Hillsborough County Aviation Authority sues over tenant taxes

They have historically been exempt from property taxes.

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority is suing the Hillsborough County Value Adjustment Board over 2019 property taxes assessed to businesses that lease land from the Aviation Authority.

Tenants on Aviation Authority property have historically been exempt from property taxes because the land is government-owned. But in 2019 the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s office imposed taxes on 16 parcels, according to the lawsuit.

The Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s office notified the Aviation Authority in June the exemptions would no longer be applied even though the land’s use and ownership had not changed in the new year.

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority filed a complaint with the Value Adjustment Board, which exists to handle property tax disputes. However, the Value Adjustment Board sided with the Property Appraiser’s decision without investigating the complaint.

The Aviation Authority is now asking a judge to compel the Value Adjustment Board to investigate its claim.

The Value Adjustment Board filed a request to dismiss the suit, arguing they are “not a property party to a suit to reduce the assessed value of a property.”

The Property Appraiser’s office, meanwhile, is seeking to intervene in the suit on the Hillsborough County Value Adjustment Board’s behalf.

The lawsuit appears to be the first time the Aviation Authority has sued the Value Adjustment Board over disputes, but it’s not the first time lessees have sued in general.

Sheltair Aviation Tampa sued the Property Appraiser’s office over a partial tax exemption in 2019 after the company had received a full exemption the year prior.

The Aviation Authority oversees the daily operations, maintenance and administration of Tampa International Airport. The board is governed by a five-member board of directors including Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller and three gubernatorial appointees.

The Value Adjustment Board includes Hillsborough County Commissioners Pat Kemp and Sandy Murman.

Staff Reports


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