If you held title to a certain residential property in Delray Beach, Florida the annual property tax as a result of town could possibly be either $600 or $2,800. What determines the value owed? The clear answer may shock you. Your status as a person domiciled full time in their state of Florida vs. your status as a seasonal resident, aka, “snow birds “.The clear answer to this question appears to violate the strict scrutiny standard of the equal protection clause of the constitution.
The legislature has seen fit to allow towns to tax “snow birds” repeatedly the amount of tax because they do regular residents. The folks who belong to the higher tax bracket would also seem to belong to a protected class of seasonal sate residents. Moreover, this class includes a fundamental right to visit pursuant to Federal case law. In a relevant case, seasonal residents alleged that the Department of Labor and Industries wrongfully denied workers compensation rights as unconstitutional because it violated their fundamental directly to travel. The court held that the exclusion for seasonal workers unconstitutionally infringed on the seasonal residents’right to visit and denied them equal protection of the law. The court held that the exclusion constituted a penalty on the seasonal residents’fundamental directly to travel. Macias v. Dep’t of Labor & Industry 100 Wn.2d 263 (1983).
Any such discrimination against someone in violation of his or her fundamental rights, through state action can only just be upheld with a court where in fact the discrimination is justified with a compelling governmental interest, the policy should be narrowly tailored to attain desired goal and there can not be a less restrictive way to effectively achieve the compelling government interest. McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Com., 514 U.S. 334 (1995); H-CHH Associates v. Citizens for Representative Government 193 Cal.App.3d 1193 (1987).
As a person who has no stake in the topic matter of this short article, and an unbiased observer of this tax practice, I am unable to comprehend what the motivation of their state is for the additional tax outside of simply raising additional revenue by discriminating against those individuals who would like to assert their fundamental directly to travel. The Florida trial court has held that the a Florida statute providing for extra homestead protection for those residents who lived in their state for more than five years violated the “right to visit and equal protection of the laws beneath the United States Constitution. Osterndorf v. Turner, 426 So.2d 539 (1983).
In preparing this short article, I’ve questioned several permanent Florida residents regarding the aforementioned tax practice and all of them agree totally that though the state and individual towns clearly need additional police, fire fighters, improved public schools and repair of streets and highways, tax fyle the burden should not fall on the shoulders of those that utilize services the smallest amount of, if at all.
One possible solution to the problem may be a temporary resident tax paid by those that rent through properties more than four months a year, thereby garnishing revenue for the commercial usage of residential real-estate in Florida. The most obvious problem with this specific solution is that it could have an important detrimental affect on tourism, the lifeblood of the Floridian economy. Another proposed solution is to create back the impound tax on automobiles. This tax’s automobiles brought into their state for a prolonged time frame for those cars registered in another state, or owned by “snow birds “.The notion of this tax is apparently right, in that those people who are utilizing the Florida roads will probably pay a tax because of its use, where they are not paying their state for registration.
What’s the gist of all of this? You will find no easy answers, but disparate treatment through the tax code of a protected class of people by way of trying to limit one’s right to visit is certainly not the smallest amount of restrictive methods to an end.