What do you do when you’re a multi-billion dollar corporation and the world’s most popular theme parks with an incredible surplus of money? You try to avoid paying your taxes, obviously.
For the second time this year, Walt Disney World hasrecently filed a dozen lawsuits to appeal the 2022 property tax assessments done by the Orange County property appraiser.
This time Disney argues that the Orange County tax appraiser’s methods were “unfair.” In their court brief Disney’s lawyers argued that “The Appraiser failed to comply with … Florida Statutes and professionally accepted appraisal practices in assessing the Subject Property. … The Appraiser has included the value of certain intangible property in the Assessments.” The document did not specify what was done improperly.
In an unofficial response to the lawsuit’s claim a former Orange County’s Property Appraiser, Rick Singh, said, “It’s a matter of being fair and equitable. If the single mother who is working two jobs has to be held accountable to pay her fair share, so should everybody else.”
Current County Appraiser Amy Mercado declined to comment on the ongoing lawsuit but has echoed similar sentiments in the past saying, “The whole purpose of our office, regardless of who is in it, is fair, equitable and just values. It doesn’t matter who the owners are. What I believe we need to do is remove all the political noise that has occurred throughout the years and give everyone, every property owner, their fair shake.”
The properties Disney is contesting include:
- Magic Kingdom: $467 million
- EPCOT: $521 million
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios: $479 million
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom: $387 million
- Port Orleans: $417 million
- Grand Floridian: $295 million
- Yacht & Beach Club: $293 million
- Art of Animation: $273 million
- Coronado Springs: $263 million
- Pop Century Resort: $233 million
- Caribbean Beach: $187 million
- Contemporary: $182 million
- Animal Kingdom Lodge: $164 million
- Polynesian Village Resort: $154 million
- Blizzard Beach: $58 million
- Magic Kingdom parking lot: $52 million
Disney has sued over their property taxes every year since 2020, including twice this year. They won their suit in 2020 against Singh when it was determined he did in fact use illegal and unfair methodology to appraise the taxes. During her tenure as Appraiser, Mercado has yet to let the matter reach the courtroom and has typically been amenable to making deal with Disney over tax disputes.