Qualified organizations may receive a partial or total exemption on their properties:
Annual Application Required for Exemption
IMPORTANT: If your organization is qualified for a tax exemption, you must file an application completely answered with supporting schedules on or before March 1 of the tax year in order to be eligible. The applications need to be filed on anything the organization owns and uses for a non-profit purpose including lots and personal property located therein or thereon. All organizations granted this exemption in a prior year must file a signed renewal card with us by March 1 of each year in order to continue the exemption.
Ownership by Non-Profit Organization Required
Florida law requires that all organizational applicants for a tax exemption be non-profit except for educational institutions. Although qualification as exempt under 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code is a good start, this alone is not definitive as to non-profit status for exemption purposes under state law. We look at many things, including but not limited to:
- Whether your organization has a consumer certificate of exemption from the Florida Department of Revenue;
- Relationships between the organization and its members/officers;
- Payments made to its members/officers; and
- Charges made to those using its services
See 196.195 of the Florida Statutes for more detailed information.
January 1 is the Determination Date
Florida law directs that the ownership and use of the property as of January 1 of each tax year is the date that determines eligibility for these exemptions. If, for example, an otherwise qualified religious organization purchased a vacant building on January 15 and immediately began holding religious services on the property, the applicant would still not be entitled to the exemption until the next year because it missed the January 1 date set by law.
Predominant Use of the Property Required
In many states, the only requirement for exemption is ownership by a non-profit organization. Florida adds the requirement of predominant use for exempt purposes before any exemption may be granted. Property exclusively used for exempt purposes will be totally exempt. Our office considers both economic and actual physical uses in determining predominant use. For example, a building leased for $100,000 per year to the United States Postal Service for use as a post office is being predominantly used for an economic use to wit: the production of rental income.
Likewise, a vacant lot merely owned by a non-profit group or house of public worship that is intended to be the future site of a church or community center, but is not currently being used for any church or community center purposes, is not being predominantly used for any eligible purpose Note: if it is used for parking for church services, or regular tent meetings, etc., it may be eligible but additional documentation is needed.
This is the category under which most applicants qualify. A charitable purpose means a function or service which is of such a community service that its discontinuance could legally result in the allocation of public funds for the continuance of the function or service. Find out more by clicking the link above.
Click the link above to learn more about exemptions for community centers.
For more information about Educational Exemptions, click the link above.