Economic Development Exemption
Ad Valorem property tax exemptions can be granted to new and expanding businesses only after the voters of a city and/or county vote in a referendum to allow that city or county to grant exemptions . Section 196.1995, Florida Statutes, requires that a referendum be held if: (1) The Board of County Commissioners or governing authority of a municipality (city or county commission) votes to hold such a referendum, or (2) if the county or city commission receives a petition signed by ten percent of the registered voters of the county or city. This referendum question can then be placed before the voters of a city or county at any regular election or special election called for voting on the tax incentive referendum or for any other purpose.
If the voters authorize exemptions, a company must first meet the definitions of a new or expanding business as stated in s. 196.012 (14) and (15), F.S.
If a business meets one of the above definitions as a new or expanding business, it must then file this application with the county or city commission or both.
After the city or county commission receives this application (Form DR-418) , it must submit the application to the county Property Appraiser for review. After the Property Appraiser makes the report as to the fiscal impact of granting the exemption, the county or city commission shall then adopt an ordinance in the usual manner granting the exemption, if it chooses to do so.
A business cannot receive exemption from school taxes or water management district taxes. Also a business must pay taxes that were voted by the voters of a city or county to pay for bond issues and other special tax levies authorized by the voters of a city or county.
The exemption can only be for the improvements to the real property and for tangible personal property. The land on which the new or expanding business is to be located will still be taxed and taxes must be paid on it.
The action taken by a city or county commission can only exempt the taxes paid to that governmental body. A city can only exempt its taxes; a county can only exempt its taxes. All other taxes must be paid.