Florida Legislative Update

Date October 6, 2020
Article Authors
HBK CPAs & Consultants

On September 18, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a series of tax bills.

HB 7095: The law applies to income tax for corporations doing business in Florida. Florida uses federal taxable income from federal tax returns as a beginning point to calculate corporate income tax owed to Florida. Florida updated its application of the Federal Internal Revenue Code (IRC) by adopting the code as it exists on January 1 in any given year. Adopting the code on an annual basis ensures the Florida tax code reflects any relevant changes to the IRC that were made during the prior year. The bill adopts the IRC as of January 1, 2020, applicable retroactively to January 1, 2020 which would now apply the CARES Act to Florida’s tax provisions.

HB 371: Local governments impose and collect ad valorem taxes on real and tangible personal property within Florida. All property in Florida is subject to taxation and must be assessed at just value unless an exemption or exception is authorized by the Florida Constitution. Under the homestead exemption, persons with legal and equitable title in real property on which they or their dependent permanently reside may have a portion of the just value of their property exempted from taxation. The law includes measures: 1) extending to three years from two years the time for which the accrued benefit from specified limitations on homestead property tax assessments are transferable from a prior homestead to a new homestead; 2) extending to three years from two years the time for an owner of homestead property significantly damaged or destroyed by a named tropical storm or hurricane must establish a new homestead to make a certain election; 3) removing obsolete provisions; 4) providing that the law applies beginning with the 2021 tax roll; and 5) providing a contingent effective date. The law generally takes effect Jan. 1, 2021.

HB 879: The Florida Constitution provides a discount from the amount of ad valorem tax otherwise owed on the homestead property of an honorably discharged veteran who is age 65 or older and is partially or totally and permanently disabled because of combat. The discount is equal to the percentage of the veteran’s disability as determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. If the voters approve, it allows the same ad valorem tax discount on homestead property for combat-disabled veterans age 65 or older to carry over to the surviving spouse of a veteran receiving the discount if the surviving spouse holds legal or beneficial title to the homestead and permanently resides thereon. The discount would apply to the property until the surviving spouse remarries, sells, or otherwise disposes of the property. If the surviving spouse sells the property, the discount may be transferred to the surviving spouse’s new residence, not to exceed the amount granted from the most recent ad valorem tax roll, as long as the residence is used as the surviving spouse’s permanent residence and he or she does not remarry. A spouse who is qualified to receive the discount and who fails to file an application by March 1 may file the application for the discount and may file a petition with the value adjustment board requesting that the discount be granted. The law takes effect subject to a ballot referendum at the next general election or an earlier special election specifically authorized for that purpose.

If you have questions about the Florida legislation, please contact your HBK advisor.

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