Florida Senate - 2013 SB 1754 By Senator Evers 2-01018-13 20131754__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to administrative review of property 3 taxes; amending s. 194.011, F.S.; providing that 4 presiding magistrates must use a specified manual in 5 certain proceedings; amending s. 194.015, F.S.; 6 deleting the requirement that a value adjustment board 7 must appoint private counsel; prohibiting a meeting of 8 the value adjustment board unless the presiding 9 magistrate is present; creating s. 194.016, F.S.; 10 requiring the Department of Revenue to appoint a 11 presiding magistrate for each county value adjustment 12 board; providing qualifications, compensation, 13 requirements, responsibilities, and duties with 14 respect to presiding magistrates; amending s. 194.035, 15 F.S.; requiring presiding magistrates to appoint 16 special magistrates; deleting a requirement that the 17 value adjustment board appoint special magistrates in 18 counties having more than a specified population; 19 deleting a requirement that the Department of Revenue 20 provide a list of qualified special magistrates to 21 counties having less than a specified population; 22 deleting certain requirements relating to the training 23 of persons designated to hear petitions before the 24 board in certain counties that do not appoint special 25 magistrates; amending s. 195.002, F.S.; requiring a 26 separate school account and program account in the 27 Certification Program Trust Fund in the State Treasury 28 for funding certain expenses with respect to presiding 29 magistrates; providing an effective date. 30 31 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 32 33 Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subsection (5) of section 34 194.011, Florida Statutes, is amended to read: 35 194.011 Assessment notice; objections to assessments.— 36 (5) 37 (b) The department shall develop a uniform policies and 38 procedures manual that shall be used by value adjustment boards, 39 presiding magistrates, special magistrates, and taxpayers in 40 proceedings before value adjustment boards. The manual shall be 41 made available, at a minimum, on the department’s website and on 42 the existing websites of the clerks of circuit courts. 43 Section 2. Section 194.015, Florida Statutes, is amended to 44 read: 45 194.015 Value adjustment board.—There is hereby created a 46 value adjustment board for each county, which shall consist of 47 two members of the governing body of the county as elected from 48 the membership of the board of said governing body, one of whom 49 shall be elected chairperson, and one member of the school board 50 as elected from the membership of the school board, and two 51 citizen members, one of whom shall be appointed by the governing 52 body of the county and must own homestead property within the 53 county and one of whom must be appointed by the school board and 54 must own a business occupying commercial space located within 55 the school district. A citizen member may not be a member or an 56 employee of any taxing authority, and may not be a person who 57 represents property owners in any administrative or judicial 58 review of property taxes. The members of the board may be 59 temporarily replaced by other members of the respective boards 60 on appointment by their respective chairpersons. Any three 61 members shall constitute a quorum of the board, except that each 62 quorum must include at least one member of said governing board, 63 at least one member of the school board, and at least one 64 citizen member and no meeting of the board shall take place 65 unless a quorum is present. Members of the board may receive 66 such per diem compensation as is allowed by law for state 67 employees if both bodies elect to allow such compensation. The 68 clerk of the governing body of the county shall be the clerk of 69 the value adjustment board.
The board shall appoint private70 counsel who has practiced law for over 5 years and who shall71 receive such compensation as may be established by the board.72 The private counsel may not represent the property appraiser,73 the tax collector, any taxing authority, or any property owner74 in any administrative or judicial review of property taxes.No 75 meeting of the board shall take place unless the presiding 76 magistrate of counsel tothe board is present. Two-fifths of the 77 expenses of the board shall be borne by the district school 78 board and three-fifths by the district county commission. 79 Section 3. Section 194.016, Florida Statutes, is created to 80 read: 81 194.016 Presiding magistrates; appointment; qualifications 82 and compensation; duties and responsibilities.— 83 (1) The department shall appoint a presiding magistrate for 84 the value adjustment board for each county. A presiding 85 magistrate may be appointed to serve more than one value 86 adjustment board as determined by the department. 87 (2) The presiding magistrate shall be a private counsel who 88 has practiced law for more than 5 years and who shall receive 89 such compensation as may be established by the department. The 90 compensation of the presiding magistrate shall be an expense of 91 the valuation adjustment board. The presiding magistrate may not 92 represent the property appraiser, the tax collector, a taxing 93 authority, or a property owner in an administrative or judicial 94 review of property taxes. 95 (3) The presiding magistrate shall be responsible for 96 determining whether all the decisions of the value adjustment 97 board are in compliance with all the applicable statutes, 98 provisions of the administrative code, and case law of this 99 state. The presiding magistrate shall supervise all special 100 magistrates and determine whether all the decisions of the 101 special magistrates are in compliance with all the applicable 102 statutes, provisions of the administrative code, and case law of 103 this state. The presiding magistrate shall have the discretion 104 to require a special magistrate to rehear a petition, remove a 105 special magistrate without cause, or order another special 106 magistrate to hear a petition. 