Taxes Too High? Rent a Cow

In Florida, investors are saving on property taxes by claiming plots as farmland

What is the sound of money piling up? For many property developers, it's a moo. In Orange County, Fla., investors are saving more than $7 million each year by claiming that plots being converted into shopping malls and subdivisions are farmland and qualify for property-tax breaks. Farther south, near Fort Lauderdale, "we have cows walking over pavement and grazing outside hotels," says Broward County appraiser Lori Parrish. She points to a Courtyard by Marriott, where some 40 head of cattle had cut yearly taxes on the 18-acre plot to $618.94 before the hotel opened. The herd did not check out when...

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