April 03, 2020
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HB 7157

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;
6exempting certain real property encumbered by a
7conservation easement purchased by the federal or state
8government or by a local government; providing
9circumstances under which land consisting of less than 40
10acres qualifies for such exemption; providing for the
11assessment of buildings and structures on exempted lands;
12requiring best management practices to be used for certain
13agricultural lands; providing for third-party conservation
14easement enforcement rights to affected governments;
15creating the Board of Conservation for certain purposes;
16providing for appointment of members; amending s. 193.501,
17F.S.; revising a cross-reference; amending s. 704.06,
18F.S.; requiring owners of property encumbered by a
19conservation easement to comply with marketable record
20title requirements to preserve the easement in perpetuity;
21amending s. 195.073, F.S.; specifying an additional real
22property assessment classification; amending s. 196.011,
23F.S.; providing requirements and procedures for renewal
24applications for exemptions for real property dedicated in
25perpetuity for conservation purposes; requiring owners of
26such property to notify the property appraiser when use of
27the property no longer qualifies for the exemption;
28providing penalties for failure to notify; providing for
29application of certain lien provisions; amending s.
30192.0105, F.S.; conforming a cross-reference; creating s.
31218.125, F.S.; requiring the Legislature to appropriate
32moneys to replace the reductions in ad valorem tax revenue
33experienced by fiscally constrained counties with a
34population not exceeding 25,000; requiring each fiscally
35constrained county to apply to the Department of Revenue
36to participate in the distribution of the appropriation;
37specifying the documentation that must be provided to the
38department; providing a formula for calculating the
39reduction in ad valorem tax revenue; authorizing the
40department to adopt emergency rules effective for a
41specified period; providing for renewal of such rules;
42providing applicability; providing an effective date.
44Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
46     Section 1.  Section 196.26, Florida Statutes, is created to
48     196.26  Exemption for real property dedicated in perpetuity
49for conservation purposes.--
50     (1)  As used in this section:
51     (a)  "Allowed commercial uses" means commercial uses that
52are allowed by the conservation easement encumbering the land
53exempt from taxation under this section.
54     (b)  "Conservation easement" means the property right
55described in s. 704.06.
56     (c)  "Conservation purposes" means:
57     1.  Retention of the substantial natural value of land,
58including woodlands, wetlands, water courses, ponds, streams,
59and natural open spaces;
60     2.  Retention of such lands as suitable habitat for fish,
61plants, or wildlife; or
62     3.  Retention of such lands' natural value for water
63quality enhancement or water recharge.
64     (d)  "Dedicated in perpetuity" means that the land is
65encumbered by an irrevocable, perpetual conservation easement.
66     (2)  Land that is dedicated in perpetuity for conservation
67purposes and that is used exclusively for conservation purposes
68is exempt from ad valorem taxation.
69     (3)(a)  Land that is dedicated in perpetuity for
70conservation purposes and that is used for allowed commercial
71uses is exempt from ad valorem taxation to the extent of 50  
72percent of the assessed value of the land.
73     (b)  Real property that is encumbered by a conservation
74easement purchased by the federal or state government or by a
75local government before May 1, 2009, is exempt from ad valorem
77     (4)  Land that comprises less than 40 contiguous acres does
78not qualify for the exemption provided in this section unless,
79in addition to meeting the other requirements of this section,
80the use of the land for conservation purposes is determined by
81the Board of Conservation to fulfill a clearly delineated state
82conservation policy and yield a significant public benefit. The
83determination of whether a significant public benefit exists
84must include consideration of the fiscal impact the exemption
85provided in this section will have on affected governments and
86other taxpayers.
87     (5)  Buildings, structures, and other improvements situated
88on land receiving the exemption provided in this section and the
89land area immediately surrounding the buildings, structures, and
90improvements must be assessed separately pursuant to chapter
92     (6)  Land that qualifies for the exemption provided in this
93section the allowed commercial uses of which include agriculture
94must comply with the most recent best management practices if
95adopted by rule of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer
97     (7)  As provided in s. 704.06(8) and (9), county or
98municipal governments with jurisdiction over lands receiving the
99exemption provided in this section have a third-party right of
100enforcement to enforce the terms of the applicable conservation
102     (8)  The Board of Conservation is created to make the
103determinations required by subsection (4). The board shall
104consist of nine members appointed as follows:
105     (a)  The Governor shall appoint one member representing a
106rural-county government, one member representing a medium-county
107government, one member representing a large-county government,
108and two members each representing a nationally recognized
109organization the purposes of which include the preservation of
110conservation lands to serve on the board.
