September 18, 2019
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_h7157__
HB 7157

1
A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to real property used for conservation
3purposes; creating s. 196.26, F.S.; providing definitions;
4providing for a full or partial exemption for land
5dedicated in perpetuity for conservation purposes;
6providing circumstances under which land consisting of
7less than 40 acres qualifies for such exemption; providing
8for the assessment of buildings and structures on exempted
9lands; requiring best management practices to be used for
10certain agricultural lands; providing for third-party
11conservation easement enforcement rights to affected
12governments; creating the Board of Conservation for
13certain purposes; providing for appointment of members;
14amending s. 193.501, F.S.; revising a cross-reference;
15amending s. 704.06, F.S.; requiring owners of property
16encumbered by a conservation easement to comply with
17marketable record title requirements to preserve the
18easement in perpetuity; amending s. 195.073, F.S.;
19specifying an additional real property assessment
20classification; amending s. 196.011, F.S.; providing
21requirements and procedures for renewal applications for
22exemptions for real property dedicated in perpetuity for
23conservation purposes; requiring owners of such property
24to notify the property appraiser when use of the property
25no longer qualifies for the exemption; providing penalties
26for failure to notify; providing for application of
27certain lien provisions; amending s. 192.0105, F.S.;
28conforming a cross-reference; creating s. 218.125, F.S.;
29requiring the Legislature to appropriate moneys to replace
30the reductions in ad valorem tax revenue experienced by
31fiscally constrained counties with a population not
32exceeding 25,000; requiring each fiscally constrained
33county to apply to the Department of Revenue to
34participate in the distribution of the appropriation;
35specifying the documentation that must be provided to the
36department; providing a formula for calculating the
37reduction in ad valorem tax revenue; authorizing the
38department to adopt emergency rules effective for a
39specified period; providing for renewal of such rules;
40providing applicability; providing an effective date.
41
42Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
43
44     Section 1.  Section 196.26, Florida Statutes, is created to
45read:
46     196.26  Exemption for real property dedicated in perpetuity
47for conservation purposes.--
48     (1)  As used in this section:
49     (a)  "Allowed commercial uses" means commercial uses that
50are allowed by the conservation easement encumbering the land
51exempt from taxation under this section.
52     (b)  "Conservation easement" means the property right
53described in s. 704.06.
54     (c)  "Conservation purposes" means:
55     1.  Retention of the substantial natural value of land,
56including woodlands, wetlands, water courses, ponds, streams,
57and natural open spaces;
58     2.  Retention of such lands as suitable habitat for fish,
59plants, or wildlife; or
60     3.  Retention of such lands' natural value for water
61quality enhancement or water recharge.
62     (d)  "Dedicated in perpetuity" means that the land is
63encumbered by an irrevocable, perpetual conservation easement.
64     (2)  Land that is dedicated in perpetuity for conservation
65purposes and that is used exclusively for conservation purposes
66is exempt from ad valorem taxation.
67     (3)  Land that is dedicated in perpetuity for conservation
68purposes and that is used for allowed commercial uses is exempt
69from ad valorem taxation to the extent of 50 percent of the
70assessed value of the land.
71     (4)  Land that comprises less than 40 contiguous acres does
72not qualify for the exemption provided in this section unless,
73in addition to meeting the other requirements of this section,
74the use of the land for conservation purposes is determined by
75the Board of Conservation to fulfill a clearly delineated state
76conservation policy and yield a significant public benefit. The
77determination of whether a significant public benefit exists
78must include consideration of the fiscal impact the exemption
79provided in this section will have on affected governments and
80other taxpayers.
81     (5)  Buildings, structures, and other improvements situated
82on land receiving the exemption provided in this section and the
83land area immediately surrounding the buildings, structures, and
84improvements must be assessed separately pursuant to chapter
85193.
86     (6)  Land that qualifies for the exemption provided in this
87section the allowed commercial uses of which include agriculture
88must comply with the most recent best management practices if
89adopted by rule of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
90Services.
91     (7)  As provided in s. 704.06(8) and (9), county or
92municipal governments with jurisdiction over lands receiving the
93exemption provided in this section have a third-party right of
94enforcement to enforce the terms of the applicable conservation
95easement.
