If you held title to a certain residential property in Delray Beach, Florida the annual property tax due to the town could be either $600 or $2,800. What determines the worth owed? The solution may shock you. Your status as a person domiciled full amount of time in their state of Florida vs. your status as a seasonal resident, aka, “snow birds “.The solution to the 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” many times the amount of tax as they do full time residents. The folks who belong to the bigger tax bracket would also appear to belong to a protected class of seasonal sate residents. Moreover, this class features 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 since 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 taxfyle.com. 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 their fundamental rights, through state action can just only be upheld by way of a court where in actuality the discrimination is justified by way of a compelling governmental interest, the policy must certanly be narrowly tailored to attain desired goal and there can’t be considered a less restrictive solution 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 someone who has no stake in the subject matter of this article, and an unbiased observer of the tax practice, I can’t comprehend what the motivation of their state is for the extra tax outside simply raising additional revenue by discriminating against those individuals who want 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 underneath the United States Constitution. Osterndorf v. Turner, 426 So.2d 539 (1983).
In preparing this article, I have questioned several permanent Florida residents regarding these tax practice and they all concur that although the state and individual towns clearly need additional police, fire fighters, improved public schools and repair of streets and highways, the burden shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of those who utilize services minimal, if at all.
One possible means to fix the situation might be a temporary resident tax paid by those who rent through properties more than four months per year, thereby garnishing revenue for the commercial utilization of residential real-estate in Florida. The most obvious problem with this solution is that it may have a significant detrimental affect on tourism, the lifeblood of the Floridian economy. Another proposed solution is to bring 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 seems to be more appropriate, for the reason that those who find themselves using the Florida roads will probably pay a tax for the use, where they are not paying their state for registration.
What is the gist of this? You will find no easy answers, but disparate treatment through the tax code of a protected class of an individual by means of wanting to limit one’s right to visit is certainly not minimal restrictive way to an end.