Wealthy landowners such as Walt Disney and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson save huge amounts on their property taxes by using the "rent-a-cow" tax loophole. Disney reportedly saved himself $1.5 million and Senator Nelson saved $43,000. The state of Florida loses an estimated $950 million per year to residents taking advantage of the flawed tax code.
Before you get too excited and start packing to move to Florida, understand the tax loophole does not apply to residential property. You can't buy or rent farm animals and put it in your back yard to reduce your property taxes.
Instead, rich real-estate developers such as the likes of Donald Trump rent the cows to graze on the property they buy while waiting to start building. There is no evidence that The Donald takes advantage of the tax loophole, but there is also no evidence that a smart business person like him would NOT take advantage of it.
Having cows around enables the developers to buy land cheaply, get a huge tax break while waiting for the best time to begin development. Some developers continued to receive the tax break even after construction started!
The official name for the "rent-a-cow" law is the greenbelt law. It originated in 1959 and was put in place to save agricultural land from real-estate developers. Strangely enough, those whom the law was put in place to fight are the ones who ended up taking advantage of it. Just goes to show that every law that begins with good intentions almost always has a way for someone to abuse it or ruin it.