Are Assessment Standards Same for All Properties ?
In Interlachen Lakes Estates, Inc. v. Snyder, 304 So. 2d 433 (Fla. 1973), the Supreme Court of Florida held that section 195.062(1), Florida Statutes (1971), violated article VII, section 4 of the 1968 Florida Constitution.
Section 195.062(1) provided that "platted lands unsold as lots shall be valued for tax assessment purposes on the same basis as any unplatted acreage of similar character until 60 percent of such lands included in one plat shall have been sold as individual lots." Interlachen, 304 So. 2d at 434.
The Court stated, "It is true that the constitutional provision allows the Legislature to prescribe regulations for the purpose of securing a just valuation of all property, but such regulations must apply to all property and not to any one particular class." Id.
The Court held that the statute created a classification based on ownership, effectively giving a subdivision developer a "tax break by treating his unsold lots as unplatted for tax valuation purposes." Id. at 435.
The Court pointed out in Interlachen that the statute taxed similar property differently, depending on who owned it.
If the lot had been sold, the land was taxed; if it had not been sold, the land was not taxed.
The Court also noted its concern that assessment standards and criteria might be manipulated to favor certain taxpayers over others.