On June 1, 2018 the Department of Revenue issued a bulletin which serves as a reminder of property tax relief available in tax year 2018 for certain citrus fruit packing and processing facilities. The bulletin, PTO 18-02, follows the 2018 enactment of a Florida law (Laws of Florida Ch. 2018-118) providing that tangible personal property of such facilities that is no longer used due to the effects of Hurricane Irma or citrus greening is to be assessed at no more than its market value as salvage. The law does not define “market value as salvage,” but “salvage value” in the appraisal world can be as low as scrap value. This relief is available only for 2018 assessments.
A taxpayer claiming an exemption or other special treatment for tangible personal property ordinarily does so as part of the tangible personal property return which was due (absent extension) on April 1. However, neither the law nor the DOR bulletin provides guidance about the mechanics of obtaining this relief, and the DOR return form, which was last revised before the legislation was enacted, is also silent on the issue. In our view taxpayers who did not claim the benefit of this law when filing their 2018 returns can still do so by filing an amended return. A taxpayer may also wish to seek guidance from the local property appraiser, but should in any event be sure to document the claim, including a representation that the property is no longer used due to Irma or greening. Ideally, this should be done before July 1, when property appraisers submit their tax rolls to DOR. However, even after July 1 and at least through the deadline for filing a petition with the Value Adjustment Board, a taxpayer has a substantial legal basis for claiming this benefit.