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  • 07/17/2019 8:07 AM | Scott Merritt (Administrator)

    Department of Financial Services Adds Real Estate and Builder Open House Compliance

    The Department of Financial Services has added a compliance tab and statement for Real Estate and Builder Open Houses on their Title Insurance Agent Compliance page.

    Compliance Statement:

    Our Department receives a high volume of questions from the title insurance industry. Unfortunately, these questions do not always use consistent terminology making it difficult to determine the true situation and resulting question. It is very important when we communicate with each other that we know what the other is talking about so we can assist the other. Sometimes taking time to describe the term or situation you have a question about will assist the Department with answering your question. This is particularly true when it comes to compliance questions. An example of the areas in which we often get ambiguous questions are real estate open houses. With this situation in mind, here is some guidance that we will try to keep as simple but still provide helpful guidance.

    Read full statement.

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    Pinellas County Property Appraiser Issues Statement Following New Redaction Law

    It is recommended to identify early on whether you’re dealing with a property owner that has a protected address and, therefore, is exempt from public records disclosure. Knowing early on and taking the appropriate steps will ensure that your/their transaction, appraisal or project is not delayed.

    Effective July 1st, 2019, an amendment to Section 119.071 Florida Statues – Public Records expands information exempted from public record by further defining the term “home address”. Real estate, legal, title, lending, appraisal, construction professionals and others should be aware of how this law change will impact their business.

    Read more.

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    FLTA Cyber Road Show Launched

    4 Speakers + 3 Days + 3 Cities

    Reserve your seat today. Sponsored by Flag Insurance Services and Qualia, FLTA is launching it's first road show. This September members will have the opportunity to hear from experienced professionals and consultants covering cyber exposure, basics to cyber fraud, overview on building a cyber policy and understand cyber regulatory compliance.

    When it comes to cyber security you don't want to be left behind. Space is limited, register today!

    Select your city and register today:

    Tampa 9/17

    North Orlando 9/18

    Ft. Lauderdale 9/19

    Exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities available.

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    Ygrene Presents PACE and Responds to Questions

    In June, FLTA members and future members attended a presentation by Ygrene to better understand Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). During the presentation members raised  questions in which the Ygrene team has now implemented. Specifically, prior to the meeting the pay off quote would include the payoff amount, but did not include the next year's assessed amount causing agents to withhold an uncertain amount for final payment.

    As a result, Ygrene's payoff quote now includes the next year's taxed amount (assessment) giving a complete payoff. 

    FLTA would like to thank Ygrene for presenting and collaborating to make these swift adjustments.

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    Report all cyber fraud attempts to ic3.

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    2 Ways to Report Unlawful Inducements

    See something, say something. 

    FLTA has worked hard in offering feedback over the years to help amend the Unlawful Inducement and Rebate Rule and now, as an added value, representatives may submit anonymously by emailing Anonymous@FLTA.org. Through this process FLTA will remove your information and  forward your complaint directly to DFS for their consideration.

    When submitting through normal channels or anonymously it is vitally important to:

    • include as much information as possible;
    • include specific details of events
    • include photos, documents, flyers, etc.

    Furthermore, when submitting a complaint anonymously it is also important to understand you will not receive status updates of the progress being made in your case. Of course, you may still request to be anonymous when submitting directly to DFS. Ways to submit a complaint:

    Submit to FLTA Anonymously:

    Submit directly to DFS:

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    Register for Upcoming Events

    DFS Unlawful Inducement Town Hall(s)

    • 8/8/19 Maitland, FL (SOLD OUT)
    • 9/12/19 Pensacola/Panama City Area  -  Save the Date

    Cyber Road Show


    Annual Convention

    Registration Open - November 11-13, 2019, St. Petersburg, Florida

  • 07/16/2019 5:13 PM | Scott Merritt (Administrator)

    For more information view DFS Compliance Information: Title Insurance Agents Page.

    Real Estate and Builder Open Houses

    Our Department receives a high volume of questions from the title insurance industry. Unfortunately, these questions do not always use consistent terminology making it difficult to determine the true situation and resulting question. It is very important when we communicate with each other that we know what the other is talking about so we can assist the other. Sometimes taking time to describe the term or situation you have a question about will assist the Department with answering your question. This is particularly true when it comes to compliance questions. An example of the areas in which we often get ambiguous questions are real estate open houses. With this situation in mind, here is some guidance that we will try to keep as simple but still provide helpful guidance.

