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

Instructional Expenses: Prek-12 Education Spending

/ Categories: Research, Education, Blog

Where and how well our school districts spend our education dollars can have a profound impact on student academic achievement and success. Historically, education makes up about one-fourth of Florida’s total budget. Florida TaxWatch believes that shifting education spending away from administrative and other expenses and toward classroom/instructional expenses is beneficial.

What’s Next: Hurricane Ian Recovery

/ Categories: Research, Hurricane Ian, Blog

On October 26, 2022, Florida TaxWatch hosted a discussion of subject matter experts to gain insight as to how Florida will overcome the impacts of Hurricane Ian as residents rebuild their homes, infrastructure, businesses, and finances. The discussion highlighted actions already taken to support residents, as well as challenges left for Florida to resolve. The Florida TaxWatch team was joined by Eve Rainey, the Executive Director of the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association; Kari Hebrank, Senior Governmental Consultant with Carlton Fields; and Fred E. Karlinsky, co-chair of the Insurance and Regulatory Transaction Practice at Greenberg Traurig. The discussion was moderated by Florida TaxWatch Senior Vice President of Research Bob Nave.

Demographic Data for Businesses and the Census

/ Categories: Research, Census, Blog

On Wednesday, August 31, Florida TaxWatch hosted a webinar “Demographic Data for Businesses & the Census” to discuss Florida’s population undercount in the 2020 Census, the impact this has on the business community, and efforts to secure more accurate data. During our webinar, we were joined by Mary Jo Hoeksema, Co-director of the Census Project; Dr. Karthick Ramakrishnan, Founder and Director of Census Legacies; Susan Racher, Vice President and CFO of Wallace H. Coulter Foundation; and Ashley Dietz, President and CEO of Florida Philanthropic Network.

IDEAS IN ACTION—It is Well Past Time to Modernize Florida's Baker & Marchman Acts

Guest Column by State Representative Patt Maney

/ Categories: Research, Blog

Patt Maney is a retired brigadier general and former county court judge who has represented District 4 (Part of Okaloosa) in the Florida House of Representatives since 2020. Reforming Florida’s civil commitment laws was one of his primary motivators for seeking legislative office because as a judge, he presided over Baker Act hearings and witnessed the law’s various shortcomings.

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