule in s. 28.24(10).
2548     (c)  The costs of electronic tax deed sales shall be added
2549to the charges for the costs of sale under subsection (1) and
2550paid by the certificateholder when filing an application for a
2551tax deed.
2552     Section 55.  Section 197.552, Florida Statutes, is amended
2553to read:
2554     197.552  Tax deeds.-
2555     (1)  All tax deeds shall be issued in the name of a county
2556and must shall be signed by the clerk of the county. The deed
2557shall be witnessed by two witnesses, the official seal shall be
2558attached thereto, and the deed shall be acknowledged or proven
2559as other deeds. The charges by the clerk shall be as provided in
2560s. 28.24. Tax deeds issued to a purchaser of property for
2561delinquent taxes must be in the form prescribed by the
2562department. All deeds issued pursuant to this section are prima
2563facie evidence of the regularity of all proceedings from the
2564valuation of the property to the issuance of the deed,
2565inclusive.
2566     (2)(a)  Except as specifically provided in this chapter, a
2567no right, interest, restriction, or other covenant does not
2568shall survive the issuance of a tax deed.,
2569     (b)1.  Liens that survive the issuance of a tax deed
2570include except that a lien of record held by a municipal or
2571county governmental unit or, special district, or community
2572development district. These surviving liens include tax
2573certificates that were not incorporated in the tax deed
2574application, if, when such liens were lien is not satisfied from
2575as of the disbursement of proceeds of sale under the provisions
2576of s. 197.582, shall survive the issuance of a tax deed.
2577     2.  A code enforcement lien survives only as to the amount
2578expended by the governmental entity to correct the code
2579deficiency and the amount of the surviving lien may not include
2580interest, penalties, fines, or attorney's fees.
2581     (3)  A lien surviving the issuance of a tax deed may not
2582provide a basis to foreclose against the interest of the tax
2583deed owner unless the owner is reimbursed for the price of
2584acquiring the tax deed, including recording fees and documentary
2585stamps, by the holder of the surviving lien or at the time of a
2586foreclosure sale. If a foreclosure sale results in insufficient
2587funds to satisfy a surviving lien and reimburse the tax deed
2588owner, the proceeds of the foreclosure sale shall be distributed
2589pro rata in recognition of the equal dignity of lien and the tax
2590deed. The charges by the clerk shall be as provided in s. 28.24.
2591Tax deeds issued to a purchaser of land for delinquent taxes
2592shall be in the form prescribed by the department. All deeds
2593issued pursuant to this section shall be prima facie evidence of
2594the regularity of all proceedings from the valuation of the
2595lands to the issuance of the deed, inclusive.
2596     Section 56.  Subsection (2) of section 197.582, Florida
2597Statutes, is amended to read:
2598     197.582  Disbursement of proceeds of sale.-
2599     (2)  If the property is purchased for an amount in excess
2600of the statutory bid of the certificateholder, the excess shall
2601be paid over and disbursed by the clerk. If the property
2602purchased is homestead property and the statutory bid includes
2603an amount equal to at least one-half of the just assessed value
2604of the homestead, that amount shall be treated as excess and
2605distributed in the same manner. The clerk shall distribute the
2606excess to the governmental units for the payment of any lien of
2607record held by a governmental unit against the property,
2608including any tax certificates not incorporated in the tax deed
2609application and omitted taxes, if any. If In the event the
2610excess is not sufficient to pay all of such liens in full, the
2611excess shall then be paid to each governmental unit pro rata.
2612If, after all liens of record of the governmental units upon the
2613property are paid in full, there remains a balance of
2614undistributed funds, the balance of the purchase price shall be
2615retained by the clerk for the benefit of the persons described
2616in s. 197.522(1)(a), except those persons described in s.
2617197.502(4)(h), as their interests may appear. The clerk shall
2618mail notices to such persons notifying them of the funds held
2619for their benefit. Any service charges, at the same rate as
2620prescribed in s. 28.24(10), and costs of mailing notices shall
2621be paid out of the excess balance held by the clerk. Excess
2622proceeds shall be held and disbursed in the same manner as
2623unclaimed redemption moneys in s. 197.473. If In the event
2624excess proceeds are not sufficient to cover the service charges
2625and mailing costs, the clerk shall receive the total amount of
2626excess proceeds as a service charge.
