9 Actions Florida Should Take to Help Taxpayers Impacted by Hurricane Ian

1.     Postpone tax notices and waive penalties or interest for late tax filings in affected areas

2.     Extend the date for residents to take advantage of the tax discounts they would normally receive for paying property taxes and special assessments in November and postpone or defer the deadline for property tax installment payments

3.     Protect individual and business taxpayers from the risks for notices that they will likely not receive because their home or business addresses is not accessible anymore

4.     Issue no new audits in severely impacted areas, extend the statute of limitations and postpone existing audits that haven’t reached the assessment stage because these can’t be responded to while entire communities are still recovering

5.     Create procedures for fairly estimating taxes which can’t be calculated because records have been destroyed by the storm, moving away from the current method which significantly overestimates activity if no records are available

6.     Initiate procedures to offer payment plan assistance for late taxes, rather than resorting to the standard collection methods, like liens, levies, or bank freezes

7.     Retroactively apply the recently passed law that provides property tax refunds for residential property rendered uninhabitable as a result of a catastrophic event

8.     Provide tangible personal property relief and allow n on-residential properties rendered uninhabitable to receive property tax refunds

9.     Get Congress to pass a Disaster Tax Relief Act that includes provisions from past packages, including elements such as an Employee Retention Credit, an enhanced casualty loss deduction, and other relief provisions

Other Resources

Florida TaxWatch Statement on Hurricane Ian Recovery

Community Involvement

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Addressing the Medicaid Funding Gap Through a Directed Payment Program

Medicaid is a joint federal-state health insurance program that provides medical coverage to more than four million low-income Floridians. Administered by the state Agency for Health Care Administration, Medicaid is jointly funded through a federal cost-sharing agreement. During fiscal year 2020-21, Florida’s appropriated budget for Medicaid is $29.7 billion.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Medicaid enrollment has increased from 3.8 million to 4.6 million, and there is every reason to believe that Medicaid enrollment will continue to increase throughout the remainder of the current fiscal year and throughout FY 2021-2022. As more enrollees seek additional care, the cost to administer and deliver medical services to Medicaid beneficiaries throughout the state will increase. By fiscal year 2021-22, Medicaid expenditures are expected to increase to $32.6 billion with the state’s share of costs increasing by nearly $2.0 billion and the federal share of costs decreasing by around $1.0 billion.

Rising Medicaid enrollment has the two-fold effect of constraining the state’s Medicaid budget and worsening hospital Medicaid shortfalls. Any potential solution, therefore, should remedy the two problems without jeopardizing quality access to health care for populations that depend on Medicaid. One such solution is the Medicaid Directed Payment Program (DPP), which helps hospitals recoup unmet costs expended in the delivery of care by unlocking additional federal funds. The DPP is a local option that allows local governments to establish a non-ad valorem (non-property tax) special assessment that is charged solely to hospitals. Revenue generated through this special assessment is placed into a Local Provider Participation Fund (LPPF) and is matched with federal funds to provide Florida’s hospitals with the supplemental Medicaid reimbursement. This helps to ensure that the non-federal share is paid by the hospitals, rather than by individuals or businesses with no ties to Medicaid. The Medicaid DPP must be approved by the CMS and must also be authorized by the Florida Legislature annually.

Florida TaxWatch recommends the Legislature adequately fund hospitals for the services provided to ensure access to care for Florida’s Medicaid recipients. In addition, Florida TaxWatch supports authorizing a Medicaid DPP to secure additional federal Medicaid matching funds and authorize necessary spending and review by AHCA to implement this program efficiently and effectively.

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