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Florida TaxWatch Offers Recommendations for Post Hurricane Ian Economic Recovery

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At the end of last week, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released the following recommendations for Florida’s economic recovery following Hurricane Ian’s devastating impact on families and businesses not only in Southwest Florida, but across 19 counties and communities.

These recommendations intend to protect Florida taxpayers from suffering long-term economic damages as the state moves forward with recovery efforts.

Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro weighed in on the recommendations on Friday.

“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. As our state continues its rescue and recovery efforts in the many weeks and months ahead, we must remember to also look toward tomorrow,” Calabro said. “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. 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.

“We are recommending several actions that the governor and legislature can act on quickly to help impacted families and businesses; including postponing tax obligations and waiving penalties or interest on late filings in affected areas; extending the date for property owners to take advantage of discounts on property taxes and special assessments; holding off on new audits or helping those who have lost their records in this storm avoid penalties and maintain their rights during future audits; and working with state and federal lawmakers to provide tax refunds if their homes or businesses are uninhabitable,” he added.

“Thank you to our board of trustees and partners for coming together with the Florida TaxWatch team to develop and help lead these economic recovery recommendations. To rehabilitate the economy and livelihoods affected by Hurricane Ian, we all need to work together to support our leaders, our communities, and our state,” Calabro said in conclusion.

Florida TaxWatch offered the following “Nine Actions Florida Should Take to Help Taxpayers Impacted by Hurricane Ian” on Friday:

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 address 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 non-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.


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