2627     Section 57.  Section 197.602, Florida Statutes, is amended
2628to read:
2629     197.602  Reimbursement required in challenges to the
2630validity of a tax deed Party recovering land must refund taxes
2631paid and interest.-
2632     (1)  If a party successfully challenges the validity of a
2633tax deed in an action at law or equity, but the taxes for which
2634the tax deed was sold were not paid before the tax deed was
2635issued, the party shall pay to the party against whom the
2636judgment or decree is entered:
2637     (a)  The amount paid for the tax deed and all taxes paid
2638upon the land, together with 12 percent interest thereon per
2639year from the date of the issuance of the tax deed;
2640     (b)  All legal expenses in obtaining the tax deed,
2641including publication of notice and clerk's fees for issuing and
2642recording the tax deed; and
2643     (c)  The fair cash value of all maintenance and permanent
2644improvements made upon the land by the holders under the tax
2645deed. If, in an action at law or in equity involving the
2646validity of any tax deed, the court holds that the tax deed was
2647invalid at the time of its issuance and that title to the land
2648therein described did not vest in the tax deed holder , then, if
2649the taxes for which the land was sold and upon which the tax
2650deed was issued had not been paid prior to issuance of the deed,
2651the party in whose favor the judgment or decree in the suit is
2652entered shall pay to the party against whom the judgment or
2653decree is entered the amount paid for the tax deed and all taxes
2654paid upon the land, together with 12-percent interest thereon
2655per year from the date of the issuance of the tax deed and all
2656legal expenses in obtaining the tax deed, including publication
2657of notice and clerk's fees for issuing and recording the tax
2658deed, and also the fair cash value of all permanent improvements
2659made upon the land by the holders under the tax deed.
2660     (2)  In an action to challenge the validity of a tax deed,
2661the prevailing party is entitled to all reasonable litigation
2662expenses including attorney's fees.
2663     (3)  The court shall determine the amount of the expenses
2664for which a party shall be reimbursed. and the fair cash value
2665of improvements shall be ascertained and found upon the trial of
2666the action, and The tax deed holder or anyone holding under the
2667tax deed has thereunder shall have a prior lien on upon the land
2668for the payment of the expenses that must be reimbursed to such
2669persons sums.
2670     Section 58.  Section 192.0105, Florida Statutes, is amended
2671to read
2672     192.0105  Taxpayer rights.-There is created a Florida
2673Taxpayer's Bill of Rights for property taxes and assessments to
2674guarantee that the rights, privacy, and property of the
2675taxpayers of this state are adequately safeguarded and protected
2676during tax levy, assessment, collection, and enforcement
2677processes administered under the revenue laws of this state. The
2678Taxpayer's Bill of Rights compiles, in one document, brief but
2679comprehensive statements that summarize the rights and
2680obligations of the property appraisers, tax collectors, clerks
2681of the court, local governing boards, the Department of Revenue,
2682and taxpayers. Additional rights afforded to payors of taxes and
2683assessments imposed under the revenue laws of this state are
2684provided in s. 213.015. The rights afforded taxpayers to assure
2685that their privacy and property are safeguarded and protected
2686during tax levy, assessment, and collection are available only
2687insofar as they are implemented in other parts of the Florida
2688Statutes or rules of the Department of Revenue. The rights so
2689guaranteed to state taxpayers in the Florida Statutes and the
2690departmental rules include:
2691     (1)  THE RIGHT TO KNOW.-
2692     (a)  The right to be sent a mailed notice of proposed
2693property taxes and proposed or adopted non-ad valorem
2694assessments (see ss. 194.011(1), 200.065(2)(b) and (d) and
2695(13)(a), and 200.069). The notice must also inform the taxpayer
2696that the final tax bill may contain additional non-ad valorem
2697assessments (see s. 200.069(10)).
2698     (b)  The right to notification of a public hearing on each
2699taxing authority's tentative budget and proposed millage rate
2700and advertisement of a public hearing to finalize the budget and
2701adopt a millage rate (see s. 200.065(2)(c) and (d)).
2702     (c)  The right to advertised notice of the amount by which
2703the tentatively adopted millage rate results in taxes that
2704exceed the previous year's taxes (see s. 200.065(2)(d) and (3)).
2705The right to notification by first-class mail of a comparison of
2706the amount of the taxes to be levied from the proposed millage
2707rate under the tentative budget change, compared to the previous
2708year's taxes, and also compared to the taxes that would be
2709levied if no budget change is made (see ss. 200.065(2)(b) and
2710200.069(2), (3), (4), and (8)).
2711     (d)  The right that the adopted millage rate will not
2712exceed the tentatively adopted millage rate. If the tentative
2713rate exceeds the proposed rate, each taxpayer shall be mailed
2714notice comparing his or her taxes under the tentatively adopted
2715millage rate to the taxes under the previously proposed rate,
2716before a hearing to finalize the budget and adopt millage (see
2717s. 200.065(2)(d)).
