Last fall, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 22-242 on October 20, 2022, extending ad valorem property tax filing deadlines for Floridians affected by Hurricane Ian and called for a special session to address further relief. The special session concluded toward the end of the December and Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 4-A, which codified the extended deadlines in section 197.3182 of the Florida Statutes. The deadlines are exactly the same as the ones in the Executive Order; the details about those deadlines may be found here.
This was not all the Governor was able to offer Hurricane Ian victims, that same bill provided for ad valorem property tax refunds and how to qualify.
Property Tax Refunds
Senate Bill 4-A also codified section 197.3181 into the Florida statutes and contains the property tax refund for Floridians affected by Hurricane Ian. Section 197.3181 states that one may qualify “if a residential improvement is rendered uninhabitable for at least 30 days, taxes originally levied and paid for 2022 may be refunded.”
What does “uninhabitable” mean?
“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.”
What does “residential improvement” mean?
“Residential improvement” means “a residential dwelling or house on real estate used and owned as a homestead as defined in section 196.012(13) or used as non-homestead residential property as defined in section 193.1554(1). 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.”
How do I get the refund?
According to section 197.3181(2), the property owner who thinks they qualify for the refund must do the following. First, the property owner must file an application for a refund with the property appraiser on a form prescribed by the department and furnished by the property appraiser no sooner than January 1, 2023, and no later than April 1, 2023. The property appraiser may allow applications to be filed electronically.
Second, the applicant must identify on their refund application (1) the residential parcel upon which the residential improvement was rendered uninhabitable and (2) the number of days that the residential improvement was uninhabitable during 2022.
For purposes of determining uninhabitability, the application must be accompanied by supporting documentation, including, but not limited to, utility bills, insurance information, contractors’ statements, building permit applications, or building inspection certificates of occupancy.
When do I need to file?
According to the Lee County Property Appraiser’s website, they are accepting applications through April 3, 2023. For more information on how to apply, please visit their website by following this link.