Appraiser sues to revoke tax break for bird breeders

Palm Beach County lawsuit could have statewide ramifications
September 08, 2014 01:30PM

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