196.011 Annual application required for exemption.—
(1)(a) Every person or organization who, on January 1, has the legal title to real or personal property, except inventory, which is entitled by law to exemption from taxation as a result of its ownership and use shall, on or before March 1 of each year, file an application for exemption with the county property appraiser, listing and describing the property for which exemption is claimed and certifying its ownership and use. The Department of Revenue shall prescribe the forms upon which the application is made. Failure to make application, when required, on or before March 1 of any year shall constitute a waiver of the exemption privilege for that year, except as provided in subsection (7) or subsection (8).
1(b) The form to apply for an exemption under s. 196.031, s. 196.081, s. 196.091, s. 196.101, s. 196.173, or s. 196.202 must include a space for the applicant to list the social security number of the applicant and of the applicant’s spouse, if any. If an applicant files a timely and otherwise complete application, and omits the required social security numbers, the application is incomplete. In that event, the property appraiser shall contact the applicant, who may refile a complete application by April 1. Failure to file a complete application by that date constitutes a waiver of the exemption privilege for that year, except as provided in subsection (7) or subsection (8).
(2) However, application for exemption will not be required on public roads rights-of-way and borrow pits owned, leased, or held for exclusive governmental use and benefit or on property owned and used exclusively by a municipality for municipal or public purposes in order for such property to be released from all ad valorem taxation.
(3) It shall not be necessary to make annual application for exemption on houses of public worship, the lots on which they are located, personal property located therein or thereon, parsonages, burial grounds and tombs owned by houses of public worship, individually owned burial rights not held for speculation, or other such property not rented or hired out for other than religious or educational purposes at any time; household goods and personal effects of permanent residents of this state; and property of the state or any county, any municipality, any school district, or community college district thereof.
(4) When any property has been determined to be fully exempt from taxation because of its exclusive use for religious, literary, scientific, or charitable purposes and the application for its exemption has met the criteria of s. 196.195, the property appraiser may accept, in lieu of the annual application for exemption, a statement certified under oath that there has been no change in the ownership and use of the property.
(5) The owner of property that received an exemption in the prior year, or a property owner who filed an original application that was denied in the prior year solely for not being timely filed, may reapply on a short form as provided by the department. The short form shall require the applicant to affirm that the use of the property and his or her status as a permanent resident have not changed since the initial application.
(6)(a) Once an original application for tax exemption has been granted, in each succeeding year on or before February 1, the property appraiser shall mail a renewal application to the applicant, and the property appraiser shall accept from each such applicant a renewal application on a form prescribed by the Department of Revenue. Such renewal application shall be accepted as evidence of exemption by the property appraiser unless he or she denies the application. Upon denial, the property appraiser shall serve, on or before July 1 of each year, a notice setting forth the grounds for denial on the applicant by first-class mail. Any applicant objecting to such denial may file a petition as provided for in s. 194.011(3).
(b) Once an original application for tax exemption has been granted under s. 196.26, the property owner is not required to file a renewal application until the use of the property no longer complies with the restrictions and requirements of the conservation easement.
(7) The value adjustment board shall grant any exemption for an otherwise eligible applicant if the applicant can clearly document that failure to apply by March 1 was the result of postal error.
(8) Any applicant who is qualified to receive any exemption under subsection (1) and who fails to file an application by March 1, must file an application for the exemption with the property appraiser on or before the 25th day following the mailing by the property appraiser of the notices required under s. 194.011(1). Upon receipt of sufficient evidence, as determined by the property appraiser, demonstrating the applicant was unable to apply for the exemption in a timely manner or otherwise demonstrating extenuating circumstances judged by the property appraiser to warrant granting the exemption, the property appraiser may grant the exemption. If the applicant fails to produce sufficient evidence demonstrating the applicant was unable to apply for the exemption in a timely manner or otherwise demonstrating extenuating circumstances as judged by the property appraiser, the applicant may file, pursuant to s. 194.011(3), a petition with the value adjustment board requesting that the exemption be granted. Such petition must be filed during the taxable year on or before the 25th day following the mailing of the notice by the property appraiser as provided in s. 194.011(1). Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 194.013, such person must pay a nonrefundable fee of $15 upon filing the petition. Upon reviewing the petition, if the person is qualified to receive the exemption and demonstrates particular extenuating circumstances judged by the value adjustment board to warrant granting the exemption, the value adjustment board may grant the exemption for the current year.
(9)(a) A county may, at the request of the property appraiser and by a majority vote of its governing body, waive the requirement that an annual application or statement be made for exemption of property within the county after an initial application is made and the exemption granted. The waiver under this subsection of the annual application or statement requirement applies to all exemptions under this chapter except the exemption under s. 196.1995. Notwithstanding such waiver, refiling of an application or statement shall be required when any property granted an exemption is sold or otherwise disposed of, when the ownership changes in any manner, when the applicant for homestead exemption ceases to use the property as his or her homestead, or when the status of the owner changes so as to change the exempt status of the property. In its deliberations on whether to waive the annual application or statement requirement, the governing body shall consider the possibility of fraudulent exemption claims which may occur due to the waiver of the annual application requirement. The owner of any property granted an exemption who is not required to file an annual application or statement shall notify the property appraiser promptly whenever the use of the property or the status or condition of the owner changes so as to change the exempt status of the property. If any property owner fails to so notify the property appraiser and the property appraiser determines that for any year within the prior 10 years the owner was not entitled to receive such exemption, the owner of the property is subject to the taxes exempted as a result of such failure plus 15 percent interest per annum and a penalty of 50 percent of the taxes exempted. Except for homestead exemptions controlled by s. 196.161, the property appraiser making such determination shall record in the public records of the county a notice of tax lien against any property owned by that person or entity in the county, and such property must be identified in the notice of tax lien. Such property is subject to the payment of all taxes and penalties. Such lien when filed shall attach to any property, identified in the notice of tax lien, owned by the person who illegally or improperly received the exemption. If such person no longer owns property in that county but owns property in some other county or counties in the state, the property appraiser shall record a notice of tax lien in such other county or counties, identifying the property owned by such person or entity in such county or counties, and it shall become a lien against such property in such county or counties.