111     (b)  The agency heads of the Department of Agriculture, the
112Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of
113Community Affairs, and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation
114Commission shall each appoint one employee to serve on the
116     Section 2.  Subsection (1) of section 193.501, Florida
117Statutes, is amended to read:
118     193.501  Assessment of lands subject to a conservation
119easement, environmentally endangered lands, or lands used for
120outdoor recreational or park purposes when land development
121rights have been conveyed or conservation restrictions have been
123     (1)  The owner or owners in fee of any land subject to a
124conservation easement as described in s. 704.06(1); land
125qualified as environmentally endangered pursuant to paragraph
126(6)(i) and so designated by formal resolution of the governing
127board of the municipality or county within which such land is
128located; land designated as conservation land in a comprehensive
129plan adopted by the appropriate municipal or county governing
130body; or any land which is utilized for outdoor recreational or
131park purposes may, by appropriate instrument, for a term of not
132less than 10 years:
133     (a)  Convey the development right of such land to the
134governing board of any public agency in this state within which
135the land is located, or to the Board of Trustees of the Internal
136Improvement Trust Fund, or to a charitable corporation or trust
137as described in s. 704.06(3); or
138     (b)  Covenant with the governing board of any public agency
139in this state within which the land is located, or with the
140Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, or
141with a charitable corporation or trust as described in s.
142704.06(3), that such land be subject to one or more of the
143conservation restrictions provided in s. 704.06(1) or not be
144used by the owner for any purpose other than outdoor
145recreational or park purposes. If land is covenanted and used
146for an outdoor recreational purpose, the normal use and
147maintenance of the land for that purpose, consistent with the
148covenant, shall not be restricted.
149     Section 3.  Subsection (12) is added to section 704.06,
150Florida Statutes, to read:
151     704.06  Conservation easements; creation; acquisition;
153     (12)  An owner of property encumbered by a conservation
154easement must abide by the requirements of chapter 712 or any
155other similar law or rule to preserve the conservation easement
156in perpetuity.
157     Section 4.  Subsection (1) of section 195.073, Florida
158Statutes, is amended to read:
159     195.073  Classification of property.--All items required by
160law to be on the assessment rolls must receive a classification
161based upon the use of the property. The department shall
162promulgate uniform definitions for all classifications. The
163department may designate other subclassifications of property.
164No assessment roll may be approved by the department which does
165not show proper classifications.
166     (1)  Real property must be classified according to the
167assessment basis of the land into the following classes:
168     (a)  Residential, subclassified into categories, one
169category for homestead property and one for nonhomestead
171     1.  Single family.
172     2.  Mobile homes.
173     3.  Multifamily.
174     4.  Condominiums.
175     5.  Cooperatives.
176     6.  Retirement homes.
177     (b)  Commercial and industrial.
178     (c)  Agricultural.
179     (d)  Nonagricultural acreage.
180     (e)  High-water recharge.
181     (f)  Historic property used for commercial or certain
182nonprofit purposes.
183     (g)  Exempt, wholly or partially.
184     (h)  Centrally assessed.
185     (i)  Leasehold interests.
186     (j)  Time-share property.
187     (k)  Land assessed under s. 193.501.
188     (l)(k)  Other.
189     Section 5.  Subsections (6) and (9) of section 196.011,
190Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
191     196.011  Annual application required for exemption.--
192     (6)(a)  Once an original application for tax exemption has
193been granted, in each succeeding year on or before February 1,
194the property appraiser shall mail a renewal application to the
195applicant, and the property appraiser shall accept from each
196such applicant a renewal application on a form to be prescribed
197by the Department of Revenue. Such renewal application shall be
198accepted as evidence of exemption by the property appraiser
199unless he or she denies the application. Upon denial, the
200property appraiser shall serve, on or before July 1 of each
201year, a notice setting forth the grounds for denial on the
202applicant by first-class mail. Any applicant objecting to such
203denial may file a petition as provided for in s. 194.011(3).
