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Fla. Property Taxes Still Due by March 31

Some lawmakers are pushing Gov. DeSantis to extend Fla.’s property tax deadline, but that has not happened yet. If unpaid, fees go up starting April 1.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida property taxes are due no later than March 31. If not paid, they become legally delinquent on April 1.

State Reps. Shevrin Jones and Chip LaMarca are seeking an extension of the impending property tax deadline because so many people are suddenly in financial distress because of the effects of the new coronavirus on the economy. LaMarca, a Lighthouse Point Republican, and Jones, a West Park Democrat, represent Broward County, a hotspot for coronavirus. Broward and Miami-Dade counties together account for almost half the state’s confirmed cases.

Jones and LaMarca said Tuesday they’d like to see an extension of next week’s deadline.

Jones said he’d like the governor to order a 90-day extension. LaMarca, a former Broward County commissioner, said he’s been working with the governor’s office on the issue, but it is something that requires coordination between state and county governments.

“The economy was completely shut off five days ago. We’ve got to lessen the impact on families and businesses,” LaMarca said.

“People are extremely concerned, because people are not working [and] there is no timeframe on when this will end,” Jones said.

LaMarca said he would also like a waiver of penalties for small businesses that are unable to pay to renew their license from the state. Jones said he would also like a moratorium on evictions and on rent and mortgage payments.

Ry Nielsen, 63, is nervously eying the coming deadline. He said he’s paid the property taxes on the Fort Lauderdale home he shares with his disabled older brother. But he has a $13,000 tax bill due on a waterfront home he owns in Stuart, where he’s been planning to retire and doesn’t enjoy the property tax protections of owner-occupied homesteaded property.

“My main concern is if I spend that chunk of money, I won’t have any money to live off of if I don’t get more income,” Nielsen said. If he can’t earn money, “basically all we can count on right now is his Social Security.”

He’s a landscape designer and owns a nursery that sells primarily to his clients and some to other landscapers. He said work has been suddenly, and significantly, reduced. And, Nielsen said, it’s not a good time to attempt to meet with potential new customers.

“I feel good about my prospects for earning if there weren’t for this thing,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’m a victim. I just wish they would extend that deadline. It would help take that pressure off.”

© 2020 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Anthony Man. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.