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Chamber tax exemption goes to Florida Supreme Court

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(Photo by Tim Ross)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A dispute about whether the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce should receive a property-tax exemption could be decided by the Florida Supreme Court.

A panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal in May upheld a tax exemption for the chamber because of the non-profit organization’s “charitable purpose,” rejecting arguments of the Alachua County property appraiser and tax collector. But the appeals court’s website Monday said a notice was filed that is a first step in asking the Supreme Court to resolve the dispute.

The chamber had a property-tax exemption before 2014, but the property appraiser and tax collector then denied the exemption.

At least in part, the denial stemmed from a decision that economic development has not traditionally been considered a charitable activity.

A circuit judge found a charitable purpose and ruled in favor of the chamber, a ruling that the appeals-court panel upheld in a 2-1 decision in May.