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September 17, 2004

Revenue Agency Provides Flexibility to Businesses, Child Support Clients Affected by Hurricane Ivan

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) will work with taxpayers and child- support customers affected by Hurricane Ivan to help them meet their obligations under the law, DOR announced Friday. Many homes and places of employment have been damaged or destroyed, and citizens' and businesses' ability to file tax returns and pay tax on time may be impacted by loss of the ability to conduct business.

"Our sympathies go out to Florida businesses, individual taxpayers, and child-support customers who have been affected by the latest in this season's deadly and devastating storms," said Jim Zingale, executive director of DOR. "We will make every attempt allowed by law to work with taxpayers during this difficult time".

Because many Panhandle area businesses will have lost electric power, Internet service, and the ability to conduct business in normal fashion, the Department will not impose penalty or interest if taxpayers in counties affected by Hurricane Ivan are unable to file tax returns and pay tax on business activity for the month of August by the close of business September 20, as is normally required. Governor Bush has requested federal disaster assistance for these affected counties: Bay, Calhoun, Dixie, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington Counties.

Businesses in the affected counties who are able to do so should file tax returns and pay tax by close of business on September 27. Businesses that file returns and pay tax by this date will be eligible for the dealer collection allowance as provided by law. Since Florida imposes few state taxes directly on citizens, the waiver of penalty would primarily affect Florida businesses.

In cases where businesses have made a good-faith effort to comply with the law but have been unable to do so by September 27, the Department will make every effort to work with these businesses. If the business has been damaged or is unable to resume operations, various payment options are available. Businesses should contact the Department's toll-free tax hotline at 1-800-352-3671.

In other hurricane-related announcements:

  • Florida corporate income-tax filers in hurricane-affected counties have until January 15, 2005, to file and pay their liability. This announcement applies to businesses that filed late corporate-income tax returns after August 11, 2004, in any county affected by any of the 2004 hurricanes.
  • DOR will waive penalty if taxpayers in any hurricane-affected county, who previously had received an extension, are unable to file returns for 2004 Florida intangible tax by the time that their 2004 extension expires Sept. 30, 2004.
  • Child-support customers who are unable to meet their obligations because of the storm should contact the Department to work out arrangements. Customers who cannot receive mail at their regular home mailing address because of Hurricane Ivan also should contact the Department. The Department has set up a special telephone number for hurricane-affected customers at 850-922-9722. The Department's toll-free child-support hotline at 1-800-622-5437 remains in operation but is experiencing heavy call volumes that may result in delays.

DOR officials have posted detailed information at on hurricane-impact tax and child support policies for the guidance of Florida businesses, tax preparers, and DOR's own employees. Businesses, tax preparers, and child support customers should closely monitor this Internet site for additional postings, or call the Department for assistance at the numbers listed above.