Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 121125
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File Number: 121125 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-585-12 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: HOMESTEAD TAX EXEMPTION FRAUD Introduced: 5/31/2012
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 7/3/2012
Agenda Date: 7/3/2012 Agenda Item Number: 11A5
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION FORMALIZING THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE COUNTY AND THE PROPERTY APPRAISER TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM OF HOMESTEAD TAX EXEMPTION FRAUD; DIRECTING THE MAYOR OR DESIGNEE TO EXPAND THE COOPERATION BETWEEN THE COUNTY AND THE PROPERTY APPRAISER, TO SHARE THE GEO-CODING AND OTHER DATA-MINING CAPABILITIES OF THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT, TO PROVIDE ALL USEFUL DATABANKS, SUCH AS THE REGULATORY AND ECONOMIC RESOURCES DEPARTMENT’S LIST OF ABANDONED PROPERTIES, AND OTHERWISE TO ASSIST THE PROPERTY APPRAISER IN HIS EFFORTS TO REDUCE IMPROPER HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS
Indexes: HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION
Sponsors: Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Co-Prime Sponsor
  Joe A. Martinez, Co-Prime Sponsor
  Lynda Bell, Co-Sponsor
  Audrey M. Edmonson, Co-Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
  Sen. Javier D. Souto, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 7/3/2012 11A5 Adopted P
REPORT: Commissioner Bovo noted he would support the foregoing proposed resolution; however, he expressed concern about amending existing contracts to perform additional work that might increase the contract value. Commissioner Suarez noted he concurred with Commissioner Bovo’s comments. He expressed the belief that this contract should be performed on a contingent fee basis. Commissioner Suarez said he was hopeful that this extended contract would be presented to the County Commission in the future in order to determine market alternatives.

Public Safety & Healthcare Admin Cmte 6/12/2012 2E Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Valda Christian read the foregoing proposed resolution into the record. Chairman Diaz relinquished the chair to Vice-Chairwoman Heyman. Hearing no questions or comments, the Committee proceeded to vote.

County Attorney 5/31/2012 Referred Public Safety & Healthcare Admin Cmte 6/12/2012

County Attorney 5/31/2012 Assigned Thomas W. Logue 6/1/2012

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION FORMALIZING THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE COUNTY AND THE PROPERTY APPRAISER TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM OF HOMESTEAD TAX EXEMPTION FRAUD; DIRECTING THE MAYOR OR DESIGNEE TO EXPAND THE COOPERATION BETWEEN THE COUNTY AND THE PROPERTY APPRAISER, TO SHARE THE GEO-CODING AND OTHER DATA-MINING CAPABILITIES OF THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT, TO PROVIDE ALL USEFUL DATABANKS, SUCH AS THE REGULATORY AND ECONOMIC RESOURCES DEPARTMENT’S LIST OF ABANDONED PROPERTIES, AND OTHERWISE TO ASSIST THE PROPERTY APPRAISER IN HIS EFFORTS TO REDUCE IMPROPER HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS

BODY
WHEREAS, in the current times of economic hardship, the ability of the County to fund essential services has dropped year after year; and
WHEREAS, losses in revenue due to the economic slow-down and recession have already forced the County to reduce services, lower support to deserving community groups, lay off employees, and cut salaries and benefits; and
WHEREAS, if nothing is done, these losses in revenues will cause even further cuts and reductions, creating more hardships, and perhaps even threatening the funding for essential social services to children and the elderly and even for police and fire protection; and
WHEREAS, in such difficult economic times, it would be counter-productive to raise the millage rate or increase taxes because the hard-working people of the South Florida cannot afford to pay more taxes and still care for their own families and to grow the economy; and
WHEREAS, it is therefore more important than ever to ensure that every person paying taxes pays his or her full share, neither more nor less; and
WHEREAS, due in part to the decline in the real estate market caused by the current recession and the resulting financial pressures on residential property owners, there appears to have been an increase in the number of instances in which taxpayers have improperly claimed and received homestead exemptions from ad valorem taxes; and
WHEREAS, the Property Appraiser, Pedro J. Garcia, has done an admirable job of investigating and penalizing tax exemption fraud in general, has increased his investigations in this area, and, in the last three years, has returned to the tax roll over $1.3 billion in taxable property, and has, in 2011, filed a record $7.9 million in tax liens so that, as of May 22, 2012, there are over $14.5 million in tax liens recorded with the Clerk of the Courts; and
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners and the Mayor have already assisted the Property Appraiser by lending him sworn police officers to help in his investigations and by providing him access to County information and databanks; and
WHEREAS, the Board wishes to formalize and to expand the partnership with the Property Appraiser; and
WHEREAS, Miami-Dade County’s Information and Technology Department has the resources to geo-code data and to associate that data with particular addresses and folio numbers; and
WHEREAS, to give one example, the Neighborhood Compliance Division of the Regulatory and Economic Resources Department has the ability to generate a list of properties that have been found to be open, vacant, and abandoned in the unincorporated Miami-Dade County which could be cross-checked against the list of properties with homesteads exemptions to identify possible wrongful homestead exemptions,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board:
Section 1. Directs the Mayor or designee to obtain for the Property Appraiser a list of properties receiving homestead tax exemptions which have been identified as abandoned by the records of the Neighborhood Compliance Division of the Regulatory and Economic Resources Department and other County departments. These properties are likely to be improperly receiving homestead exemptions because such properties would appear not to qualify as the owner’s permanent residence as required by the laws governing homestead tax exemptions.
Section 2. Directs the Mayor or designee to increase and expand the sharing of the geo-coding, data-banks, and other data-mining capabilities of the Information Technology Department to assist the Property Appraiser in order to identify properties that are likely improperly receiving homestead exemptions.
Section 3. Directs the Mayor or designee to otherwise continue and expand the County’s partnership with the Property Appraiser in reducing the harm to the community caused by homestead tax exemption fraud.



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