Tangible Personal Property on Government Land

Tangible Personal Property on Government Land

ADV LET 2007-001

DATE: January 8, 2007

TO: Tony Biondi, Okaloosa County Property Appraiser’s Office

FROM: Jane Marshall, Tax Law Specialist, Property Tax Technical Unit

Subject: tangible personal property on government land

I have received your fax of the 1957 AGO which you asked that I review. You say that your office has been exempting cell towers on a military installation based on the AGO. The question was whether tangible personal property belonging to a resident of this state and located on a military reservation in this state is taxable in the county of the residence of the owner of the TPP.

The first paragraph states that it is not subject to taxation by the county where the TPP is located on the military reservation, but it is taxable in the county where the owner of the property is a resident of that other county.

The explanation in the body of the opinion, states that “unless otherwise provided by law, it has been held that tangible personal property of a corporation is taxable at the domicile or residence of the corporation or at its principle place of business, or where its business is being carried on.” It also says that “unless expressly exempted ... all personal property ... shall be subject to taxation”. (There is no exemption for property unless it is owned AND used by an exempt entity.)

In the final paragraph the opinion states that the answer as to the taxability of TPP on a military reservation should be answered in the affirmative. It states that although the property is subject to taxation, it may not be seized for unpaid taxes while on the federal reservation ... but the tax may be collected by enforcement against other personal property of the taxpayer. While this AGO is rather outdated, it does say that the TPP is taxable to the owner of the TPP. As stated in my response to Eric, under current law, the TPP would have to be used and owned by an exempt entity in order to be exempt. Section 196.199(2)(b), Florida Statutes, states that "nothing in this paragraph shall be deemed to exempt personal property ... owned by the lessee from ad valorem taxation". In addition to AGO 057-44, AGO 57-32 states that such property is not subject to taxation by the county or local taxing units. However, federal statute now provides that a lessee’s interest in property owned by the Federal Government and located within a military enclave is subject to state and local ad valorem taxes. This also specifically includes tangible personal property owned by the lessee. 10 USC s. 2667. See also AGO 75-198.The discussion in AGO 057-44 regarding enforcement and collection appears to be applicable, and the situs controlled by the enactment of section 192.032, Florida Statutes, regarding situs of property for assessment purposes. Although the authority to enforce the collection on a military reservation is less clear, it appears that privately owned tangible personal property on a leasehold on a military reservation is taxable based on the above.

The response is predicated upon those facts and the specific situation summarized herein. Subsequent statutory or administrative rule changes or judicial interpretation of the statutes or rules upon which this advice is based may subject future transactions to a different treatment than is expressed in this response.