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Even with their ample political and business heft, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld acquire faced the acrimony of the tax man.

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Property appraisers acquire challenged the big affair parks over the years over whether they were advantageous their fair share.

Elsewhere in America, adopted admiral acquire taken the aforementioned awkward access with hospitals.

But Florida Hospital and Orlando Health, Central Florida’s two better hospital systems, arise allowed from scrutiny.

I couldn’t acquisition a distinct archetype of a bounded accessible official ytic the nonprofit hospitals’ tax-exempt status, alike as they acquire developed into multibillion-dollar operations in the accomplished 10 years.

Florida Hospital’s 12 Central Florida campuses — additional two others in Florida and two out of accompaniment — took in a accumulated $3.9 billion in acquirement in 2013, the best contempo abstracts available. The anniversary balance acquirement over costs — or accumulation — quadrupled in the accomplished decade to added than $330 actor for the accessories endemic by Adventist Bloom System Sunbelt.

Orlando Bloom Inc., which owns six hospitals in Orange and Seminole counties and has stakes in two others in Lake and Osceola counties, took in $2 billion in 2013, with its anniversary accumulation added than quadrupling to added than $247 actor in the accomplished 10 years.

Their advance has appear at a bulk as the hospital chains gobbled up what were already taxpaying businesses and acreage and brought them into the nonprofit, tax-exempt fold.

If the hospitals endemic or operated by Adventist Bloom and Orlando Bloom weren’t nonprofits, they would acquire owed a accumulated $50 actor in taxes aftermost year on acreage adjourned at added than $2 billion above Orange, Seminole, Lake, Osceola and Volusia counties, according to acreage records.

But acceptable exemptions accepted to nonprofit hospitals about apple-pie their tax bills clean.

The absolute bulk in taxes paid in 2015 by the two hospital companies above all bristles counties: about $5 million.

That agency $45 actor in acreage taxes that would acquire been paid to counties, cities and schools goes uncollected above Central Florida because of generations-old tax exemptions that go unquestioned.

That’s a lot of cops, agents and parks — decidedly in Orlando, breadth both hospital systems’ capital campuses bookend burghal and breadth tax ante acquire gone up by about 35 percent for acreage owners during the aftermost eight years. In 2014, alone, Orlando aloft taxes by 17 percent.

Natural annual increases in acreage ethics annual for some of the hospitals’ arresting advance in absolute acreage holdings. But both acquire additionally been on affairs and architecture sprees.

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Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel

An aeriform photo of the campus of Florida Hospital Orlando. 

An aeriform photo of the campus of Florida Hospital Orlando. 

Since 2000, Florida Hospital bought the old Will’s Pub on Mills Avenue; Theatre Burghal and added barrio on Princeton Street; acreage in Winter Garden and Apopka; and added acreage in Orange County adjourned at added than $56 million, claiming exemptions on about 20 percent of that value. So far.

A allocation of an $8 actor amplitude purchased in 2012 is slated to abandon from the tax rolls afterwards Florida Hospital opens its newest ability in Winter Garden this year. The aforementioned will appear in Apopka, aback Florida Hospital opens a new hospital there in 2017.

The hospital asked for and accustomed an educational absolution in 2014 on a brace of Orlando accommodation complexes it has endemic aback the 1970s and uses to abode acceptance at its nursing school. That’s addition $2.5 actor off the tax rolls.

The trend alcove above Orange County. Florida Hospital claimed an absolution on a $1.6 actor medical appointment architecture in Kissimmee alpha in 2011. And a new emergency allowance in Lake Mary will aish a $2 actor bindle from the rolls afterwards it opens this year.

Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel

An aeriform photo of the campus of Orlando Health.

An aeriform photo of the campus of Orlando Health.

In the accomplished 15 years, Orlando Bloom purchased acreage in Orange County adjourned at added than $30 million, including 11 medical offices or added barrio a the hospital system’s capital burghal campus. All but $1.6 actor of that became tax exempt, including two medical appointment barrio adjourned at about $4 actor each.

If Florida Hospital and Orlando Bloom were actually burdened they would be the sixth- and eighth-largest taxpayers in Orange County, appropriately — bigger than Duke Energy, Wyndham, Westgate Resorts and SeaWorld.

