On Thursday, Florida TaxWatch released “Calling for Clarity: Florida’s Confusing and Conflicting Scheme for Taxing Government Leaseholds Needs Legislative Attention.”
The report introduces the idea that Florida’s taxation of government-owned property leased by non-government entities does not align with the principles of sound tax policy – simplicity, fairness, transparency, and ease of administration. In fact, the taxpayer research institute and government watchdog, which has been a trusted resource for state leaders for over 40 years, notes that the law governing the taxation of government leaseholds has been shaped more by the courts than the Legislature and should be subject to a comprehensive review.
Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro weighed in on the report on Thursday.
“Florida’s government leasehold law is a heavily litigated issue that’s been a point of contention between taxpayers and taxing authorities for at least the last six decades, and Florida TaxWatch has been following it closely since 1992. The lack of clarity in the law places businesses, taxing authorities, and the courts in an unsettling position, where the legal interpretation of the law may not correspond with legislative intent. We are recommending a thorough review of the policy, leading to an eventual rewrite that will finally make things clear and consistent,” Calabro said.
Two ongoing court cases in Hillsborough County recently emphasized the need for this long-overdue undertaking, as the property appraiser revoked tax exemptions that had previously been approved for companies leasing property from the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority and the Tampa Port Authority.