Over a month ago, we told you about a court ruling that could save Disney and potentially other Florida resort operators millions in real property taxes.
Now, the court has withdrawn its previous order and issued a new, revised opinion. We’ve got all the details on what this new ruling may mean for Disney and others!
In 2015, Rick Singh, as the property appraiser of Orange County increased the tax assessment of Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Beach Club Resort by 118%! This resulted in a tremendous increase in property taxes due on these resorts.
Disney challenged that assessment and on some of its other properties as well. Previously, the appeals court entered an order finding that the assessment process Singh used to appraise Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts was illegal under Florida law. Now, the Court issued a new opinion and softened its position.
Instead of declaring that the appraisal method itself is “illegal,” the Court has noted that the manner in which Singh applied the appraisal method included certain values as part of the assessment that should not have been included.
The appeals court also found that the record didn’t contain competent substantial evidence from which the lower court could make an assessment of the property. Therefore, the matter must actually be sent back to the Orange County Property Appraiser so they can conduct a reassessment of the property consistent with the Court’s latest opinion.
What does this mean for the future? It means Disney and other hotel operators don’t have as easy a path toward tax savings as they thought. And, instead of getting a firm ruling from the Court that resolves all of their disputes about the valuation of these hotels, the Property Appraiser will need to reassess the property — which, of course, must be in compliance with the Court’s current rulings.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Singh is pleased with the new order as it gives his office the chance to return to their work in determining an accurate assessment of the value of the resorts. One attorney noted that the new ruling is not as powerful as the initial one, but still sends a signal to those using the same method Singh used for his appraisal of these resorts that the method will be highly scrutinized.
So, it wasn’t exactly the slam dunk Disney got before. It will be interesting to see how this order affects the other cases Disney has pending on various other properties’ assessed values. We’ll keep an eye out what happens with Singh’s reassessment of the property and see what action Disney takes from there!
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What do you think about all of this? Let us know in the comments!