204     (b)  Once an original application for tax exemption has
205been granted under s. 196.26, in each succeeding year on or
206before February 1, the property appraiser shall mail a renewal
207application to the applicant on a form prescribed by the
208Department of Revenue. The applicant must certify on the form
209that the use of the property complies with the restrictions and
210requirements of the conservation easement. The form shall
211include a statement that the exemption granted under s. 196.26
212will not be renewed unless the application is returned to the
213property appraiser.
214     (9)(a)  A county may, at the request of the property
215appraiser and by a majority vote of its governing body, waive
216the requirement that an annual application or statement be made
217for exemption of property within the county after an initial
218application is made and the exemption granted. The waiver under
219this subsection of the annual application or statement
220requirement applies to all exemptions under this chapter except
221the exemption under s. 196.1995. Notwithstanding such waiver,
222refiling of an application or statement shall be required when
223any property granted an exemption is sold or otherwise disposed
224of, when the ownership changes in any manner, when the applicant
225for homestead exemption ceases to use the property as his or her
226homestead, or when the status of the owner changes so as to
227change the exempt status of the property. In its deliberations
228on whether to waive the annual application or statement
229requirement, the governing body shall consider the possibility
230of fraudulent exemption claims which may occur due to the waiver
231of the annual application requirement. It is the duty of The
232owner of any property granted an exemption who is not required
233to file an annual application or statement shall to notify the
234property appraiser promptly whenever the use of the property or
235the status or condition of the owner changes so as to change the
236exempt status of the property. If any property owner fails to so
237notify the property appraiser and the property appraiser
238determines that for any year within the prior 10 years the owner
239was not entitled to receive such exemption, the owner of the
240property is subject to the taxes exempted as a result of such
241failure plus 15 percent interest per annum and a penalty of 50
242percent of the taxes exempted. Except for homestead exemptions
243controlled by s. 196.161, it is the duty of the property
244appraiser making such determination shall to record in the
245public records of the county a notice of tax lien against any
246property owned by that person or entity in the county, and such
247property must be identified in the notice of tax lien. Such
248property is subject to the payment of all taxes and penalties.
249Such lien when filed shall attach to any property, identified in
250the notice of tax lien, owned by the person who illegally or
251improperly received the exemption. If Should such person no
252longer owns own property in that county, but owns own property
253in some other county or counties in the state, it shall be the
254duty of the property appraiser shall to record a notice of tax
255lien in such other county or counties, identifying the property
256owned by such person or entity in such county or counties, and
257it shall become a lien against such property in such county or
259     (b)  The owner of any property granted an exemption under
260s. 196.26 shall notify the property appraiser promptly whenever
261the use of the property no longer complies with the restrictions
262and requirements of the conservation easement. If the property
263owner fails to so notify the property appraiser and the property
264appraiser determines that for any year within the preceding 10
265years the owner was not entitled to receive the exemption, the
266owner of the property is subject to taxes exempted as a result
267of the failure plus 18 percent interest per annum and a penalty
268of 100 percent of the taxes exempted. The provisions for tax
269liens in paragraph (a) apply to property granted an exemption
270under s. 196.26.
271     (c)(b)  A county may, at the request of the property
272appraiser and by a majority vote of its governing body, waive
273the requirement that an annual application be made for the
274veteran's disability discount granted pursuant to s. 6(g), Art.
275VII of the State Constitution after an initial application is
276made and the discount granted. It is the duty of The disabled
277veteran receiving a discount for which annual application has
278been waived shall to notify the property appraiser promptly
279whenever the use of the property or the percentage of disability
280to which the veteran is entitled changes. If a disabled veteran
281fails to notify the property appraiser and the property
282appraiser determines that for any year within the prior 10 years
283the veteran was not entitled to receive all or a portion of such
284discount, the penalties and processes in paragraph (a) relating
285to the failure to notify the property appraiser of ineligibility
286for an exemption shall apply.
287     (d)(c)  For any exemption under s. 196.101(2), the
288statement concerning gross income must be filed with the
289property appraiser not later than March 1 of every year.
