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Government watchdog: state can protect people from further financial post-Ian pain

Florida TaxWatch lays out a plan to help residents recover faster.

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  • | 1:15 p.m. October 20, 2022
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Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro. (courtesy photo.)
Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro. (courtesy photo.)
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Florida TaxWatch, a nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog and taxpayer research institute, recently released nine recommendations for Florida’s economic recovery following Ian. The recommendations, according to a statement, “intend to protect Florida taxpayers from suffering long-term economic damages as the state moves forward with recovery efforts.”

Suggestions include: 

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

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

  • Provide tangible personal property relief and allow non-residential properties rendered uninhabitable to receive property tax refunds.

  • 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.

“Our thoughts are with the first responders, volunteers, elected officials and Florida families whose lives will never be the same due to the impacts of Hurricane Ian,” Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro says in a statement. “As our state continues its rescue and recovery efforts in the many weeks and months ahead, we must remember to also look toward tomorrow.”

“Florida TaxWatch, along with our board of trustees and partners, is committed to finding ways to keep this natural disaster from evolving into a long-term fiscal disaster,”  Calabro adds. “As we do whenever Florida faces a disaster or crisis, we are planning for Hurricane Ian recovery, working with the governor, state legislature, local leaders, the Florida Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service to find effective solutions as we rebuild homes, repair infrastructure and combat financial struggles.”





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