Orange County, Florida – The Orange County Tax Collector’s Office has filed a lawsuit against the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, the governing body of Orlando International Airport, for unpaid taxes totaling nearly $ 3.5 million dollars.
According to the lawsuit filed on Tuesday, taxes from 2015 to December 31, 2020 of nearly $ 3.5 million have not been paid. Previously, for 2015-2019, GOAA was made aware of taxes owed on its properties and did not dispute the amount, the lawsuit says.
“We hope to resolve this case quickly. Ultimately, every homeowner is responsible for the taxes owed – the taxes that support our schools and public safety – and it is my constitutional duty to collect them, ”Tax Collector Scott Randolph said Wednesday.
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Members of the tax collector’s office and the GOAA met in June 2019 to discuss the taxes owed and, according to the lawsuit, GOAA officials said an effort would be made to pay the overdue amount, but this did not did not occur at the time of the filing of the lawsuit. .
In December 2020, an attorney representing the tax collector sent a letter to GOAA attorney advising them of their intention to file an overdue tax complaint if the amount was not paid within 20 days.
In the letter, the lawyer said the tax collector was aware that the current pandemic was placing a burden on businesses. Travel through the Orlando International Airport fell 97% at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, according to airport officials.
“However, now more than ever, there are critical needs of states and local communities that these taxes will fund, including Orange County public schools,” the letter continued.
Property taxes are used to fund schools, libraries and law enforcement in Orange County.
The collector is required to collect an annual interest of 18% if the taxes have not been paid 60 days after the due date of the invoice. The nearly $ 3.5 million owed includes interest and continues to grow, according to the letter sent to GOAA in December 2020.
An Orlando Airport spokeswoman released a statement to News 6 about the lawsuit.
“GOAA’s agreements with tenants specify that tenants are required to pay all ad valorem taxes levied on their rental areas. For the majority of the tax debt claimed, the collector sent tax notices to the tenants, not the GOAA. In fact, some tenants dispute tax notices, as is their right. The Grand Orlando Aviation. The authority is not responsible for paying these taxes, ”spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell said.
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