Friday, November 03, 2006


Last week we wrote about property tax breaks available for certain owners of large apartment complexes financed with State funds.

We characterized this as an about-face by Miami-Dade County taxing authorities, but ended the blog entry by noting that something was missing from the picture. Now we have the missing piece of the puzzle.

After 25 years of observing the careful work done by the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser, we knew full well no tax relief would be offered except as authorized by state law. So where did we go to figure out the source of the largesse? The Florida statutes.

Cross-referencing the fair market value statute, we quickly found a state program that allows certain affordable housing developments to be assessed based on their actual income--rather than on market income, which is the general standard in Florida. For rent-restricted affordable housing rentals, the difference between value based on actual income derived under government-controlled rents and market rent can be significant. In some instances it can spell the difference between a viable financial operation and failure.

Other than Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) developments specially categorized under the Internal Revenue Code, only properties enrolled in the State Housing Tax Credit Program are eligible for this special benefit. Details can be found under section 420.5093, Florida Statutes.

Statutory guidelines include eligibility requirements, treatment of low income housing agreements recorded in the public records as land use restrictions, and recognition by the property appraiser of the actual rental income from rent-restricted units, rather than market rental rates.

Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Frank Jacobs guesstimated 30 to 40 eligible properties. The State lists 172 such developments in the County.

And so, the mystery is solved. As we suspected, Miami-Dade County is operating consistently with a State-created and -authorized program and is not off on a frolic of its own. It knows full well that under Florida's constitution, there is one uniform set of regulations governing all 67 counties, and no county is free to create its own rules governing taxation. All taxes must be authorized by state statute in order to comply with the Florida constitution.

If you are an owner or operator of large multifamily apartment complexes and wish to learn more about the special property tax treatment accorded under the State Housing Tax Credit Program, contact the author of this blog.

Daniel A. Weiss is a former Attorney Special Master for the Miami-Dade County Value Adjustment Board with over 25 years property tax experience. Mr. Weiss represented the Miami-Dade County taxing authorities in litigation and appeals between 1981 and 1995 and has since represented taxpayers in property tax matters. In Florida Super Lawyers 2006, Weiss was named one of the top 6 local government lawyers in South Florida.

In Florida Trend magazine™'s Legal Elite's issue, July 2004, Mr. Weiss was selected by his peers as one of the top 30 government lawyers in the State of Florida.

For a free consultation regarding your property, contact us.

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