Walt Disney’s namesake recreational areas have built their vacation reputations on being the happiest places on Earth.
But the company’s tax lawyers are in decidedly bad moods after getting what they say are excessive tax year 2016 property value assessments of their Sunshine State parks.
So Disney is taking the Orange Country, Florida, property appraiser to court.
Dozens Disney tax suits: Disney Parks and Resorts have filed nearly a dozen tax-related lawsuits in Orange Circuit Court, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The legal actions contend that Orange County Appraiser Rick Singh’s analysis exceeded the Disney properties’ fair market value and incorrectly “included the value of certain intangible property in the assessments.”
The tax assessments in question, according to court documents, include are Disney’s Epcot at $446 million, Magic Kingdom at $437 million, Hollywood Studios at $339 million, Caribbean Beach Resort at $209 million and Animal Kingdom Lodge at $153 million.
In a statement to the Orlando newspaper, a Disney spokesperson said:
“The increases in the assessments of our property are unreasonable and unjustified. Similar to other property owners in Orange County, we have no choice but to take action to dispute these errors by the property appraiser. We look forward to presenting our case in court.”
In addition to Singh, the Disney lawsuits name as defendants Scott Randolph, Orange County tax collector; Leon Biegalski, executive director of the Florida Department of Revenue; and the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the Disney-controlled government agency that collects its share of taxes from the Disney properties.
Disney is seeking “proper” fair market and assessed values to be determined so it can receive a new tax bill. The company also wants to be reimbursed for courts costs.
Standard tax operating procedure: Singh declined to comment on the latest pending tax litigation, but it’s not the first time he’s done tax battle with Mickey and friends.
Last fall, Disney, as well as other Orlando-based theme parks operated by SeaWorld and Universal, took the property appraiser to court over allegedly incorrect property values upon which their 2015 real estate taxes were based. Those suits are still pending.
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