Volume 4 Number 15
April 13, 2007

Dear Floridian,

It’s tax time! This year’s deadline for filing your federal income taxes is Tuesday, April 17, 2007. If you waited until the last minute to file, you are not alone. The IRS estimates that more 20 percent of taxpayers wait until the last two weeks to file.

Please take the proper preparation and care with filing your tax return so that you can maximize your refund and avoid any costly mistakes. Filing your tax return online has become easier than ever and is a great way to prevent mail fraud.

More than 95 million Americans are eligible for free tax filing at http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=118986,00.html.

The process of filing your taxes can be long and complicated. If you need assistance, please pursue one of the following options:

  • Taxpayers can call 1-800-829-4477 at any time to reach the IRS' TeleTax line, which offers pre-recorded tips on 150 tax topics.

  • The IRS also staffs a help line at 1-800-829-1040 that is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time from Monday through Friday.

  • The IRS posts answers to its most Frequently Asked Questions at http://www.irs.gov/faqs/index.html.

If you are concerned that you may not make the deadline, you should immediately file for a six-month extension. However, you should note that any taxes you may owe are still due April 17, 2006.

Sincerely,

Alex Sink



 

 

CFO SINK ANNOUNCES MY SAFE FLORIDA HOME PROGRAM SET TO EXPAND STATEWIDE WITH 11 NEW WIND INSPECTION FIRMS
Program will resume free home inspections within two weeks

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced that 11 new windstorm inspection firms have been selected to aid Floridians interested in hardening their homes through the My Safe Florida Home (MSFH) program. After a two-month competitive bidding process, these firms were chosen based upon their scores, capacity to perform a minimum number of quality inspections each week, and in-house resources available to manage the large number of applicants to the program.

Each inspection firm must ensure that their inspectors pass Level 2 background checks, including fingerprinting and drug testing. Each inspector must also undergo the required education and training on mitigation techniques and the MSFH program.

“These inspection firms had to meet the strictest of criteria in order to be considered for this program,” said CFO Sink. “We want homeowners to be highly satisfied with the services they receive from the My Safe Florida Home Program once it expands statewide.” CONTINUED


 


 

STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE PROVIDES
FREE TRAINING FOR VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS


Nearly 200 volunteer firefighters from throughout Florida will converge this week at the Florida State Fire College in Ocala to get the latest training on firefighting and investigative techniques dealing with potential threats from agribusiness chemical accidents to bombs.

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, who also serves as State Fire Marshal and oversees the fire college, said the annual Florida Volunteer Firefighter Weekend ensures Florida’s volunteer firefighters have access to regular training to help them better protect their communities and themselves. The event begins on Wednesday and continues through Sunday, April 15, at the Florida State Fire College in Ocala. This is the 14th annual Florida Volunteer Firefighter Weekend.

“In all that we do at the State Fire Marshal’s Office, our goal is to protect the lives of Floridians, especially those who work hard to protect our families, homes and communities,” said CFO Sink. “We want to do all we can to make sure they get back to the firehouse and their families safely after every call.” CONTINUED
 

 

 

 

STUDY: INSURANCE FRAUD BIG IN FLORIDA, AND SO IS THE RESPONSE

Florida's insurance fraud division ranks second in the country, leading the nation in criminal cases it sent to prosecutors for potential trial, and ranks near the top in other key fraud-fighting categories, a Coalition Against Insurance Fraud's state fraud bureaus study shows.

"Florida has some of the largest insurance-fraud problems in the U.S. The fraud division has mounted an energetic response, but the state needs more resources, including fraud prosecutors, before it can begin turning the corner on this crime," said Dennis Jay, the Coalition's executive director, in a release.

The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud conducted an annual study of the 47 state anti-fraud agencies as a barometer of progress in fighting insurance fraud nationally, said James Quiggle, director of communications. CONTINUED


FLORIDA TRUCKING ASSOCIATION (FTA) HOSTS ITS 2007 LEGISLATIVE DAY AT THE CAPITOL

Underneath blue, sunny skies and the canopies of stately oak trees, majestic 18-wheeler trucks brushed with “No-Zone” logos had a picture-perfect stage as they rolled into the Capitol Courtyard on March 28. At the request of Senator Daniel Webster and Representative Dennis Ross, Senate and House Resolutions were presented recognizing March 28 as Truckers Day in Florida, and Governor Charlie Crist signed a Proclamation for the observance of Truckers Day at the Capitol.

FTA was indeed honored that Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink stopped by and enrolled for “No-Zone” driver education training and received her official certification from FTA Road Team Member Andy Severe, pictured to the left. CONTINUED


 

 

MISSOURI COUPLE SENTENCED FOR FRAUD 

A Missouri couple were sentenced Tuesday for taking more than $200,000 from local residents for post-Hurricane Ivan construction work but not completing it.

William and Anita Morrison, owners of the contracting company Total Response Systems, were convicted in October of bilking scores of Escambia County residents through shoddy construction work.

Circuit Judge Michael Allen sentenced William Morrison Jr. to 12 years in prison. His sentence will run consecutively with a 15-year sentence he received for vehicular manslaughter in Missouri.

Detective Robert Vose of the Department of Financial Services Division of Insurance Fraud helped with the case.
CONTINUED


LEARN MORE ABOUT FLOOD INSURANCE

Did you know that flooding is considered the nation’s number one natural disaster, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)?  The 2007 National Flood Safety Awareness Week was held March 19-23, with March 22 as Flood Insurance Day. 

Flash floods, inland flooding and seasonal storms occur both inland and on the coast and affect every region of this country.  Know that floods do not occur only within designated high-risk flood zones on the map.  Recent statistics show that from t
wenty to 25 percent of all flood insurance claims are filed in low-to-moderate flood-risk areas.  

Flood insurance is available through nearly 100 insurance companies in more than 20,200 participating communities nationwide. Everyone can purchase flood insurance - renters, business owners, and homeowners. The average flood insurance policy costs around $500 a year. And in low- to moderate-risk areas, lower-cost Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs) start at just $112 a year. CONTINUED