The Real Deal Miami

Appraiser sues to revoke tax break for bird breeders

Palm Beach County lawsuit could have statewide ramifications
Gary Nikolits

Gary Nikolits

Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits filed a lawsuit to take back an agricultural tax break his office gave to exotic bird breeders.

After the appraiser’s office customarily gave out a lower property tax rate to such breeders for 35 years, Nikolits hopes to fix what he calls a mistake. Seven such operations were notified of the intention to revoke the status, and four already fought the decision and won a special magistrate decision. If Nikolits is successful in removing the classification, he will restore $153,625 in taxable value, according to the Palm Beach Post.

The suit could have a larger impact, as it may force the Florida Legislature to define what qualifies for an agricultural designation.

Various officials have interpreted the current statute to include raising birds as a legitimate agricultural use, but the state law is vaguely worded. [Palm Beach Post] Frank Maradiaga