Volume 3 Number 13
March 27, 2006

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Last Thursday, the Florida House of Representatives voted to repeal the state intangibles tax – a tax that unfairly punishes our citizens for saving and investing, and has been a burden shouldered almost entirely by seniors, small-business owners and middle-aged savers.

As a young legislator more than 30 years ago, I was a vocal advocate of eliminating this unjust tax.   It is appalling that more than 220,000 individuals, couples and businesses in Florida today have been double-taxed, paying taxes on the money they earn as well as on the money they save. 

Moreover, it is impossible to estimate the number of people or businesses who chose to relocate to a state other than Florida to avoid having their savings taxed. Eliminating the intangibles tax will encourage a new influx of investors, entrepreneurs and retirees, which in turn will result in more investment and more growth in our economy.

I applaud state lawmakers for taking steps to abolish this unreasonable tax.

 

 


 

 

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STATEMENT FROM TOM GALLAGHER ON NEWS OF DEFICIT IN CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE CORPORATION

The House Insurance Committee received news that the anticipated deficit for Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the state’s insurer of last resort, is estimated to be $1.7 billion. Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, released the following statement on the deficit, which by law must be paid through assessments on all Florida homeowners’ insurance policies:

“This news only reinforces the need for immediate rate-relief for Florida’s property owners, which can be accomplished by using surplus sales-tax revenue to offset insurance assessments.

“In the wake of eight hurricanes in 15 months, too many Floridians are already dealing with sharply higher insurance premiums. Refunding hard-earned tax dollars to Florida’s families in the form of insurance rate-relief makes sense and is sound fiscal policy.

“State lawmakers have shown incredible leadership in helping Floridians recover quickly from these storms. Another way to help reduce the burden of storm losses is by refunding surplus sales-tax revenue, and I will continue to urge policymakers to support this measure.

“We need to also reduce the size of Citizens and its financial impact on Florida property owners, including getting out of the business of covering high-end properties and vacation homes.”


 

 

 

HOME MITIGATION FOR SAFETY AND SAVINGS

When it comes to hurricanes and tropical storms, Floridians know it pays to be prepared. To help, we have posted information on the FLDFS website designed to help you lessen the impact of a major storm or hurricane.  Whenever a tropical storm or hurricane takes aim at our state, Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher activates a special consumer helpline for assistance on any insurance matter. The number is 1-800-22-STORM, or 1-800-227-8676. Hearing-impaired residents may use a TDD to call 1-800-640-0886.

Hurricanes can cause severe damage.  Before hurricane season, you should take steps to protect your property and provide for your own safety.  The Department of Financial Services' Natural Disaster guide can help you prepare for disasters. In Florida, you may be entitled to discounts on your insurance premiums if you take measures to strengthen your home against potential hurricane damage.

Why invest in hurricane-resistant building techniques? CONTINUED


 

PREPARE FOR HURRICANE SEASON NOW BY PURCHASING FLOOD INSURANCE

It is important that property owners and renters living and doing business in Florida purchase flood insurance before the next hurricane season. Flood damage is not covered by homeowners insurance, commercial insurance or tenants insurance and flood insurance is a major part of preparation for hurricane season.

The storms of 2004 and 2005 taught Florida residents that property is vulnerable wherever it is located in the state, not just on the coast. While the risk is higher if the property is in an area designated as a flood zone by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), national flood insurance is available for property in all zones - low, moderate and high risk. The cost of the insurance is less in low- to moderate-risk areas. CONTINUED


 

IRS ESTABLISHES EMAIL BOX FOR TAXPAYERS TO REPORT PHONY EMAILS                           

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it has established an electronic mailbox for taxpayers to send information about suspicious e-mails they receive which claim to come from the IRS. Taxpayers should send the information to: phishing@irs.gov.

The IRS’s new mail box allows taxpayers to send copies of possibly fraudulent e-mails involving misuse of the IRS name and logo to the IRS for investigation. Instructions on how to properly submit one of these communications to the IRS may be found on the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov. Enter the term phishing in the search box in the upper right hand corner. Then open the article titled “How to Protect Yourself from Suspicious E-Mails” and scroll through it until you find the instructions. Following these instructions helps ensure that the bogus e-mails relayed by taxpayers retain critical elements found in the original e-mail. The IRS can use the information, URLs and links in the bogus e-mails to trace the hosting Web sites and alert authorities to help shut down these fraudulent sites. CONTINUED