In the event that you held title to a particular residential property in Delray Beach, Florida the annual property tax because of the town might be either $600 or $2,800. What determines the worth owed? The answer may shock you. Your status as an individual domiciled full amount of time in the state of Florida vs. your status as a seasonal resident, aka, “snow birds “.The answer to this question generally seems to violate the strict scrutiny standard of the equal protection clause of the constitution.
The legislature has seen fit to permit towns to tax “snow birds” several times the quantity of tax as they do full time residents. The people who fall into the larger tax bracket would also appear to fall into a protected class of seasonal sate residents. Moreover, this class has a fundamental right to travel 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 as it violated their fundamental directly to travel. The court held that the exclusion for seasonal workers unconstitutionally infringed on the seasonal residents’right to travel 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).
Such discrimination against someone in violation of his / her fundamental rights, through state action can just only be upheld by way of a court where the discrimination is justified by way of a compelling governmental interest, the policy should 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 an individual who doesn’t have stake in the topic matter of this article, and an unbiased observer with this tax practice taxfyle, I can not comprehend what the motivation of the state is for the excess tax beyond simply raising additional revenue by discriminating against those individuals who wish to assert their fundamental directly to travel. The Florida trial court has held that the a Florida statute providing for extra homestead protection for anyone residents who lived in the state for more than five years violated the “right to travel 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 the aforementioned tax practice and they all concur that although state and individual towns clearly need additional police, fire fighters, improved public schools and repair of streets and highways, 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 issue may be a temporary resident tax paid by those that 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 specific solution is that it might have a substantial 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 the state for a prolonged time frame for anyone cars registered in another state, or owned by “snow birds “.The thought of this tax appears to be right, 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 the state for registration.
What’s the gist of all of this? There are no easy answers, but disparate treatment through the tax code of a protected class of people by way of attempting to limit one’s right to travel is unquestionably not the smallest amount of restrictive means to an end.