Understanding Florida Property Tax Relief for Hurricanes

On December 16, 2022, section 197.3181, Florida Statutes (F.S.) was signed into law providing a prorated refund of ad valorem taxes for residential improvements rendered uninhabitable by Hurricanes Ian or Nicole.

The following information from the Florida Department of Revenue will help homeowners understand the new statute.

Who Is Eligible?

If a residential improvement was rendered uninhabitable for at least 30 days due to Hurricanes Ian or Nicole, a homeowner may be eligible for a partial refund of 2022 property taxes for the time the property was uninhabitable. Under section 197.3181 F.S., “’uninhabitable” means the loss of use and occupancy of a residential improvement for the purpose for which it was constructed resulting from damage to or destruction of, or from a condition that compromises the structural integrity of, the residential improvement which was caused by Hurricane Ian or Hurricane Nicole during the 2022 calendar year.”

How Do I Apply?

Homeowners should contact the county property appraiser for the county in which the property is located to start the application process. The property appraiser will provide the Application for Hurricane Ian or Hurricane Nicole Tax Refund form. Homeowners must provide supporting documentation to determine uninhabitability. The maximum number of days that can be claimed in 2022 is 95 days for Hurricane Ian, and 52 days for Hurricane Nicole.

The application and supporting documentation must be submitted to the property appraiser by April 3, 2023. A homeowner who fails to file the application by this date waives their claim for a tax refund under the new law.

How Is the Refund Amount Calculated?

The refund amount is calculated by applying the percent change in value to the number of days the residential improvement was uninhabitable. The percent change in value is found by subtracting the January 1, 2022 just value of the residential improvement from the January 1, 2022 just value of the entire parcel to establish the post-disaster value and then calculating the percent change in value. The example below depicts these calculations.

Step One:

Find the percent change in value by subtracting the parcel’s post-disaster just value from the pre-disaster just value using the following calculations:

Change in value: $300,000 less $225,000 = $75,000
Percent change in value: $225,000 divided by $300,000 = .75 or 75%

Step Two:

Find the percent of days the residence was uninhabitable by dividing the number of days in 2022 the residential improvement was uninhabitable by the number of days in the year using the following calculations:

Percent of uninhabitable days: 95 days divided by 365 days = .26 or 26%

Step Three:

Find the damage differential by applying the percent change in value to the percent of uninhabitable days using the following calculation:

Damage differential calculation: .75 multiplied by .26 = .195

Step Four:

The refund amount is calculated by applying the damage differential to the total of 2022 property taxes paid using the following calculation:

Refund calculation: $2,250 multiplied by .195 = $438.75 refund due

How Will I Know I’m Eligible?

The property appraiser will approve or deny a homeowner’s eligibility for a refund based on the Application for Hurricane Ian or Hurricane Nicole Tax Refund form (Form DR-5001). Homeowners will be notified no later than June 1, 2023 of eligibility status. If the homeowner is eligible, the property appraiser is also responsible for notifying the tax collector.

If the homeowner is found ineligible, a petition may be filed with the value adjustment board requesting that the refund be granted. A final petition must be filed on or before the 30th day following the issuance of the notice by the property appraiser.

When In Doubt, Call the CK Team

Understanding the ins and outs of a new statute can be complex unless

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