2718     (e)  The right to be sent notice by first-class mail of a
2719non-ad valorem assessment hearing at least 20 days before the
2720hearing with pertinent information, including the total amount
2721to be levied against each parcel. All affected property owners
2722have the right to appear at the hearing and to file written
2723objections with the local governing board (see s. 197.3632(4)(b)
2724and (c) and (10)(b)2.b.).
2725     (f)  The right of an exemption recipient to be sent a
2726renewal application for that exemption, the right to a receipt
2727for homestead exemption claim when filed, and the right to
2728notice of denial of the exemption (see ss. 196.011(6),
2729196.131(1), 196.151, and 196.193(1)(c) and (5)).
2730     (g)  The right, on property determined not to have been
2731entitled to homestead exemption in a prior year, to notice of
2732intent from the property appraiser to record notice of tax lien
2733and the right to pay tax, penalty, and interest before a tax
2734lien is recorded for any prior year (see s. 196.161(1)(b)).
2735     (h)  The right to be informed during the tax collection
2736process, including: notice of tax due; notice of back taxes;
2737notice of late taxes and assessments and consequences of
2738nonpayment; opportunity to pay estimated taxes and non-ad
2739valorem assessments when the tax roll will not be certified in
2740time; notice when interest begins to accrue on delinquent
2741provisional taxes; notice of the right to prepay estimated taxes
2742by installment; a statement of the taxpayer's estimated tax
2743liability for use in making installment payments; and notice of
2744right to defer taxes and non-ad valorem assessments on homestead
2745property (see ss. 197.322(3), 197.3635, 197.343, 197.363(2)(c),
2746197.222(3) and (5), 197.2301(3), 197.3632(8)(a),
2747193.1145(10)(a), and 197.254(1)). However, a taxpayer is deemed
2748to have waived the right to know if the taxpayer fails to
2749provide current contact information to the county property
2750appraiser and tax collector.
2751     (i)  The right to an advertisement in a newspaper listing
2752names of taxpayers who are delinquent in paying tangible
2753personal property taxes, with amounts due, and giving notice
2754that interest is accruing at 18 percent and that, unless taxes
2755are paid, warrants will be issued, prior to petition made with
2756the circuit court for an order to seize and sell property (see
2757s. 197.402(2)).
2758     (j)  The right to be sent a mailed notice when a petition
2759has been filed with the court for an order to seize and sell
2760property and the right to be mailed notice, and to be served
2761notice by the sheriff, before the date of sale, that application
2762for tax deed has been made and property will be sold unless back
2763taxes are paid (see ss. 197.413(5), 197.502(4)(a), and
2764197.522(1)(a) and (2)).
2765     (k)  The right to have certain taxes and special
2766assessments levied by special districts individually stated on
2767the "Notice of Proposed Property Taxes and Proposed or Adopted
2768Non-Ad Valorem Assessments" (see s. 200.069).
2769
2770Notwithstanding the right to information contained in this
2771subsection, under s. 197.122 property owners are held to know
2772that property taxes are due and payable annually and charges
2773property owners with a duty to ascertain the amount of current
2774and delinquent taxes to obtain the necessary information from
2775the applicable governmental officials.
2776     (2)  THE RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.-
2777     (a)  The right to an informal conference with the property
2778appraiser to present facts the taxpayer considers to support
2779changing the assessment and to have the property appraiser
2780present facts supportive of the assessment upon proper request
2781of any taxpayer who objects to the assessment placed on his or
2782her property (see s. 194.011(2)).
2783     (b)  The right to petition the value adjustment board over
2784objections to assessments, denial of exemption, denial of
2785agricultural classification, denial of historic classification,
2786denial of high-water recharge classification, disapproval of tax
2787deferral, and any penalties on deferred taxes imposed for
2788incorrect information willfully filed. Payment of estimated
2789taxes does not preclude the right of the taxpayer to challenge
2790his or her assessment (see ss. 194.011(3), 196.011(6) and
2791(9)(a), 196.151, 196.193(1)(c) and (5), 193.461(2), 193.503(7),
2792193.625(2), 197.2425 197.253(2), 197.301(2), and 197.2301(11)).
2793     (c)  The right to file a petition for exemption or
2794agricultural classification with the value adjustment board when
2795an application deadline is missed, upon demonstration of
2796particular extenuating circumstances for filing late (see ss.
