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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XIV
TAXATION AND FINANCE
Chapter 197
TAX COLLECTIONS, SALES, AND LIENS
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F.S. 197.318
197.318 Abatement of taxes for residential improvements damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Hermine, Hurricane Matthew, or Hurricane Irma.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Damage differential” means the product arrived at by multiplying the percent change in value by a ratio, the numerator of which is the number of days the residential improvement was rendered uninhabitable in the year the hurricane occurred, and the denominator of which is 365.
(b) “Disaster relief credit” means the product arrived at by multiplying the damage differential by the amount of timely paid taxes that were initially levied in the year the hurricane occurred.
(c) “Hurricane” means any of the following:
1. Hurricane Hermine, which occurred in calendar year 2016.
2. Hurricane Matthew, which occurred in calendar year 2016.
3. Hurricane Irma, which occurred in calendar year 2017.
(d) “Percent change in value” means the difference between a residential parcel’s just value as of January 1 of the year in which a hurricane occurred and its postdisaster just value expressed as a percentage of the parcel’s just value as of January 1 of the year in which the hurricane occurred.
(e) “Postdisaster just value” means the just value of the residential parcel on January 1 of the year in which a hurricane occurred, reduced to reflect the just value of the residential improvement as provided in subsection (5) as a result of the destruction and damage caused by the hurricane. Postdisaster just value is determined only for purposes of calculating tax abatements under this section and does not determine a parcel’s just value as of January 1 each year.
(f) “Residential improvement” means a residential dwelling or house that is owned and used as a homestead as defined in s. 196.012(13). A residential improvement does not include a structure that is not essential to the use and occupancy of the residential dwelling or house, including, but not limited to, a detached utility building, detached carport, detached garage, bulkhead, fence, or swimming pool, and does not include land.
(g) “Uninhabitable” means the loss of use or occupancy, resulting from Hurricane Hermine or Hurricane Matthew during the 2016 calendar year, or Hurricane Irma during the 2017 calendar year, of a residential improvement for the purpose for which it was constructed, as evidenced by documentation, including, but not limited to, utility bills, insurance information, contractors’ statements, building permit applications, or building inspection certificates of occupancy.
(2) If a residential improvement is rendered uninhabitable for at least 30 days due to damage or destruction to the property caused by Hurricane Hermine or Hurricane Matthew during the 2016 calendar year or Hurricane Irma during the 2017 calendar year, taxes initially levied in 2019 may be abated in the following manner:
(a) The property owner must file an application with the property appraiser no later than March 1, 2019. A property owner who fails to file an application by March 1, 2019, waives a claim for abatement of taxes under this section.
(b) The application shall identify the residential parcel on which the residential improvement was damaged or destroyed, the date the damage or destruction occurred, and the number of days the property was uninhabitable during the calendar year that the hurricane occurred.
(c) The application shall be verified under oath and is subject to penalty of perjury.
(d) Upon receipt of the application, the property appraiser shall investigate the statements contained in the application to determine if the applicant is entitled to an abatement of taxes. If the property appraiser determines that the applicant is not entitled to an abatement, the applicant may file a petition with the value adjustment board, pursuant to s. 194.011(3), requesting that the abatement be granted. If the property appraiser determines that the applicant is entitled to an abatement, the property appraiser shall issue an official written statement to the tax collector by April 1, 2019, which provides:
1. The number of days during the calendar year in which the hurricane occurred that the residential improvement was uninhabitable. To qualify for the abatement, the residential improvement must be uninhabitable for at least 30 days.
2. The just value of the residential parcel as determined by the property appraiser on January 1 of the year in which the hurricane for which the applicant is claiming an abatement occurred.
3. The postdisaster just value of the residential parcel as determined by the property appraiser.
4. The percent change in value applicable to the residential parcel.
(3) Upon receipt of the written statement from the property appraiser, the tax collector shall calculate the damage differential and disaster relief credit pursuant to this section and process a refund in an amount equal to the disaster relief credit.
(4) No later than May 1, 2019, the tax collector shall notify:
(a) The department of the total reduction in taxes for all properties that qualified for an abatement pursuant to this section.
(b) The governing board of each affected local government of the reduction in such local government’s taxes that will occur pursuant to this section.
(5) For purposes of this section, residential improvements that are uninhabitable shall have no value placed thereon.
(6) This section applies retroactively to January 1, 2016, and expires January 1, 2021.
History.s. 17, ch. 2018-118.