    A title agent/agency may market its services to anyone, including real estate agents/brokers and lenders who will be a significant source of new business. The key is that the title agent/agency must market itself and not the broker, lender, or anyone else.

    There are multiple types of open houses:

    REALTOR:

    • Brokers Open/Brokers Open House: When a real estate broker shows homes they have listed to their realtors or other realtors. Realtor caravans would be an example. (non-public)
    • Open House: When a Realtor holds an open house for a home which they have listed to promote the home for sale to consumers. (public)

    BUILDER:

    • Builders Model Homes: Open House/Parade of Homes Event: When a builder hosts an event in a model home to promote the home to Realtors and/or consumers.

    A Brokers Open, Brokers Open House, and certain Builders events are times when a title agency should be extra cautious of violating the Florida Insurance Code and RESPA. No members of the general public, no sellers, and no buyers are in attendance. A byproduct of this meeting will be the discussions the brokers have with each other where they let each other know about the inventory each one has available for sale. The thinking is that one of the other brokers may have a buyer that will be more receptive to paying the full asking price.

    An Open House to the public is different than those detailed above because this is an opportunity for the title agent/agency to take full advantage of their audience to explain what they do and why they are better at doing it than any other title agent/agency.

    Regardless of the event type, the title agency may only advertise its own services and not perform any of the duties or functions of the broker selling the home. The title agency may have food and beverages, but that must be accompanied by materials showing what the title agency does and can do for the consumer. A title agency may NOT just drop off food or solely provide food/beverages for these events. A title agency MUST attend the event and promote its agency during the event. The title agency cannot describe the home, give tours to people visiting the home, distribute flyers about the home, "man the event" without a Realtor or builder sales associate present, promote any broker listings, etc., as these are duties and functions of the real estate broker, Realtor or builder sales associate.

    Marketing these open houses and others' events by the title agent/agency are prohibited. Licensees and persons subject to the Florida Insurance Code should refamiliarize themselves with it for compliance. Specifically, Rule 69B-186.010, F.A.C., regarding guidance in this area should be reviewed prior to any title agent/agency considering promoting open houses on their Facebook or other social media or other types of solicitation at the title agency's own time, resources and expenses, no matter how quick and inexpensive.

    Any licensee of the Department of Financial Services found to have conducted these acts is subject to discipline for violation of the Florida Insurance Code. Any other person will be referred to the appropriate state or federal agency/board, etc.

    Violations by the title insurance industry can be reported toTitle@MyFloridaCFO.com. Please email or forward as much information as you can. Please note that this guidance is not all-inclusive and any person subject to the Florida Insurance Code and/or RESPA should seek legal advice or contact their association prior to proceeding with any regulated activity.

    [See Section 626.9541, F.S. and Rule 69B-186.010, F.A.C.]

     For more information view DFS Compliance Information: Title Insurance Agents Page 

     

    Back to Industry News 

     

  • 07/16/2019 4:36 PM | Scott Merritt (Administrator)

    Clearwater, FL

    It is recommended to identify early on whether you’re dealing with a property owner that has a protected address and, therefore, is exempt from public records disclosure. Knowing early on and taking the appropriate steps will ensure that your/their transaction, appraisal or project is not delayed.

    Effective July 1st, 2019, an amendment to Section 119.071 Florida Statues – Public Records expands information exempted from public record by further defining the term “home address”. Real estate, legal, title, lending, appraisal, construction professionals and others should be aware of how this law change will impact their business.

    The defined term “home address” has been expanded to include the physical and mailing address, parcel ID number, neighborhood name and lot number, legal property description, GPS coordinates, and any other descriptive property information that could lead to the home address being revealed. As a result, the entire parcel will no longer be accessible/viewable on our website, even if you already have the parcel ID number. In addition, no exempt parcel information can be released over the phone.

    As a result, transaction, valuation and construction processes that you undertake in your daily business may be delayed unless you address some of the information gathering early in the process. Beginning July 1, 2019, the protected person must submit a notarized, written request which specifies the information to be released, the party who is authorized to receive the information and its method of delivery. By law, this is the only way for us to release any exempted information related to parcels exempt from public record.

    To assist in this process, we have created an Authorization for Release of Information Currently Exempted from Public Records form which is available in our office or for download online at https://www.pcpao.org/ under our Forms section. Upon receipt and verification of the notarized form, the specified information will be released only to the authorized party.

