The economic development ad valorem tax exemption (EDAVTE) program is a Sarasota County-wide program designed to encourage new businesses to relocate to Sarasota and the City of North Port. In addition, it serves as a catalyst for existing businesses to expand, creating new job opportunities for residents within the City. The program authorizes the City to grant qualifying businesses a property tax exemption for up to 100 percent for up to 10 years, on both real and tangible personal property.
On August 24, 2010, pursuant to Article VII, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution and Section 196.1995, Florida Statutes, the voters of Sarasota County approved a referendum authorizing the governing bodies of unincorporated Sarasota County, the City of North Port, the City of Sarasota and the City of Venice to grant economic development ad valorem tax exemptions for qualifying new businesses and qualifying expansions of existing businesses. In order to be eligible for an economic development ad valorem tax exemption, a business must first meet the definition of either a new business or an expanding business as set forth below. If a business meets one of these definitions, it is eligible to file this application with the governmental entity(ies) from which it seeks an ad valorem tax exemption. For example, if the business is located in the City of Sarasota and the property owner seeks an ad valorem tax exemption from both the City and the County, the property owner must file two original applications with the City and two original applications with the County. After the governmental entity(ies) have reviewed the application(s) for completeness, the application, is submitted to the County Property Appraiser for review.
The Property Appraiser then files a report with the issuing governmental entity(ies), after which a public hearing is scheduled during which the local governing body(ies) shall determine whether to adopt an ordinance granting the requested exemption. If an application is submitted to both the County and one of the municipalities, each governing body shall hold its own Public Hearing and make a separate determination as to whether to grant the requested exemption and, if so, for what percentage and what period of time. A business cannot receive an exemption from school taxes or water management district taxes. Also a business must pay taxes that were voted by the voters of a city or county to pay for bond issues and other special tax levies authorized by the voters of a city or county.
The exemption applies only to improvements to real property and to tangible personal property. The exemption does not apply to land on which the new or expanding business is to be located.
The action taken by the local governing body exempts only the taxes that are levied by that governing body.