Why do the hospitals adore such advantageous tax breaks?

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Back in the aboriginal 1900s, aback nonprofit hospitals were run by nuns and volunteers to affliction for the poor, governments beheld the tax exemptions as all-important for the institutions to accumulate their doors open.

Today, however, abounding nonprofit hospitals attending added like for-profit accumulated behemoths than charities.

Consider that the bounded Adventist Bloom operation, which owns Florida Hospital, trades $4.5 billion in balance mostly through bonds, barrier funds and money bazaar funds, according to its best contempo tax form.

By comparison, Orlando Health’s $851 actor in publicly-traded balance looks modest.

Local acreage appraisers say they aren’t in a position to claiming hospital tax exemptions because the federal government has ascendancy over their nonprofit status. And the Florida statutes that administer nonprofit hospitals say alone that they charge acquire Medicaid patients and accommodate “charity care,” after adage how abundant is sufficient.

“The statute is actual ambiguous and I anticipate it’s done that way purposefully,” said David Johnson, Seminole County’s acreage appraiser.

Johnson and added acreage appraisers say both hospital systems are aboveboard about acreage they own that should be taxed, such as restaurants or appointment amplitude busy to for-profit endeavors.

Steep discounts on acreage taxes, however, are aloof the alpha of nonprofit hospitals’ tax benefits.

Florida Hospital and Orlando Bloom are absolved from accompaniment and federal accumulated assets taxes and sales tax. The companies additionally accept millions of dollars from taxpayers who alive aural four appropriate demanding districts in Orange, Lake and Volusia counties.

Local governments are starting to booty notice.

For example, the burghal of Orlando adjourned with Orlando Bloom to voluntarily pay a allocation of its taxes on 11 absolved backdrop to advice armamentarium the Burghal South Neighborhood Improvement District, which was accustomed by acreage owners in the breadth in 2014.

Orlando Bloom is the better acreage buyer in the commune and after the autonomous contributions, the commune acceptable wouldn’t aggregate abundant money. The 15-year acceding costs the hospital up to $175,000 a year — a bead in the brazier on the estimated $2 actor Orlando Bloom would acquire owed aftermost year if those 11 backdrop were actually taxed, according to acreage records.

The hospitals avert their nonprofit status, adage they absorb millions of dollars on affliction for the poor, assay and apprenticeship and added association acceptable in barter for the tax breaks.

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And they are actually appropriate about abounding allowances they provide. In fact, I apperceive contiguous the bulk provided by association hospitals. Full disclosure: My ancestor is admiral of Aspire Bloom Partners, which includes a nonprofit hospital in Orange County that specializes in behavioral bloom and additionally receives tax benefits.

So does Nemours Children’s Hospital, a about newcomer to Central Florida, which specializes in pediatrics and additionally provides alms care.

But Orlando Bloom and Florida Hospital dwarf those and every added bloom affliction provider in Central Florida in agreement of admeasurement and ambit of casework and, yes, the tax break they get.

Executives at both hospitals say they authority themselves to aerial standards aback it comes to giving back.

Orlando Bloom says it provided allowances to the association admired at $235 actor in 2013, the best contempo year available. Florida Hospital put its contributions at added than $813 actor that year.

You’ll acquire to assurance the hospitals on that. Because while added states crave hospitals to accommodate a minimum bulk of allowances in adjustment to accept tax breaks, or at atomic crave the hospitals to address their benefits, Florida’s rules are amid the best allowing in the nation. Florida doesn’t set standards for — or alike formally assay — the allowances hospitals accommodate to the community.

In the aing few columns, I’ll ameliorate the hospitals’ association account figures, booty a attending at aged hospital tax districts, and appearance how added states acquire started to able bottomward on government-sanctioned tax entitlements for nonprofit hospitals.

ABOUT THE SERIES

Part 1: Central Florida’s two better hospital chains get millions in tax breaks. Should they?

Part 2: A attending at what nonprofit hospitals accord aback to Central Florida.

Part 3: Some communities still acquire hospital demanding districts. Are they account it?

Part 4: Other states are ytic nonprofit hospitals’ tax exemptions.

Data assay contributed by Charles Minshew. [email protected]

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