96     (8)  The Board of Conservation is created to make the
97determinations required by subsection (4). The board shall
98consist of nine members appointed as follows:
99     (a)  The Governor shall appoint one member representing a
100rural-county government, one member representing a medium-county
101government, one member representing a large-county government,
102and two members each representing a nationally recognized
103organization the purposes of which include the preservation of
104conservation lands to serve on the board.
105     (b)  The agency heads of the Department of Agriculture, the
106Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of
107Community Affairs, and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation
108Commission shall each appoint one employee to serve on the
109board.
110     Section 2.  Subsection (1) of section 193.501, Florida
111Statutes, is amended to read:
112     193.501  Assessment of lands subject to a conservation
113easement, environmentally endangered lands, or lands used for
114outdoor recreational or park purposes when land development
115rights have been conveyed or conservation restrictions have been
116covenanted.--
117     (1)  The owner or owners in fee of any land subject to a
118conservation easement as described in s. 704.06(1); land
119qualified as environmentally endangered pursuant to paragraph
120(6)(i) and so designated by formal resolution of the governing
121board of the municipality or county within which such land is
122located; land designated as conservation land in a comprehensive
123plan adopted by the appropriate municipal or county governing
124body; or any land which is utilized for outdoor recreational or
125park purposes may, by appropriate instrument, for a term of not
126less than 10 years:
127     (a)  Convey the development right of such land to the
128governing board of any public agency in this state within which
129the land is located, or to the Board of Trustees of the Internal
130Improvement Trust Fund, or to a charitable corporation or trust
131as described in s. 704.06(3); or
132     (b)  Covenant with the governing board of any public agency
133in this state within which the land is located, or with the
134Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, or
135with a charitable corporation or trust as described in s.
136704.06(3), that such land be subject to one or more of the
137conservation restrictions provided in s. 704.06(1) or not be
138used by the owner for any purpose other than outdoor
139recreational or park purposes. If land is covenanted and used
140for an outdoor recreational purpose, the normal use and
141maintenance of the land for that purpose, consistent with the
142covenant, shall not be restricted.
143     Section 3.  Subsection (12) is added to section 704.06,
144Florida Statutes, to read:
145     704.06  Conservation easements; creation; acquisition;
146enforcement.--
147     (12)  An owner of property encumbered by a conservation
148easement must abide by the requirements of chapter 712 or any
149other similar law or rule to preserve the conservation easement
150in perpetuity.
151     Section 4.  Subsection (1) of section 195.073, Florida
152Statutes, is amended to read:
153     195.073  Classification of property.--All items required by
154law to be on the assessment rolls must receive a classification
155based upon the use of the property. The department shall
156promulgate uniform definitions for all classifications. The
157department may designate other subclassifications of property.
158No assessment roll may be approved by the department which does
159not show proper classifications.
160     (1)  Real property must be classified according to the
161assessment basis of the land into the following classes:
162     (a)  Residential, subclassified into categories, one
163category for homestead property and one for nonhomestead
164property:
165     1.  Single family.
166     2.  Mobile homes.
167     3.  Multifamily.
168     4.  Condominiums.
169     5.  Cooperatives.
170     6.  Retirement homes.
171     (b)  Commercial and industrial.
172     (c)  Agricultural.
173     (d)  Nonagricultural acreage.
174     (e)  High-water recharge.
175     (f)  Historic property used for commercial or certain
176nonprofit purposes.
177     (g)  Exempt, wholly or partially.
178     (h)  Centrally assessed.
179     (i)  Leasehold interests.
180     (j)  Time-share property.
181     (k)  Land assessed under s. 193.501.
182     (l)(k)  Other.
183     Section 5.  Subsections (6) and (9) of section 196.011,
184Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
185     196.011  Annual application required for exemption.--
186     (6)(a)  Once an original application for tax exemption has
187been granted, in each succeeding year on or before February 1,
188the property appraiser shall mail a renewal application to the
189applicant, and the property appraiser shall accept from each
190such applicant a renewal application on a form to be prescribed
191by the Department of Revenue. Such renewal application shall be
192accepted as evidence of exemption by the property appraiser
193unless he or she denies the application. Upon denial, the
194property appraiser shall serve, on or before July 1 of each
195year, a notice setting forth the grounds for denial on the
196applicant by first-class mail. Any applicant objecting to such
197denial may file a petition as provided for in s. 194.011(3).