107 Section 4. Subsection (1) of section 194.035, Florida 108 Statutes, is amended to read: 109 194.035 Special magistrates; property evaluators.— 110 (1) In counties having a population of more than 75,000,111 The presiding magistrate boardshall appoint special magistrates 112 for the purpose of taking testimony and making recommendations 113 to the board, which recommendations the board may act upon 114 without further hearing. These special magistrates may not be 115 elected or appointed officials or employees of the county but 116 shall be selected from a list of those qualified individuals who 117 are willing to serve as special magistrates. Employees and 118 elected or appointed officials of a taxing jurisdiction or of 119 the state may not serve as special magistrates. The clerk of the 120 board shall annually notify such individuals or their 121 professional associations to make known to them that 122 opportunities to serve as special magistrates exist. The123 Department of Revenue shall provide a list of qualified special124 magistrates to any county with a population of 75,000 or less.125 Subject to appropriation, the department shall reimburse 126 counties with a population of 75,000 or less for payments made 127 to special magistrates appointed for the purpose of taking 128 testimony and making recommendations to the value adjustment 129 board pursuant to this section. The department shall establish a 130 reasonable range for payments per case to special magistrates 131 based on such payments in other counties. Requests for 132 reimbursement of payments outside this range shall be justified 133 by the county. If the total of all requests for reimbursement in 134 any year exceeds the amount available pursuant to this section, 135 payments to all counties shall be prorated accordingly. If a136 county having a population less than 75,000 does not appoint a137 special magistrate to hear each petition, the person or persons138 designated to hear petitions before the value adjustment board139 or the attorney appointed to advise the value adjustment board140 shall attend the training provided pursuant to subsection (3),141 regardless of whether the person would otherwise be required to142 attend, but shall not be required to pay the tuition fee143 specified in subsection (3).A special magistrate appointed to 144 hear issues of exemptions and classifications shall be a member 145 of The Florida Bar with no less than 5 years’ experience in the 146 area of ad valorem taxation. A special magistrate appointed to 147 hear issues regarding the valuation of real estate shall be a 148 state certified real estate appraiser with not less than 5 149 years’ experience in real property valuation. A special 150 magistrate appointed to hear issues regarding the valuation of 151 tangible personal property shall be a designated member of a 152 nationally recognized appraiser’s organization with not less 153 than 5 years’ experience in tangible personal property 154 valuation. A special magistrate need not be a resident of the 155 county in which he or she serves. A special magistrate may not 156 represent a person before the board in any tax year during which 157 he or she has served that board as a special magistrate. Before 158 appointing a special magistrate, a value adjustment board shall 159 verify the special magistrate’s qualifications. The presiding 160 magistrate value adjustment boardshall ensure that the 161 selection of special magistrates is based solely upon the 162 experience and qualifications of the special magistrate and is 163 not influenced by the property appraiser. The special magistrate 164 shall accurately and completely preserve all testimony and, in 165 making recommendations to the value adjustment board, shall 166 include proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and 167 reasons for upholding or overturning the determination of the 168 property appraiser. The expense of hearings before magistrates 169 and any compensation of special magistrates shall be borne 170 three-fifths by the board of county commissioners and two-fifths 171 by the school board. 172 Section 5. Subsection (2) of section 195.002, Florida 173 Statutes, is amended to read: 174 195.002 Supervision by Department of Revenue.— 175 (2) In furtherance of its duty to conduct schools to 176 upgrade assessment skills and collection skills, the department 177 may establish by rule committees on admissions and 178 certification. The department may also incur reasonable expenses 179 for hiring instructors, travel, office operations, certificates 180 of completion, badges or awards, food service incidental to 181 conducting such schools, salaries and benefits of department 182 employees whose duties are directly associated with developing 183 and conducting such schools, and administering any certification 184 program under s. 145.10, s. 145.11, or s. 194.035. The 185 department may charge a tuition fee and an examination fee to 186 any person who attends such a school and may charge a fee to 187 certify or recertify any person under such a program. The 188 department shall deposit such fees into the Certification 189 Program Trust Fund which is created in the State Treasury. There 190 shall be separate school accounts and program accounts in the 191 trust fund for property appraisers, tax collectors, presiding 192 magistrates, and special magistrates. The department shall use 193 money in the fund to pay such expenses. 194 Section 6. This act shall take effect July 1, 2013.