    The new law, reflecting all changes, may be viewed at: http://laws.flrules.org/2019/12. This notice is provided as a courtesy. To review Florida statutes or track future legislative changes that may impact you, please visit https://www.flsenate.gov or https://www.myfloridahouse.gov.

    If you would like more information about this topic, please contact the Pinellas County Property Appraiser’s Office at (727) 464-3207, or email mike@pcpao.org. 

  • 06/10/2019 9:00 AM | Scott Merritt (Administrator)

    Remote Online Notary Signed by Florida Governor

    Last week was a big week for FLTA legislative priorities where on Friday, Governor DeSantis signed into law HB 409 authorizing the use of remote online notarization by Florida notaries. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2020. FLTA will now be shifting gears to focus on rule making and an education program for certification.

    As an FLTA priority, FLTA would like to thank Governor DeSantis, Senator Brandes, Representatives Perez and Grant, and leadership for their continued support in this legislation.

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    ALTA Names New CEO, Diane Tomb

    ALTA announced it has named Diane Tomb as its new chief executive officer, effective July 1.

    Tomb, who has over 20 years of experience in the housing field, will leverage her deep advocacy and public policy expertise on behalf of ALTA and its members. 

    "Diane is a recognized leader who understands the intersection of politics and business and the importance of informed public policy advocacy. She is the right person to lead ALTA and build on its successful legacy,” said Cynthia Durham Blair NTP, ALTA’s president. "Diane was a unanimous selection by the Board, and we expect her leadership and entrepreneurial spirit will immediately benefit our members, demonstrate our value to prospective members and continue ALTA’s tradition of strong advocacy on behalf of the land title insurance and settlement services industry."

    Read full press release.

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    FLTA Launches Cyber Awareness Video - Talk with Your Real Estate Professional

    As cyber fraud, wire fraud, and email spoofing continues to rise, FLTA has assembled a video highlighting the importance of talking with your real estate professional.

    Industry professionals are encouraged to share this video on your own social platforms to promote the importance of verifying communications over the phone. 

    This issue is larger than any one company and we need to educate together.

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    Title Industry of Florida PAC Sets Goal

    The Title Industry of Florida Political Action Committee (TIFPAC) has set a goal of raising $100,000 for the 2020 campaign cycle. TIFPAC is an extension of the Florida Land Title Association focused on working with current and future legislators on protecting the integrity of public records, the consumer and the title industry.

    Support TIFPAC today!

    Supporting TIFPAC is supporting your business; stronger together.

    Contributions are not tax-deductible for business expenses and can be made online. Individual and corporate contributions accepted at all levels. Sponsored by Title Industry of Florida PAC.

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    Save the Date

    November 11-13, 2019

    St. Petersburg, Florida

    Registration Opens Soon!

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    2 Ways to Report Unlawful Inducements

    See something, say something. 

    FLTA has worked hard in offering feedback over the years to help amend the Unlawful Inducement and Rebate Rule and now, as an added value, representatives may submit anonymously by emailing Anonymous@FLTA.org. Through this process FLTA will remove your information and  forward your complaint directly to DFS for their consideration.

    When submitting through normal channels or anonymously it is vitally important to:

    • include as much information as possible;
    • include specific details of events
    • include photos, documents, flyers, etc.

    Furthermore, when submitting a complaint anonymously it is also important to understand you will not receive status updates of the progress being made in your case. Of course, you may still request to be anonymous when submitting directly to DFS. Ways to submit a complaint:

    Submit to FLTA Anonymously:

    Submit directly to DFS:

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    CORRECTION - Florida Eliminates Doc Stamps for Intra-Spousal Transfers

    The strike-through identifying the removal of the one (1) year was not included last month.

    Last month, Gov. DeSantis signed into law a broad-base relief tax package that includes language spearheaded by Past President Skip Straus removing the intra-spousal tax. This has been a long standing initiative of FLTA and the association would like to thank the leadership of Rep. Yarborough (R-Jacksonville) and Sen. Stargel (R-Lakeland) for leadership in removing this burden. In HB 7123, Section 4 reads:

    Section 4. Effective July 1, 2019, paragraph (b) of

    subsection (7) of section 201.02, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

    201.02 Tax on deeds and other instruments relating to real

    property or interests in real property.—

    (7) Taxes imposed by this section do not apply to:

    (b) A deed or other instrument that transfers or conveys

    homestead property or any interest in homestead property between spouses, if the only consideration for the transfer or conveyance is the amount of a mortgage or other lien encumbering the homestead property at the time of the transfer or conveyance and if the deed or other instrument is recorded within 1 year after the date of the marriage. This paragraph applies to transfers or conveyances from one spouse to another, from one spouse to both spouses, or from both spouses to one spouse. For the purpose of this paragraph, the term "homestead property" has the same meaning as the term "homestead" as defined in s.192.001.

