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Taxation of Golf Courses and Association Property

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Lisa A. Magill, Florida Lawyer, Real Estate Attorney Florida Attorney General Issues Advisory Legal Opinion Indicating that Golf Courses located within platted residential subdivisions are not subject to separate taxation.

Impact of AGO 2009-23 may save Community Associations thousands of dollars in property taxes.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum recently issued AGO 2009-23 answering two questions posed by Seminole County’s Property Appraiser.

Section 193.0235, Florida Statutes, generally provides that the common elements (as defined) within a subdivision are nominally valued for property tax purposes, since the value of those amenities is included as part of the valuation of the homes themselves.  It provides, in relevant part:

Ad valorem taxes and non-ad valorem assessments shall be assessed against the lots within a platted residential subdivision and not upon the subdivision property as a whole. An ad valorem tax or non-ad valorem assessment, including a tax or assessment imposed by a county, municipality, special district, or water management district, may not be assessed separately against common elements utilized exclusively for the benefit of lot owners within the subdivision, regardless of ownership. The value of each parcel of land that is or has been part of a platted subdivision and that is designated on the plat or the approved site plan as a common element for the exclusive benefit of lot owners shall, regardless of ownership, be prorated by the property appraiser and included in the assessment of all the lots within the subdivision which constitute inventory for the developer and are intended to be conveyed or have been conveyed into private ownership for the exclusive benefit of lot owners within the subdivision.

Seminole County’s Property Appraiser inquired whether there should be a distinction between property actually held in the name of the Community Association or property held in the name of the Developer (or subsequent developer), as there were a number of golf courses that had yet to transition from developer to association control.  Property taxes for common areas of community associations are generally passed on to the owners of the properties within the subdivision.  Thus, golf courses in communities that were no longer subject to developer control or ownership were nominally valued (meaning no taxes due), but if the developer retained ownership of the golf course in another community, taxes were imposed and generally passed on to the Association members.

The Attorney General said that regardless of ownership, a golf course designated on a plat or approved site plan as a common element for the exclusive benefit of the lot owners that is subdivision property (not included in the developer’s inventory) should be nominally valued.

Community Associations are urged to review the tax bills for all common areas or common elements within their subdivisions as they may not only be entitled to substantial savings, but refunds as well.

Please check back for future updates with regard to taxation of common areas.

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