198     (b)  Once an original application for tax exemption has
199been granted under s. 196.26, in each succeeding year on or
200before February 1, the property appraiser shall mail a renewal
201application to the applicant on a form prescribed by the
202Department of Revenue. The applicant must certify on the form
203that the use of the property complies with the restrictions and
204requirements of the conservation easement. The form shall
205include a statement that the exemption granted under s. 196.26
206will not be renewed unless the application is returned to the
207property appraiser.
208     (9)(a)  A county may, at the request of the property
209appraiser and by a majority vote of its governing body, waive
210the requirement that an annual application or statement be made
211for exemption of property within the county after an initial
212application is made and the exemption granted. The waiver under
213this subsection of the annual application or statement
214requirement applies to all exemptions under this chapter except
215the exemption under s. 196.1995. Notwithstanding such waiver,
216refiling of an application or statement shall be required when
217any property granted an exemption is sold or otherwise disposed
218of, when the ownership changes in any manner, when the applicant
219for homestead exemption ceases to use the property as his or her
220homestead, or when the status of the owner changes so as to
221change the exempt status of the property. In its deliberations
222on whether to waive the annual application or statement
223requirement, the governing body shall consider the possibility
224of fraudulent exemption claims which may occur due to the waiver
225of the annual application requirement. It is the duty of The
226owner of any property granted an exemption who is not required
227to file an annual application or statement shall to notify the
228property appraiser promptly whenever the use of the property or
229the status or condition of the owner changes so as to change the
230exempt status of the property. If any property owner fails to so
231notify the property appraiser and the property appraiser
232determines that for any year within the prior 10 years the owner
233was not entitled to receive such exemption, the owner of the
234property is subject to the taxes exempted as a result of such
235failure plus 15 percent interest per annum and a penalty of 50
236percent of the taxes exempted. Except for homestead exemptions
237controlled by s. 196.161, it is the duty of the property
238appraiser making such determination shall to record in the
239public records of the county a notice of tax lien against any
240property owned by that person or entity in the county, and such
241property must be identified in the notice of tax lien. Such
242property is subject to the payment of all taxes and penalties.
243Such lien when filed shall attach to any property, identified in
244the notice of tax lien, owned by the person who illegally or
245improperly received the exemption. If Should such person no
246longer owns own property in that county, but owns own property
247in some other county or counties in the state, it shall be the
248duty of the property appraiser shall to record a notice of tax
249lien in such other county or counties, identifying the property
250owned by such person or entity in such county or counties, and
251it shall become a lien against such property in such county or
252counties.
253     (b)  The owner of any property granted an exemption under
254s. 196.26 shall notify the property appraiser promptly whenever
255the use of the property no longer complies with the restrictions
256and requirements of the conservation easement. If the property
257owner fails to so notify the property appraiser and the property
258appraiser determines that for any year within the preceding 10
259years the owner was not entitled to receive the exemption, the
260owner of the property is subject to taxes exempted as a result
261of the failure plus 18 percent interest per annum and a penalty
262of 100 percent of the taxes exempted. The provisions for tax
263liens in paragraph (a) apply to property granted an exemption
264under s. 196.26.
265     (c)(b)  A county may, at the request of the property
266appraiser and by a majority vote of its governing body, waive
267the requirement that an annual application be made for the
268veteran's disability discount granted pursuant to s. 6(g), Art.
269VII of the State Constitution after an initial application is
270made and the discount granted. It is the duty of The disabled
271veteran receiving a discount for which annual application has
272been waived shall to notify the property appraiser promptly
273whenever the use of the property or the percentage of disability
274to which the veteran is entitled changes. If a disabled veteran
275fails to notify the property appraiser and the property
276appraiser determines that for any year within the prior 10 years
277the veteran was not entitled to receive all or a portion of such
278discount, the penalties and processes in paragraph (a) relating
279to the failure to notify the property appraiser of ineligibility
280for an exemption shall apply.
281     (d)(c)  For any exemption under s. 196.101(2), the
282statement concerning gross income must be filed with the
283property appraiser not later than March 1 of every year.
