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FL Taxpayer's Ad Valorem Property Tax Exemption Upheld!


Florida Property Appraisers notoriously can change their mind when it comes to exemptions even when those exemptions have been in place for years prior. Recently, Alachua County denied a longstanding exemption from the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, which had been previously operating under an ad valorem property tax exemption for charitable purpose. However, the Chamber of Commerce fought back successfully, winning back their exemption from the First District Court of Appeals.

Prior to 2014, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce was granted an exemption from ad valorem taxation. In 2014, when the exemption was denied, the Chamber of Commerce challenged the denial with the Value Adjustment Board. The Value Adjustment Board sustained the denial of the exemption, prompting the Chamber of Commerce to challenge the denial in circuit court. The circuit court held in favor of the taxpayer, finding that the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce did operate for a “charitable purpose” and therefore qualified for the exemption. The Alachua County property appraiser and tax collector challenged the circuit court’s findings on appeal.

Florida’s First District Court of Appeals found that the definition of “charitable purposes” in section 196.012(7), F.S. is clear and unambiguous, therefore, no statutory construction was necessary. Instead, they turned their attention to addressing whether the activities of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce qualified as “charitable purposes” within the definition provided by the statute. The court disagreed with Alachua County’s argument that the tax exemption should be limited only to “benevolent purposes.” Rather, the purpose of the chamber “to create, expand, and retain businesses in this state, to recruit businesses from around the world, and to facilitate other job-creating efforts” was deemed to fall squarely within the statute. Furthermore, the court upheld the exemption because the discontinuance of the services provided by the Chamber of Commerce could result in the allocation of public funds for those services.

If a Florida Property Tax Appraiser denies your longstanding ad valorem tax exemption, you may be able to get it back by challenging the denial in front of the Value Adjustment Board or in circuit court. A competent Florida tax attorney can help you navigate the difficulties of these challenges and answer any questions you may have regarding property tax exemptions and challenging a Florida Property Appraiser’s determination.

Florida sales tax attorney; Florida sales tax audit; Florida sales tax audit defense; Florida property tax attorneyJeanette Moffa is an attorney who concentrates on state and local taxes at Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A. She is an executive council member of the American Bar Association Tax Section State and Local Tax Committee and the Florida Bar Tax Section. Ms. Moffa is an author of both the CCH’s Expert Treatise Library: Sales and Use Tax as well the ABA’s Sales and Use Tax Deskbook. In addition, her regular columns on state and local tax issues can be found in State Tax Notes and Actionline, a publication from the Florida Bar’s Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section. She also serves as assistant editor to the Sales and Use Tax Deskbook and Actionline. Ms. Moffa is a regular speaker at the American Bar Association Tax Section conferences, the Institute of Professionals in Taxation, the Florida Bar Tax Section, the Florida Bar Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section, and the FICPA. In her free time, she teaches as an adjunct professor at Broward College.

At the Law Office of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, PA, our primary practice area is Florida taxes, with a very heavy emphasis in Florida sales and use tax. We have defended Florida businesses against the Florida Department of Revenue since 1991 and have over 100 years of cumulative sales tax experience within our firm. Our partners are both CPAs/Accountants and Attorneys, so we understand both the accounting side of the situation as well as the legal side. We represent taxpayers and business owners from the entire state of Florida. Call our offices today for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION to confidentially discuss how we can help put this nightmare behind you.


Section 196.012(7), F.S.

Crapo v. Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, No. 1D17-0452, (Fla. 1st DCA 2019).


DISNEY VICTORIOUS IN PROPERTY TAX DEBATE, published September 14, 2018, by Amanda Levine, Esq.

FL CONDO TAXES: NO TAXES ON LAND LEADSED FROM COUNTY, published April 22, 2018, by Amanda Levine, Esq. and David Brennan, Esq.

FL PROPERTY TAX APPRAISER VS MAIJUANA TREATMENT CENTERS, published October 11, 2018, by Paula Savchenko, Esq. and Amanda Levine, Esq.