(b) The owner of any property granted an exemption under s. 196.26 shall notify the property appraiser promptly whenever the use of the property no longer complies with the restrictions and requirements of the conservation easement. If the property owner fails to so notify the property appraiser and the property appraiser determines that for any year within the preceding 10 years the owner was not entitled to receive the exemption, the owner of the property is subject to taxes exempted as a result of the failure plus 18 percent interest per annum and a penalty of 100 percent of the taxes exempted. The provisions for tax liens in paragraph (a) apply to property granted an exemption under s. 196.26.
(c) A county may, at the request of the property appraiser and by a majority vote of its governing body, waive the requirement that an annual application be made for the veteran’s disability discount granted pursuant to s. 6(e), Art. VII of the State Constitution after an initial application is made and the discount granted. The disabled veteran receiving a discount for which annual application has been waived shall notify the property appraiser promptly whenever the use of the property or the percentage of disability to which the veteran is entitled changes. If a disabled veteran fails to notify the property appraiser and the property appraiser determines that for any year within the prior 10 years the veteran was not entitled to receive all or a portion of such discount, the penalties and processes in paragraph (a) relating to the failure to notify the property appraiser of ineligibility for an exemption shall apply.
(d) For any exemption under s. 196.101(2), the statement concerning gross income must be filed with the property appraiser not later than March 1 of every year.
(e) If an exemption for which the annual application is waived pursuant to this subsection will be denied by the property appraiser in the absence of the refiling of the application, notification of an intent to deny the exemption shall be mailed to the owner of the property prior to February 1. If the property appraiser fails to timely mail such notice, the application deadline for such property owner pursuant to subsection (1) shall be extended to 28 days after the date on which the property appraiser mails such notice.
(10) At the option of the property appraiser and notwithstanding any other provision of this section, initial or original applications for homestead exemption for the succeeding year may be accepted and granted after March 1. Reapplication on a short form as authorized by subsection (5) shall be required if the county has not waived the requirement of an annual application. Once the initial or original application and reapplication have been granted, the property may qualify for the exemption in each succeeding year pursuant to the provisions of subsection (6) or subsection (9).
(11) For exemptions enumerated in paragraph (1)(b), granted for the 2001 tax year and thereafter, social security numbers of the applicant and the applicant’s spouse, if any, are required and must be submitted to the department. Applications filed pursuant to subsection (5) or subsection (6) may be required to include social security numbers of the applicant and the applicant’s spouse, if any, and shall include such information if filed for the 2001 tax year or thereafter. For counties where the annual application requirement has been waived, property appraisers may require refiling of an application to obtain such information.
(12) Notwithstanding subsection (1), if the owner of property otherwise entitled to a religious exemption from ad valorem taxation fails to timely file an application for exemption, and because of a misidentification of property ownership on the property tax roll the owner is not properly notified of the tax obligation by the property appraiser and the tax collector, the owner of the property may file an application for exemption with the property appraiser. The property appraiser must consider the application, and if he or she determines the owner of the property would have been entitled to the exemption had the property owner timely applied, the property appraiser must grant the exemption. Any taxes assessed on such property shall be canceled, and if paid, refunded. Any tax certificates outstanding on such property shall be canceled and refund made pursuant to s. 197.432(11).
History.—s. 1, ch. 63-342; ss. 1, 2, ch. 69-55; ss. 21, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 4, ch. 71-133; s. 1, ch. 72-276; s. 2, ch. 72-290; s. 2, ch. 72-367; s. 1, ch. 74-2; s. 14, ch. 74-234; s. 3, ch. 74-264; s. 7, ch. 76-234; s. 1, ch. 77-102; s. 34, ch. 79-164; s. 17, ch. 79-334; s. 2, ch. 80-274; s. 1, ch. 81-219; s. 7, ch. 81-308; s. 13, ch. 82-226; s. 25, ch. 83-204; s. 8, ch. 85-202; s. 1, ch. 85-315; s. 1, ch. 88-65; s. 3, ch. 88-101; s. 59, ch. 89-356; s. 1, ch. 89-365; s. 3, ch. 90-343; s. 155, ch. 91-112; s. 4, ch. 92-32; ss. 22, 45, ch. 94-353; s. 1471, ch. 95-147; s. 1, ch. 98-289; s. 6, ch. 2000-157; s. 1, ch. 2000-262; s. 4, ch. 2000-335; s. 2, ch. 2007-36; s. 2, ch. 2009-135; s. 5, ch. 2009-157; s. 25, ch. 2010-5; s. 3, ch. 2011-93; s. 56, ch. 2011-151; s. 3, ch. 2015-115; s. 1, ch. 2016-110.
1Note.—Section 4, ch. 2011-93, provides that “[t]he Department of Revenue is authorized, and all conditions are deemed met, to adopt emergency rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54, Florida Statutes, to administer the provisions of this act. The emergency rules shall remain in effect for 6 months after the rules are adopted and the rules may be renewed during the pendency of procedures to adopt permanent rules addressing the subject of the emergency rules.”