284     (e)(d)  If an exemption for which the annual application is
285waived pursuant to this subsection will be denied by the
286property appraiser in the absence of the refiling of the
287application, notification of an intent to deny the exemption
288shall be mailed to the owner of the property prior to February
2891. If the property appraiser fails to timely mail such notice,
290the application deadline for such property owner pursuant to
291subsection (1) shall be extended to 28 days after the date on
292which the property appraiser mails such notice.
293     Section 6.  Paragraph (c) of subsection (2) of section
294192.0105, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
295     192.0105  Taxpayer rights.--There is created a Florida
296Taxpayer's Bill of Rights for property taxes and assessments to
297guarantee that the rights, privacy, and property of the
298taxpayers of this state are adequately safeguarded and protected
299during tax levy, assessment, collection, and enforcement
300processes administered under the revenue laws of this state. The
301Taxpayer's Bill of Rights compiles, in one document, brief but
302comprehensive statements that summarize the rights and
303obligations of the property appraisers, tax collectors, clerks
304of the court, local governing boards, the Department of Revenue,
305and taxpayers. Additional rights afforded to payors of taxes and
306assessments imposed under the revenue laws of this state are
307provided in s. 213.015. The rights afforded taxpayers to assure
308that their privacy and property are safeguarded and protected
309during tax levy, assessment, and collection are available only
310insofar as they are implemented in other parts of the Florida
311Statutes or rules of the Department of Revenue. The rights so
312guaranteed to state taxpayers in the Florida Statutes and the
313departmental rules include:
314     (2)  THE RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.--
315     (c)  The right to file a petition for exemption or
316agricultural classification with the value adjustment board when
317an application deadline is missed, upon demonstration of
318particular extenuating circumstances for filing late (see ss.
319193.461(3)(a) and 196.011(1), (7), (8), and (9)(e)(d)).
320     Section 7.  Section 218.125, Florida Statutes, is created
321to read:
322     218.125  Replacement for tax loss associated with certain
323constitutional amendments affecting fiscally constrained
324counties.--
325     (1)  Beginning in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, the
326Legislature shall appropriate moneys to replace the reductions
327in ad valorem tax revenue experienced by fiscally constrained
328counties, as defined in s. 218.67(1), with a population not
329greater than 25,000, which occur as a direct result of the
330implementation of revisions of ss. 3(f) and 4(b), Art. VII of
331the State Constitution which were approved in the general
332election held in November 2008. The moneys appropriated for this
333purpose shall be distributed in January of each fiscal year
334among the fiscally constrained counties based on each county's
335proportion of the total reduction in ad valorem tax revenue
336resulting from the implementation of the revisions.
337     (2)  On or before November 15 of each year, beginning in
3382010, each fiscally constrained county shall apply to the
339Department of Revenue to participate in the distribution of the
340appropriation and provide documentation supporting the county's
341estimated reduction in ad valorem tax revenue in the form and
342manner prescribed by the Department of Revenue. The
343documentation must include an estimate of the reduction in
344taxable value directly attributable to revisions of Art. VII of
345the State Constitution for all county taxing jurisdictions
346within the county and shall be prepared by the property
347appraiser in each fiscally constrained county. The documentation
348must also include the county millage rates applicable in all
349such jurisdictions for the current year and the prior year,
350rolled-back rates determined as provided in s. 200.065 for each
351county taxing jurisdiction, and maximum millage rates that could
352have been levied by majority vote pursuant to s. 200.185. For
353purposes of this section, each fiscally constrained county's
354reduction in ad valorem tax revenue shall be calculated as 95
355percent of the estimated reduction in taxable value times the
356lesser of the 2010 applicable millage rate or the applicable
357millage rate for each county taxing jurisdiction in the prior
358year.
359     Section 8.  The Department of Revenue may adopt emergency
360rules to administer s. 196.26, Florida Statutes, as created by
361this act. The emergency rules shall remain in effect for 6
362months after adoption and may be renewed during the pendency of
363procedures to adopt rules addressing the subject of the
364emergency rules.
365     Section 9.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law
366and shall apply to property tax assessments made on or after
367January 1, 2010.


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