The state’s highest court heard two cases in November 2012. One was for taxing improvements on 2,400 residential properties on Pensacola Beach. The other was for taxing land and improvements on roughly 850 pieces of property on Navarre Beach in Santa Rosa County.
In a pair of unanimous opinions issued on March 20, 2014, the Florida Supreme Court approved of the county’s assessment and collection of ad valorem real property taxes for certain leaseholds on Santa Rosa Island. The Court found that Pensacola Beach leaseholders have “virtually all the benefits and burdens of ownership.” This effectively makes them the private owners subject to property taxation. The cases largely put to rest the decades long debate over beach leasehold taxes.
Now we are dealing with the fallout - how do these rulings affect the lawsuit on taxation of the land, how and when will the County address double taxation (ad valorem and lease fees), how much tax money will the County return to the island and what is the future of the Santa Rosa Island Authority?
1108 Ariola, LLC v. Jones (Taxes on Land)
Florida First District Court of Appeal Opinion (No. 1D10-2050): http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=6413174389450369503
Florida Supreme Court Filings (No. SC11-2231): http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/pub_info/summaries/briefs/11/11-2231/index.html
Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments: http://wfsu.org/gavel2gavel/viewcase.php?eid=370
Accardo v. Brown (Taxes on Improvements)
Florida First District Court of Appeal Opinion (No. 1D10-4072): http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=1013131377402627411
Florida Supreme Court Filings (No. SC11-1445): http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/pub_info/summaries/briefs/11/11-1445/index.html
Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments: http://wfsu.org/gavel2gavel/viewcase.php?eid=369
Recent Late Filed Lawsuits in Trial Courts Contesting 2013 Taxes:http://www.escambiaclerk.com/xml/xmlBM.asp?ucase_id=2006727 http://www.escambiaclerk.com/xml/xmlBM.asp?ucase_id=2006729