July 11, 2020
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CS/HB 7215

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to property taxation; amending s.
3193.1554, F.S.; specifying an additional type of transfer
4under which no change of ownership of nonhomestead
5residential property occurs; amending s. 193.1555, F.S.;
6specifying an additional type of transfer under which no
7change of ownership of nonresidential property occurs;
8amending s. 193.1556, F.S.; providing that a recorded deed
9or other instrument serves as notice of a change of
10ownership; requiring the Department of Revenue to provide
11a form by which a property owner may notify a property
12appraiser of a change of ownership; specifying a form
13requirement; amending s. 193.461, F.S.; specifying
14application of a methodology for assessing certain
15agricultural production structures or improvements used
16for specified purposes; amending s. 196.061, F.S.;
17revising criteria for rental of a homestead as
18constituting abandonment of the homestead; providing a
19definition; amending s. 196.1995, F.S.; expanding the
20authority of the governing body of a county or
21municipality to renew economic development ad valorem tax
22exemptions for multiple 10-year periods upon approval by
23referendum for each renewal; authorizing persons to report
24to the property appraiser possible homestead exemption
25violations under certain circumstances; requiring the
26property appraiser to pay a specified reward to the
27reporting individual after recovering back taxes or
28penalties; providing a limitation; requiring funds for
29such reward to be taken from a specified source; limiting
30payment of a reward for each verified violation; requiring
31that the Department of Revenue create a form for reporting
32such violations and provide such form by specified means;
33requiring that each submitted form contain certain
34information; providing duties of the property appraiser;
35creating s. 193.1553, F.S.; providing a definition;
36requiring property appraisers to consider the existence of
37a cancer cluster in determining the assessed value of
38property; requiring the property appraiser to consider
39certain information in making such determinations;
40providing for future review and repeal; providing
41effective dates.
43Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
45     Section 1.  Subsection (5) of section 193.1554, Florida
46Statutes, is amended to read:
47     193.1554  Assessment of nonhomestead residential property.-
48     (5)  Except as provided in this subsection, property
49assessed under this section shall be assessed at just value as
50of January 1 of the year following a change of ownership or
51control. Thereafter, the annual changes in the assessed value of
52the property are subject to the limitations in subsections (3)
53and (4). For purpose of this section, a change of ownership or
54control means any sale, foreclosure, transfer of legal title or
55beneficial title in equity to any person, or the cumulative
56transfer of control or of more than 50 percent of the ownership
57of the legal entity that owned the property when it was most
58recently assessed at just value, except as provided in this
59subsection. There is no change of ownership if:
60     (a)  The transfer of title is to correct an error;
61     (b)  The transfer is between legal and equitable title; or
62     (c)  The transfer is between husband and wife, including a
63transfer to a surviving spouse or a transfer due to a
64dissolution of marriage; or
65     (d)  For a publicly traded company, the cumulative transfer
66of more than 50 percent of the ownership of the entity occurs
67through the buying and selling of shares of the company on a
68public exchange. This exception does not include a transfer made
69through a merger with or an acquisition by another company,
70including, but not limited to, acquisition by acquiring
71outstanding shares of the company.
72     Section 2.  Subsection (5) of section 193.1555, Florida
73Statutes, is amended to read:
74     193.1555  Assessment of certain residential and
75nonresidential real property.-
76     (5)  Except as provided in this subsection, property
77assessed under this section shall be assessed at just value as
78of January 1 of the year following a qualifying improvement or
79change of ownership or control. Thereafter, the annual changes
80in the assessed value of the property are subject to the
81limitations in subsections (3) and (4). For purpose of this
83     (a)  A qualifying improvement means any substantially
84completed improvement that increases the just value of the
85property by at least 25 percent.
86     (b)  A change of ownership or control means any sale,
87foreclosure, transfer of legal title or beneficial title in
88equity to any person, or the cumulative transfer of control or
89of more than 50 percent of the ownership of the legal entity
90that owned the property when it was most recently assessed at
91just value, except as provided in this subsection. There is no
92change of ownership if:
93     1.  The transfer of title is to correct an error; or
94     2.  The transfer is between legal and equitable title; or
95     3.  For a publicly traded company, the cumulative transfer
96of more than 50 percent of the ownership of the entity occurs
97through the buying and selling of shares of the company on a
98public exchange. This exception does not include a transfer made
99through a merger with or an acquisition by another company,
100including, but not limited to, acquisition by acquiring
101outstanding shares of the company.
102     Section 3.  Section 193.1556, Florida Statutes, is amended
103to read:
104     193.1556  Notice of change of ownership or control
106     (1)  Any person or entity that owns property assessed under
107s. 193.1554 or s. 193.1555 must notify the property appraiser
108promptly of any change of ownership or control as defined in ss.
109193.1554(5) and 193.1555(5). If the change of ownership is
110recorded by a deed or other instrument in the public records of
111the county where the property is located, the recorded deed or
112other instrument shall serve as notice to the property
113appraiser. If any property owner fails to so notify the property
114appraiser and the property appraiser determines that for any
115year within the prior 10 years the owner's property was not
116entitled to assessment under s. 193.1554 or s. 193.1555, the
117owner of the property is subject to the taxes avoided as a
118result of such failure plus 15 percent interest per annum and a
119penalty of 50 percent of the taxes avoided. It is the duty of
120the property appraiser making such determination to record in
121the public records of the county a notice of tax lien against
122any property owned by that person or entity in the county, and
123such property must be identified in the notice of tax lien. Such
124property is subject to the payment of all taxes and penalties.
