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The Florida Senate

2016 Florida Statutes

Thoroughbred horse taxes; abandoned interest in a permit for nonpayment of taxes.
F.S. 550.09515
550.09515 Thoroughbred horse taxes; abandoned interest in a permit for nonpayment of taxes.
(1) Pari-mutuel wagering at thoroughbred horse racetracks in this state is an important business enterprise, and taxes derived therefrom constitute a part of the tax structure which funds operation of the state. Thoroughbred horse permitholders should pay their fair share of these taxes to the state. This business interest should not be taxed to such an extent as to cause any racetrack which is operated under sound business principles to be forced out of business. Due to the need to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, the gaming laws of the state provide for the thoroughbred horse industry to be highly regulated and taxed. The state recognizes that there exist identifiable differences between thoroughbred horse permitholders based upon their ability to operate under such regulation and tax system and at different periods during the year.
(2)(a) The tax on handle for live thoroughbred horserace performances shall be 0.5 percent.
(b) For purposes of this section, the term “handle” shall have the same meaning as in s. 550.0951, and shall not include handle from intertrack wagering.
(3)(a) The permit of a thoroughbred horse permitholder who does not pay tax on handle for live thoroughbred horse performances for a full schedule of live races during any 2 consecutive state fiscal years shall be void and shall escheat to and become the property of the state unless such failure to operate and pay tax on handle was the direct result of fire, strike, war, or other disaster or event beyond the ability of the permitholder to control. Financial hardship to the permitholder shall not, in and of itself, constitute just cause for failure to operate and pay tax on handle.
(b) In order to maximize the tax revenues to the state, the division shall reissue an escheated thoroughbred horse permit to a qualified applicant pursuant to the provisions of this chapter as for the issuance of an initial permit. However, the provisions of this chapter relating to referendum requirements for a pari-mutuel permit shall not apply to the reissuance of an escheated thoroughbred horse permit. As specified in the application and upon approval by the division of an application for the permit, the new permitholder shall be authorized to operate a thoroughbred horse facility anywhere in the same county in which the escheated permit was authorized to be operated, notwithstanding the provisions of s. 550.054(2) relating to mileage limitations.
(4) In the event that a court of competent jurisdiction determines any of the provisions of this section to be unconstitutional, it is the intent of the Legislature that the provisions contained in this section shall be null and void and that the provisions of s. 550.0951 shall apply to all thoroughbred horse permitholders beginning on the date of such judicial determination. To this end, the Legislature declares that it would not have enacted any of the provisions of this section individually and, to that end, expressly finds them not to be severable.
(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 550.0951(3)(c), the tax on handle for intertrack wagering on rebroadcasts of simulcast horseraces is 2.4 percent of the handle; provided however, that if the guest track is a thoroughbred track located more than 35 miles from the host track, the host track shall pay a tax of .5 percent of the handle, and additionally the host track shall pay to the guest track 1.9 percent of the handle to be used by the guest track solely for purses. The tax shall be deposited into the Pari-mutuel Wagering Trust Fund.
(6) A credit equal to the amount of contributions made by a thoroughbred permitholder during the taxable year directly to the Jockeys’ Guild or its health and welfare fund to be used to provide health and welfare benefits for active, disabled, and retired Florida jockeys and their dependents pursuant to reasonable rules of eligibility established by the Jockeys’ Guild is allowed against taxes on live handle due for a taxable year under this section. A thoroughbred permitholder may not receive a credit greater than an amount equal to 1 percent of its paid taxes for the previous taxable year.
(7) If a thoroughbred permitholder fails to operate all performances on its 2001-2002 license, failure to pay tax on handle for a full schedule of live races for those performances in the 2001-2002 fiscal year does not constitute failure to pay taxes on handle for a full schedule of live races in a fiscal year for the purposes of subsection (3). This subsection may not be construed as forgiving a thoroughbred permitholder from paying taxes on performances conducted at its facility pursuant to its 2001-2002 license other than for failure to operate all performances on its 2001-2002 license. This subsection expires July 1, 2003.
History.s. 1, ch. 93-123; ss. 7, 26, ch. 96-364; ss. 3, 4, ch. 98-190; s. 75, ch. 2000-158; ss. 9, 10, ch. 2000-354; s. 12, ch. 2002-2; s. 38, ch. 2002-402.