    Read the full Senate Press Release outlining the tax relief package.

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    Register for Upcoming Events

    Lunch and Learn

    June 13 - PACE in West Palm Beach with Ygrene (SOLD OUT)

    Annual Convention

    Save the Date - November 11-13, 2019

    St. Petersburg, Florida


  • 06/08/2019 10:44 AM | Scott Merritt (Administrator)

    As cyber fraud, wire fraud, and email spoofing continues to rise, FLTA has assembled a video highlighting the importance of talking with your real estate professional.

    Industry professionals are encouraged to share this video on your own social platforms to promote the importance of verifying communications over the phone. 

    This issue is larger than any one company and we need to educate together.

      

  • 06/08/2019 10:41 AM | Scott Merritt (Administrator)

    Last week was a big week for FLTA legislative priorities where on Friday Governor DeSantis signed into law HB 409 authorizing the use of remote online notarization by Florida notaries. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2020. FLTA will now be shifting gears to focus on rule making and an education program for certification.

    As an FLTA priority, FLTA would like to thank Governor DeSantis, Senator Brandes, Representatives Perez and Grant, and leadership for their continued support in this legislation.

      

  • 06/03/2019 3:06 PM | Scott Merritt (Administrator)

    ALTA announced it has named Diane Tomb as its new chief executive officer, effective July 1.

    Tomb, who has over 20 years of experience in the housing field, will leverage her deep advocacy and public policy expertise on behalf of ALTA and its members. 

    "Diane is a recognized leader who understands the intersection of politics and business and the importance of informed public policy advocacy. She is the right person to lead ALTA and build on its successful legacy,” said Cynthia Durham Blair NTP, ALTA’s president. "Diane was a unanimous selection by the Board, and we expect her leadership and entrepreneurial spirit will immediately benefit our members, demonstrate our value to prospective members and continue ALTA’s tradition of strong advocacy on behalf of the land title insurance and settlement services industry."

    Tomb previously served as the executive director of the National Rental Home Council. She also served as president and CEO of the National Association of Women Business Owners. Previously, she served as Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the George W. Bush administration. In 2003, Tomb founded D.C.-based public affairs and business advisory firm Tomb & Associates LLC. In addition, Tomb was a senior executive at the Fannie Mae Foundation and worked in the White House under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

    In 2017, Tomb was named one of HousingWire’s Women of Influence, a recognition awarded to the most influential women in the housing industry. She currently serves as a commissioner on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform and on the Board of Visitors at the Fund for American Studies. Tomb is also a member of the International Women’s Forum of Washington, D.C.

    “I am honored to join ALTA and look forward to leading this organization and working with the ALTA team to build upon the great success it has achieved to date,” Tomb said. “I’m also excited to work with ALTA members and all stakeholders across the title, settlement, mortgage and real estate industries to ensure we continue to protect property rights and deliver an exceptional closing experience for consumers.”

    Tomb earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she now lives in Virginia with her husband and three children.

     

     

  • 05/17/2019 11:11 AM | Scott Merritt (Administrator)

    May 2019

    2019 Florida Legislative Session Concludes

    Last week closed out a big week for FLTA and Florida. For all intense purposes the 2019 legislative session closed out on Friday, May 3rdand officially adjourned with approval of the $91B State budget on Saturday, May 4th. During the past 60 plus days the association focused on several initiatives including Remote Online Notary, Public Records for Law Enforcement Personnel, closing out expired building permits, implementation of a blockchain working group and a long standing initiative of removing intra-spousal homestead doc stamps. Here are where things stand today.

    Read more on the FLTA issues here.

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    FLTA Lobby Days Attendees Hear from DFS

    Each year FLTA hosts Lobby Daysallowing its members to come together with a unified voice to educate legislators on the title industry. This year was no different, though the event experienced one of the largest turnouts in some time.


