Tax-free status bears burden of proof - 1987-08-23
Some property owners in Pinellas County who are getting a free ride on taxes are offended because they have to justify their exemptions. But if Property Appraiser Ron Schultz weren't asking questions, he would be failing everyone who pays taxes.
Schultz, for the sixth straight year, has examined exemptions for non-profit institutions and churches throughout the county - a grant of relief that removed $1.1-billion worth of property from taxation last year. In so doing, he targeted about 50 religious organizations that have failed to file appropriately updated financial records to prove they qualify for the exemption. One Palm Harbor church, for example, had not filed a financial paper since its original application - at the turn of the century, when Pinellas was still a part of Hillsborough County.