125Such lien when filed shall attach to any property, identified in
126the notice of tax lien, owned by the person or entity that
127illegally or improperly was assessed under s. 193.1554 or s.
128193.1555. If such person or entity no longer owns property in
129that county, but owns property in some other county or counties
130in the state, it shall be the duty of the property appraiser to
131record a notice of tax lien in such other county or counties,
132identifying the property owned by such person or entity in such
133county or counties, and it becomes a lien against such property
134in such county or counties.
135     (2)  The Department of Revenue shall provide a form by
136which a property owner may provide notice to all property
137appraisers of a change in ownership or control. The form must
138allow the property owner to list all property that he or she
139owns or controls in this state for which a change of ownership
140or control as defined in s. 193.1554(5) or s. 193.1555(5) has
141occurred but has not been noticed previously to property
142appraisers. Providing notice on such form constitutes compliance
143with the notification requirements of this section.
144     Section 4.  Paragraph (c) of subsection (6) of section
145193.461, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
146     193.461  Agricultural lands; classification and assessment;
147mandated eradication or quarantine program.-
148     (6)
149     (c)1.  For purposes of the income methodology approach to
150assessment of property used for agricultural purposes,
151irrigation systems, including pumps and motors, physically
152attached to the land shall be considered a part of the average
153yields per acre and shall have no separately assessable
154contributory value.
155     2.  Litter containment structures located on producing
156poultry farms and animal waste nutrient containment structures
157located on producing dairy farms shall be assessed by the
158methodology described in subparagraph 1.
159     3.  Structures or improvements used for horticulture
160production that are used for the purpose of frost and freeze
161protection consistent with the Department of Agriculture and
162Consumer Services' interim measures or best management practices
163adopted pursuant to s. 570.085 or s. 403.067(7)(c), shall be
164assessed by the methodology described in subparagraph 1.
165     Section 5.  Section 196.061, Florida Statutes, is amended
166to read:
167     196.061  Rental of homestead to constitute abandonment.-The
168rental of all or substantially all of a an entire dwelling
169previously claimed to be a homestead for tax purposes shall
170constitute the abandonment of the said dwelling as a homestead,
171and such said abandonment shall continue until such dwelling is
172physically occupied by the owner thereof. However, such
173abandonment of such homestead after January 1 of any year shall
174not affect the homestead exemption for tax purposes for that
175particular year so long as this provision is not used for 2
176consecutive years. The provisions of this section shall not
177apply to a member of the Armed Forces of the United States whose
178service in such forces is the result of a mandatory obligation
179imposed by the federal Selective Service Act or who volunteers
180for service as a member of the Armed Forces of the United
181States. As used in this section, the term "rental" means any
182rental, lease, license, or other similar agreement by which the
183owner is compensated for use of the dwelling by tenants or
185     Section 6.  Subsection (7) of section 196.1995, Florida
186Statutes, is amended to read:
187     196.1995  Economic development ad valorem tax exemption.-
188     (7)  The authority to grant exemptions under this section
189expires will expire 10 years after the date such authority was
190approved in an election, but such authority may be renewed for
191subsequent another 10-year periods if each 10-year renewal is
192approved period in a referendum called and held pursuant to this
194     Section 7.  Whistleblower reward for reporting illegal or
195improper homestead exemptions.-
196     (1)  A person may report to the property appraiser's office
197a possible homestead exemption violation if he or she believes a
198homestead exemption, as described in s. 196.031, Florida
199Statutes, has been granted to a person who is not entitled to
200such exemption. If the property appraiser verifies that a
201homestead exemption was illegally or improperly obtained, the
202tax collector, after collecting any back taxes and resulting
203penalties, shall pay the person who reported the violation a
204reward of 25 percent of the penalties collected, not to exceed
205$500. Such reward shall be paid from the penalties recovered by
206the tax collector in connection with the reported violation.
207     (2)  A tax collector may pay a reward to only one person
208for reporting each verified homestead exemption violation. If
209more than one person reports a violation pertaining to the same
210property, the person who first reported the violation via the
211appropriate reporting method shall receive the reward.
212     (3)  The Department of Revenue shall create a form for
213reporting suspected homestead exemption violations. The form
214shall be available on the department's website, and each
215property appraiser shall provide printed forms upon request.
216Each submitted form must include the name and address of the
217person reporting the suspected violation, the address of the
218property the owner of which is suspected of illegally or
219improperly receiving a homestead exemption, and the basis for
220suspecting that a homestead exemption violation has occurred.
221The property appraiser shall stamp each submitted form with the
222date and time of the day of the submittal immediately upon
224     Section 8.  Effective upon this act becoming a law, section
225193.1553, Florida Statutes, is created to read:
226     193.1553  Assessment of properties located in an area where
227a cancer cluster is present.-
228     (1)  As used in this section, the term "cancer cluster"
229means a higher than expected number of cases of a particular
230type of cancer occurring in a local community over a defined
231period of time.
232     (2)  When the existence of a cancer cluster has been
233confirmed by the Department of Health or the Centers for Disease
234Control and Prevention of the United Stated Department of Health
235and Human Services, the property appraiser shall take into
236consideration the presence of the cancer cluster when
237determining the assessed value of property located within the
238area where the cancer cluster exists. The property appraiser
239shall consider the latest available information regarding the
240effect of the cancer cluster on assessed values, including sales
241occurring after January 1, prior to determining the assessed
242value of the affected properties.
243     (3)  This section expires July 1, 2017, unless reviewed and
244reenacted by the Legislature on or before that date.
245     Section 9.  Except as otherwise expressly provided in this
246act and except for this section which shall take effect upon
247this act becoming a law, this act shall take effect July 1,

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