    In addition to meeting with legislators attendees also had the opportunity to ask questions and interact with Department of Financial Services representatives Matthew Guy and Ray Wenger, along with Office of Insurance Regulation's, Jeffrey Joseph. The headlining the town hall was the Unlawful Inducement and Rebate Rule

    In gaining clarification on the use of gift cards, appropriate social media interactions and general marketing practices, much of the remaining questions revolved around when a sales or marketing team member must be licensed.

    In all, the 3 hour town hall was full of information and conversation.

    In next steps, FLTA is looking forward to spreading the message on suggested practices and bringing clarity to these recurring questions. This will be an ongoing initiative.

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    2 Ways to Report Unlawful Inducements

    See something, say something. 

    FLTA has worked hard in offering feedback over the years to help amend the Unlawful Inducement and Rebate Rule and now, as an added value, representatives may submit anonymously by emailingAnonymous@FLTA.org. Through this process FLTA will remove your information and  forward your complaint directly to DFS for their consideration.

    When submitting through normal channels or anonymously it is vitally important to:

    • include as much information as possible;
    • include specific details of events
    • include photos, documents, flyers, etc.

    Furthermore, when submitting a complaint anonymously it is also important to understand you willnotreceive status updates of the progress being made in your case. Of course, you may still request to be anonymous when submitting directly to DFS. Ways to submit a complaint:

    Submit to FLTA Anonymously:
    Submit directly to DFS:

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    Florida Eliminates Doc Stamps for Intra-Spousal Transfers

    On Wednesday, Gov. DeSantis signed into law a broad-base relief tax package that includes language spearheaded by Past President Skip Straus removing the intra-spousal tax. This has been a long standing initiative of FLTA and the association would like to thank the leadership of Rep. Yarborough (R-Jacksonville) and Sen. Stargel (R-Lakeland) for leadership in removing this burden. InHB 7123, Section 4 reads:

    Section 4. Effective July 1, 2019, paragraph (b) of

    subsection (7) of section 201.02, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

    201.02 Tax on deeds and other instruments relating to real

    property or interests in real property.—

    (7) Taxes imposed by this section do not apply to:

    (b) A deed or other instrument that transfers or conveys

    homestead property or any interest in homestead property between spouses, if the only consideration for the transfer or conveyance is the amount of a mortgage or other lien encumbering the homestead property at the time of the transfer or conveyance and if the deed or other instrument is recorded within 1 year after the date of the marriage. This paragraph applies to transfers or conveyances from one spouse to another, from one spouse to both spouses, or from both spouses to one spouse. For the purpose of this paragraph, the term "homestead property" has the same meaning as the term "homestead" as defined in s.192.001.

    Read the full Senate Press Release outlining the tax relief package.

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    Blockchain Working Group - Need Title Representative

    Blockchain continues it's path of expansion with added interest in Florida this Session. Sen. Gruters (R-Sarasota) and Rep. Santiago (R-Deltona) championed this bill that will ultimately form a 13-member working group to study the impact to Florida the technology could offer once signed by the Governor.

    Because of it's impact to the title industry, FLTA is pushing to have an industry representative with Blockchain expertise be a part of this group. If you, or a representative from your company is an expert and has interest, please informScott Merrittof your interest byWednesday, May 22nd for consideration. Appointed group members will ultimately be made the Governor, CFO, Senate President and Speaker of the House.

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    2020 Legislative Dates Set

    The 2019 Session may have adjourned just 10 days ago, but Senate President Galvano and House Speaker Oliva have announced the 2020 legislative schedule to include:

    Sept. 16-20, 2019  Committee Week 1

    Oct.14-18, 2019

    Committee Week2
    Oct. 21-25, 2019  Committee Week 3
    Nov. 4-8, 2019  Committee Week 4
    Nov. 12-15, 2019  Committee Week 5
    Dec. 9-13, 2019  Committee Week 6
    Jan. 14, 2020

     Regular Session Convenes

    Noon, Deadline for Filing Bills 

    March 3, 2020

     50th day rule (Senate)

    Last day for regularly

    scheduled committee mtgs.

    March 13, 2020

     60th day -

    Last day of Regular Session


    With an early session ahead of us, the Government Affairs Committee has initiated next steps by identifying some 2020 initiatives to include issues like Flat Fee Recording, a MRTA fix to the Calusa case, support the Start/Stop initiative by RPPTL, and improve the Sunbiz notifying interested parties process along with others.

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    FLTA Career Center

    Last month the Succession Planning Sub-Committee of FLTA's Education Committee set out to help identify the needs or gaps within the future hiring of the industry. While the results were fairly telling it appears their are areas of "opportunity" for future growth.