290     (e)(d)  If an exemption for which the annual application is
291waived pursuant to this subsection will be denied by the
292property appraiser in the absence of the refiling of the
293application, notification of an intent to deny the exemption
294shall be mailed to the owner of the property prior to February
2951. If the property appraiser fails to timely mail such notice,
296the application deadline for such property owner pursuant to
297subsection (1) shall be extended to 28 days after the date on
298which the property appraiser mails such notice.
299     Section 6.  Paragraph (c) of subsection (2) of section
300192.0105, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
301     192.0105  Taxpayer rights.--There is created a Florida
302Taxpayer's Bill of Rights for property taxes and assessments to
303guarantee that the rights, privacy, and property of the
304taxpayers of this state are adequately safeguarded and protected
305during tax levy, assessment, collection, and enforcement
306processes administered under the revenue laws of this state. The
307Taxpayer's Bill of Rights compiles, in one document, brief but
308comprehensive statements that summarize the rights and
309obligations of the property appraisers, tax collectors, clerks
310of the court, local governing boards, the Department of Revenue,
311and taxpayers. Additional rights afforded to payors of taxes and
312assessments imposed under the revenue laws of this state are
313provided in s. 213.015. The rights afforded taxpayers to assure
314that their privacy and property are safeguarded and protected
315during tax levy, assessment, and collection are available only
316insofar as they are implemented in other parts of the Florida
317Statutes or rules of the Department of Revenue. The rights so
318guaranteed to state taxpayers in the Florida Statutes and the
319departmental rules include:
320     (2)  THE RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.--
321     (c)  The right to file a petition for exemption or
322agricultural classification with the value adjustment board when
323an application deadline is missed, upon demonstration of
324particular extenuating circumstances for filing late (see ss.
325193.461(3)(a) and 196.011(1), (7), (8), and (9)(e)(d)).
326     Section 7.  Section 218.125, Florida Statutes, is created
327to read:
328     218.125  Replacement for tax loss associated with certain
329constitutional amendments affecting fiscally constrained
331     (1)  Beginning in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, the
332Legislature shall appropriate moneys to replace the reductions
333in ad valorem tax revenue experienced by fiscally constrained
334counties, as defined in s. 218.67(1), with a population not
335greater than 25,000, which occur as a direct result of the
336implementation of revisions of ss. 3(f) and 4(b), Art. VII of
337the State Constitution which were approved in the general
338election held in November 2008. The moneys appropriated for this
339purpose shall be distributed in January of each fiscal year
340among the fiscally constrained counties based on each county's
341proportion of the total reduction in ad valorem tax revenue
342resulting from the implementation of the revisions.
343     (2)  On or before November 15 of each year, beginning in
3442010, each fiscally constrained county shall apply to the
345Department of Revenue to participate in the distribution of the
346appropriation and provide documentation supporting the county's
347estimated reduction in ad valorem tax revenue in the form and
348manner prescribed by the Department of Revenue. The
349documentation must include an estimate of the reduction in
350taxable value directly attributable to revisions of Art. VII of
351the State Constitution for all county taxing jurisdictions
352within the county and shall be prepared by the property
353appraiser in each fiscally constrained county. The documentation
354must also include the county millage rates applicable in all
355such jurisdictions for the current year and the prior year,
356rolled-back rates determined as provided in s. 200.065 for each
357county taxing jurisdiction, and maximum millage rates that could
358have been levied by majority vote pursuant to s. 200.185. For
359purposes of this section, each fiscally constrained county's
360reduction in ad valorem tax revenue shall be calculated as 95
361percent of the estimated reduction in taxable value times the
362lesser of the 2010 applicable millage rate or the applicable
363millage rate for each county taxing jurisdiction in the prior
365     Section 8.  The Department of Revenue may adopt emergency
366rules to administer s. 196.26, Florida Statutes, as created by
367this act. The emergency rules shall remain in effect for 6
368months after adoption and may be renewed during the pendency of
369procedures to adopt rules addressing the subject of the
370emergency rules.
371     Section 9.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law
372and shall apply to property tax assessments made on or after
373January 1, 2010.

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