The National Center for Construction Education and Research Ltd., Corp., Appellant,
Ed Crapo, as Alachua County Property Appraiser, Appellee.
final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Alachua County. Monica J.
Kent Safriet of Hopping, Green & Sams, P.A., Tallahassee,
and Patrice Boyes of Patrice Boyes, P.A., Gainesville, for
C. Dent and Jennifer A. McClain of Dent & McClain,
Chartered, Sarasota, for Appellee.
National Center for Construction Education and Research,
Ltd., appeals the trial court's final judgment upholding
Appellee's denial of its application for exemption from
ad valorem property taxes. We affirm.
a non-profit corporation registered under section 501(c)(3)
of the Internal Revenue Code, is incorporated in Virginia and
authorized as a foreign entity to do business in Florida.
Appellant develops training materials for the construction
industry, with a stated purpose of assuring "that
construction clients receive quality services and
construction workers have rewarding, progressive
careers." Appellant owns and holds its headquarters in a
commercial multi-story office building on 3.32 acres of real
property in Alachua County.
January 2015, Appellant attempted to file an application for
a combined charitable and education exemption from ad valorem
taxation of its 3.32-acre property. After Appellee refused to
accept an application claiming two exemptions, Appellant
filed one application claiming a charitable exemption, and
the following day filed another application claiming an
education exemption. Appellee denied both applications, and
Appellant appealed those denials to the Alachua County Value
Adjustment Board, under sections 196.011 and 196.193, Florida
Statutes. After the Value Adjustment Board upheld the
denials, Appellant appealed those decisions to the circuit
court, which upheld the decisions after a two-day bench
providing for an exemption to an ad valorem tax are strictly
construed, and any ambiguity must be resolved against the
claimed exemption. Sowell v. Panama Commons, LP.,
192 So.3d 27, 30 (Fla. 2016); Housing by Vogue, Inc. v.
State, Dept. of Revenue, 403 So.2d 478, 480 (Fla. 1st
DCA 1981). "'The burden is on the claimant to show
clearly any entitlement to tax exemption.'"
Id. (quoting Volusia Cty. v. Daytona Beach
Racing and Recreational Facilities Dist., 341 So.2d 498,
502 (Fla. 1976)).
owned by "exempt entities" and used predominantly
for "exempt purposes" is exempt from ad valorem
taxation, to the extent of the exempt use. § 196.192(2),
Fla. Stat. (2015). "Exempt uses" of property
include property utilized for educational and charitable
purposes. § 196.012(1), Fla. Stat. (2015). Florida
Statutes do not define educational purposes, but section
196.198, the educational-property exemption statute, provides
that "[e]ducational institutions [ within this state
and their property used by them . . . exclusively for
educational purposes are exempt from taxation."
"charitable purpose" is defined in section
196.012(7), Florida Statues (2015) as a
function or service which is of such a community service that
its discontinuance could legally result in the allocation of
public funds for the continuance of the function or service.
It is not necessary that public funds be allocated for such