    Are you hiring?UseFLTA's career center supported by Indeed to find your next recruit.

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    Register for Upcoming Events

    Upcoming Webinars to Save the Date:

    June 6: Ethics for Leadership in Title Companies

    Lunch and Learn

    June 13 - PACE in West Palm Beach with Ygrene

    Annual Convention

    Save the Date - November 11-13, 2019

    St. Petersburg, Florida

      

  • 05/16/2019 2:43 PM | Scott Merritt (Administrator)

    Broad-Based Tax Relief Package Signed Into Law

    Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday, Lower Business Rent Tax, Tax Relief for Hurricane Preparation and Recovery

    Tallahassee–Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) today offered the following comments regarding Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signing House Bill 7123, Taxation, into law. The legislation will deliver broad-based tax relief to families and businesses across the state, with a focus on sales tax holidays that offer a tax savings for Florida families preparing for the upcoming 2019 Hurricane Season and the 2019-2020 school year, as well as several tax relief benefits related to hurricane response and recovery.  In total, the bill provides approximately $121 million in tax relief. Additionally, while providing unprecedented overall and per-student funding for K-12 Education, provisions of Senate Bill 2500, the General Appropriations Act, lower the property tax rate that supports funding for public schools.

     

    “I am grateful to Governor DeSantis for signing this broad-based and meaningful tax relief legislation into law,” said President Galvano. “With the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season just around the corner, this legislation offers Florida families a tax savings when they purchase hurricane preparedness supplies. Additionally, the August “Back-To-School” Sales Tax Holiday offers a savings for families managing the cost to prepare children for the new school year. We also take another step to reduce the business rent tax, which will help the small businesses in our communities that lease property, and include targeted tax relief for the agricultural communities in Florida’s Panhandle devastated by Hurricane Michael.”

     

    Establishes the 2019 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday

    The legislation creates a five-day “back-to-school” sales tax holiday from August 2 to August 6, 2019, for clothing, footwear, and backpacks costing $60 or less, school supplies costing $15 or less, and personal computers or personal computer-related accessories costing $1,000 or less per item.

     

    Establishes the 2019 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

    The legislation creates a seven-day “disaster preparedness” sales tax holiday from May 31 to June 6, 2019, for disaster preparedness supplies. Some examples of tax-free items include: flashlights and lanterns costing $20 or less; radios and tarps costing $50 or less; coolers and batteries costing $30 or less; and, generators costing $750 or less.

     

    Creates Tax Exemptions for Hurricane Michael Recovery

    The legislation creates several tax relief benefits related to hurricane response and recovery including:

      ·        Tangible personal property owned and operated by a farm, farm operation, or agriculture processing facility located in Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, or Wakulla County that was unable to be used for at least 60 days following Hurricane Michael will be valued at its salvage value for the 2019 property tax roll.
      ·        Sales tax exemption for building materials used to replace or repair nonresidential farm buildings damaged as a direct result of Hurricane Michael and purchased during the period from October 10, 2018, through June 30, 2019.

     

      ·        Sales tax exemption for fencing materials used to replace or repair farm fences on agricultural land damaged as a direct result of Hurricane Michael and purchased during the period from October 10, 2018, through June 30, 2019.

     

      ·        Refund of fuel taxes used for agricultural shipments or hurricane debris removal after Hurricane Michael. The exemption applies to state and local taxes on fuel purchased and used in Florida during the period of October 10, 2018, through June 30, 2019.

    Reduces Business Rent Tax

    The legislation permanently lowers the sales tax charged on commercial leases. In 2017, the Legislature lowered the six percent tax on the total rent or license fee charged for renting any real property from 6 percent to 5.8 percent. In 2018, the Legislature further reduced the business rent tax from 5.8 percent to 5.7 percent. HB 7123 further reduces the business rent tax from 5.7 percent to 5.5 percent. Florida is the only state in the country to impose this type of tax on businesses. 

     

    Additional Tax Relief Measures

    • Extends the time period insurance companies can make qualifying contributions to a Scholarship Funding Organization.
    • Current law exempts transfers of homestead property between spouses from documentary stamp tax when the transfer occurs within one year of marriage. The amendment removes the one-year limitation. Florida Land Title Association Initiative.
    • Exempts from sales tax property purchased by a business for resale that is donated to a charitable organization.
    • Further reduces certain traffic fines, from a 9% reduction to an 18% reduction in the fine, when the driver attends traffic school.

