Tax section's legislative positions.

AuthorWood, Gaylord A., Jr.
PositionLetters - Letter to the editor

The Tax Section annual report stated in the June issue, "Under the leadership of Codirectors J.J. Wehle and Jim Ervin, the State Tax Division prepared a legislative package (H.B. 1261) aimed at promoting fairness and equity in Florida's tax system." If this is indeed the Tax Section's concept of fairness, it seems to me a little like that in Animal Farm, where all animals were equal but some were more equal than others.

The bill would have dramatically changed the law in favor of major taxpayers in assessment challenge suits. The bill would permit a tenant to contest his landlord's property tax assessment without the owner's consent, which is now required. Next, the bill would have tilted the playing field in favor of taxpayers by making tax assessments subject to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, of which you have never heard. In a year when the cost of government is under attack, compliance with this sea change would greatly increase the costs of operating a county property appraiser's office. The penalty in the bill for the property appraiser's noncompliance with USPAP would be to shift the burden of proof in a tax assessment challenge to the defendant property appraiser, and if the presumption of correctness was not overcome, to lower the taxpayer's burden of proof from the present clear and convincing evidence to a simple preponderance of the...

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