2797193.461(3)(a) and 196.011(1), (7), (8), and (9)(e)).
2798     (d)  The right to prior notice of the value adjustment
2799board's hearing date and the right to the hearing within 4 hours
2800of scheduled time (see s. 194.032(2)).
2801     (e)  The right to notice of date of certification of tax
2802rolls and receipt of property record card if requested (see ss.
2803193.122(2) and (3) and 194.032(2)).
2804     (f)  The right, in value adjustment board proceedings, to
2805have all evidence presented and considered at a public hearing
2806at the scheduled time, to be represented by an attorney or
2807agent, to have witnesses sworn and cross-examined, and to
2808examine property appraisers or evaluators employed by the board
2809who present testimony (see ss. 194.034(1)(a) and (c) and (4),
2810and 194.035(2)).
2811     (g)  The right to be sent mailed a timely written decision
2812by the value adjustment board containing findings of fact and
2813conclusions of law and reasons for upholding or overturning the
2814determination of the property appraiser, and the right to
2815advertised notice of all board actions, including appropriate
2816narrative and column descriptions, in brief and nontechnical
2817language (see ss. 194.034(2) and 194.037(3)).
2818     (h)  The right at a public hearing on non-ad valorem
2819assessments or municipal special assessments to provide written
2820objections and to provide testimony to the local governing board
2821(see ss. 197.3632(4)(c) and 170.08).
2822     (i)  The right to bring action in circuit court to contest
2823a tax assessment or appeal value adjustment board decisions to
2824disapprove exemption or deny tax deferral (see ss. 194.036(1)(c)
2825and (2), 194.171, 196.151, and 197.2425 197.253(2)).
2826     (3)  THE RIGHT TO REDRESS.-
2827     (a)  The right to discounts for early payment on all taxes
2828and non-ad valorem assessments collected by the tax collector,
2829except for partial payments as defined in s. 197.374, the right
2830to pay installment payments with discounts, and the right to pay
2831delinquent personal property taxes under a an installment
2832payment program when implemented by the county tax collector
2833(see ss. 197.162, 197.3632(8) and (10)(b)3., 197.222(1), and
2834197.4155).
2835     (b)  The right, upon filing a challenge in circuit court
2836and paying taxes admitted in good faith to be owing, to be
2837issued a receipt and have suspended all procedures for the
2838collection of taxes until the final disposition of the action
2839(see s. 194.171(3)).
2840     (c)  The right to have penalties reduced or waived upon a
2841showing of good cause when a return is not intentionally filed
2842late, and the right to pay interest at a reduced rate if the
2843court finds that the amount of tax owed by the taxpayer is
2844greater than the amount the taxpayer has in good faith admitted
2845and paid (see ss. 193.072(4) and 194.192(2)).
2846     (d)  The right to a refund when overpayment of taxes has
2847been made under specified circumstances (see ss. 193.1145(8)(e)
2848and 197.182(1)).
2849     (e)  The right to an extension to file a tangible personal
2850property tax return upon making proper and timely request (see
2851s. 193.063).
2852     (f)  The right to redeem real property and redeem tax
2853certificates at any time before full payment for a tax deed is
2854made to the clerk of the court, including documentary stamps and
2855recording fees issued, and the right to have tax certificates
2856canceled if sold where taxes had been paid or if other error
2857makes it void or correctable. Property owners have the right to
2858be free from contact by a certificateholder for 2 years after
2859April 1 of the year the tax certificate is issued (see ss.
2860197.432(13) and (14)(14) and (15), 197.442(1), 197.443, and
2861197.472(1) and (7)).
2862     (g)  The right of the taxpayer, property appraiser, tax
2863collector, or the department, as the prevailing party in a
2864judicial or administrative action brought or maintained without
2865the support of justiciable issues of fact or law, to recover all
2866costs of the administrative or judicial action, including
2867reasonable attorney's fees, and of the department and the
2868taxpayer to settle such claims through negotiations (see ss.
286957.105 and 57.111).
2870     (4)  THE RIGHT TO CONFIDENTIALITY.-
2871     (a)  The right to have information kept confidential,
2872including federal tax information, ad valorem tax returns,
2873social security numbers, all financial records produced by the
2874taxpayer, Form DR-219 returns for documentary stamp tax
2875information, and sworn statements of gross income, copies of
2876federal income tax returns for the prior year, wage and earnings
2877statements (W-2 forms), and other documents (see ss. 192.105,
2878193.074, 193.114(5), 195.027(3) and (6), and 196.101(4)(c)).