     

    Background: As Florida continues to recover from the Great Recession, the Legislature has prioritized broad-based tax relief for Florida’s families and businesses.

     

    2018: House Bill 7087 established Back-to-School and Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holidays, further reduced the business rent tax, and created several exemptions related to hurricane response, preparedness and recovery, while the state budget reduced local property tax rates.

     

    2017: House Bill 7109 established Back-to-School and Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holidays, created a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products, and reduced the business rent tax, while the state budget reduced local property tax rates.

     

    2016: House Bill 7099 permanently eliminated the sales tax for machinery and manufacturing equipment, and established a Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, while the state budget reduced local property tax rates.

     

     

    2015: House Bill 33-A permanently decreased the communication services tax (CST) on Floridians’ phones and television services, instituted a Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, and among other tax relief measures, eliminated the sales tax charged to returning service members and their families who purchased a vehicle overseas.

     

     

    2014: House Bill 5601 established Back-to-School and Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holidays; created permanent sales tax exemptions for children’s car seats, booster seats, and bicycle helmets; and provided a nearly $400 million reduction in vehicle registration fees.  The legislation reduced certain annual fees paid to register a motor vehicle to the amount paid prior to 2009. In addition to other tax relief measures passed in 2014, this legislation provided annual fee relief to every Floridian who registers a car or truck.

     

    For more information, please visit www.FLSenate.gov.

     

  • 05/05/2019 11:25 AM | Scott Merritt (Administrator)

    Last week closed out a big week for FLTA and Florida. For all intense purposes the 2019 legislative session closed out on Friday and officially adjourned with approval of the State budget on Saturday. During the past 60 plus days the association focused on several initiatives including Remote Online Notary, Public Records for Law Enforcement Personnel, closing out expired building permits, implementation of a blockchain working group and a long standing initiative of removing inter spousal doc stamps. Here are where things stand today:

    Electronic Legal Documents

    HB 409 by Rep. Perez (R-Miami) and SB 548 by Sen. Brandes (R-St. Petersburg)

    Authorizes online notarizations; specifies requirements & standards for performance of such online notarizations; requires DOS to adopt rules by specified date. Effective Date:January 1, 2020

    HB 409 passed the House by a vote of 87-28 and the State Senate by a vote of 39-0 and will now head to Governor DeSantis for his consideration.

    Taxation - Intraspousal Transfer of Homestead Property

    HB 7123 by Rep. Avila

    This bill is tax relief legislation that includes language eliminating DOC stamps for intraspousal transfer of property.   

    HB 7123 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 81-25 and the State Senate by a vote of  23-17.  The bill will now head to Governor DeSantis for his consideration.

    Building Permits

    HB 447 by Rep. Diamond (D-St. Petersburg) and Sen. Perry (R-Gainesville)

    Authorizes counties & local government to provide notice to certain persons; authorizes counties & local governments to charge person one search fee in certain amount; provides exemptions to certain contracting requirements; authorizes local enforcement agency to close permit; provides that contractor is not liable in certain circumstances; prohibits local enforcement agency from penalizing certain purchasers of property.

    HB 447 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 109-0 and the State Senate by a vote of 40-0 and will now head to Governor DeSantis for his consideration.

    Blockchain Workgroup

    SB 1024 by Sen. Gruters (R-Sarasota) and Rep. Santiago (R-Deltona)

    Establishes Florida Blockchain Working Group in DFS; provides for membership & duties of working group; requires working group to submit report to Governor & Legislature & make presentations; requires department to provide support staff & other assistance to working group; provides for termination of working group.

    SB 1024 passed the Senate by a vote of 39-0 and the House of Representatives by a vote of 113-0 and will now head to Governor DeSantis for his consideration.

    Public Records Exemption Expansion – Law Enforcement Home Address

    CS/CS/CS/SB 248 by Sen. Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) and Rep. Zika (R-Miami)

    This legislation expands a current public records exemption for law enforcement personnel’s home address and removes information critical to the title industry, specifically the legal property description, parcel identification number or any other property information that could reveal the home address of the law enforcement personnel.  Both bills include language to authorize the protected employee to waive the confidentiality so the title industry can complete their work.

    SB 248 passed the State Senate by a vote of 39-0 and the House of Representatives by a vote of 116-0.  Governor DeSantis has approved this legislation as Chapter Law 2019-12.

      

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