2879     (b)  The right to limiting access to a taxpayer's records
2880by a property appraiser, the Department of Revenue, and the
2881Auditor General only to those instances in which it is
2882determined that such records are necessary to determine either
2883the classification or the value of taxable nonhomestead property
2884(see s. 195.027(3)).
2885     Section 59.  Paragraph (d) of subsection (3) of section
2886194.011, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
2887     194.011  Assessment notice; objections to assessments.-
2888     (3)  A petition to the value adjustment board must be in
2889substantially the form prescribed by the department.
2890Notwithstanding s. 195.022, a county officer may not refuse to
2891accept a form provided by the department for this purpose if the
2892taxpayer chooses to use it. A petition to the value adjustment
2893board shall describe the property by parcel number and shall be
2894filed as follows:
2895     (d)  The petition may be filed, as to valuation issues, at
2896any time during the taxable year on or before the 25th day
2897following the mailing of notice by the property appraiser as
2898provided in subsection (1). With respect to an issue involving
2899the denial of an exemption, an agricultural or high-water
2900recharge classification application, an application for
2901classification as historic property used for commercial or
2902certain nonprofit purposes, or a deferral, the petition must be
2903filed at any time during the taxable year on or before the 30th
2904day following the mailing of the notice by the property
2905appraiser under s. 193.461, s. 193.503, s. 193.625, or s.
2906196.193 or notice by the tax collector under s. 197.2425
2907197.253.
2908     Section 60.  Subsection (1) of section 194.013, Florida
2909Statutes, is amended to read:
2910     194.013  Filing fees for petitions; disposition; waiver.-
2911     (1)  If so required by resolution of the value adjustment
2912board, a petition filed pursuant to s. 194.011 shall be
2913accompanied by a filing fee to be paid to the clerk of the value
2914adjustment board in an amount determined by the board not to
2915exceed $15 for each separate parcel of property, real or
2916personal, covered by the petition and subject to appeal.
2917However, no such filing fee may be required with respect to an
2918appeal from the disapproval of homestead exemption under s.
2919196.151 or from the denial of tax deferral under s. 197.2425
2920197.253. Only a single filing fee shall be charged under this
2921section as to any particular parcel of property despite the
2922existence of multiple issues and hearings pertaining to such
2923parcel. For joint petitions filed pursuant to s. 194.011(3)(e)
2924or (f), a single filing fee shall be charged. Such fee shall be
2925calculated as the cost of the special magistrate for the time
2926involved in hearing the joint petition and shall not exceed $5
2927per parcel. Said fee is to be proportionately paid by affected
2928parcel owners.
2929     Section 61.  Subsection (12) of section 196.011, Florida
2930Statutes, is amended to read:
2931     196.011  Annual application required for exemption.-
2932     (12)  Notwithstanding subsection (1), if when the owner of
2933property otherwise entitled to a religious exemption from ad
2934valorem taxation fails to timely file an application for
2935exemption, and because of a misidentification of property
2936ownership on the property tax roll the owner is not properly
2937notified of the tax obligation by the property appraiser and the
2938tax collector, the owner of the property may file an application
2939for exemption with the property appraiser. The property
2940appraiser must consider the application, and if he or she
2941determines the owner of the property would have been entitled to
2942the exemption had the property owner timely applied, the
2943property appraiser must grant the exemption. Any taxes assessed
2944on such property shall be canceled, and if paid, refunded. Any
2945tax certificates outstanding on such property shall be canceled
2946and refund made pursuant to s. 197.432(11) s. 197.432(10).
2947     Section 62.  Section 197.603, Florida Statutes, is created
2948to read:
2949     197.603  Declaration of legislative findings and intent.-
2950The Legislature finds that the state has a strong interest in
2951ensuring due process and public confidence in a uniform, fair,
2952efficient, and accountable collection of property taxes by
2953county tax collectors. Therefore, tax collectors shall be
2954supervised by the Department of Revenue pursuant to s.
2955195.002(1). Moreover, the Legislature intends that the property
2956tax collection authorized by this chapter under s. 9(a), Art.
2957VII of the State Constitution be free from the influence or the
2958appearance of influence of the local governments who levy
2959property taxes and receive property tax revenues.
2960     Section 63.  Sections 197.202, 197.242, 197.304, 197.3041,
2961197.3042, 197.3043, 197.3044, 197.3045, 197.3046, 197.3047,
2962197.307, 197.3072, 197.3073, 197.3074, 197.3075, 197.3076,
2963197.3077, 197.3078, and 197.3079, Florida Statutes, are
2964repealed.
2965     Section 64.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.


CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.
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