By: Brendan Lynch

As the pandemic continues to ravage many industries, senior living facilities continue to stand apart as specially impacted properties. From the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, these facilities have been in the news, not only for the devastation the virus has inflicted upon residents and staff, but also for best practices in preventing future outbreaks. As a result, the actual financial impact has taken somewhat of a back seat in the discussion. In Florida, where proposed tax notices come out in August in all 67 counties, this financial impact will come front and center.

Florida has an assessment date of January 1 of the given year, so the working presumption is that there will be little-to-no tax relief afforded any property for the 2020 tax year, unless the Legislature enacts some sort of tax rebate to impacted industries. The reason for no relief in 2020 is because as of January 1, 2020, there was no known impact from the pandemic – that will all be felt in the 2021 tax year (based on 2020 income stream). While tax rebates are being discussed, and pushed by certain trade associations, there is no concrete plan in place for this to happen.

However, that does not mean that you should simply ignore these Truth In Millage (TRIM) notices when they are mailed to you in August. Instead, a thorough examination of your 2019 income stream should take place, as well as an evaluation of what your county’s individual Property Appraiser did to assess the property. There has been a recent property tax decision in the Fifth District Court of Appeal (based on the Disney Yacht & Beach Club 2015 assessment) that states that ancillary income needs to be calculated differently. Could this apply also to senior living facilities, where a significant amount of income stream comes from non-realty related services, such as nursing, dining, and housekeeping, among others?

Lowndes recommends reaching out to a property tax professional to evaluate your 2020 proposed tax notice, and see if the valuation includes this non-realty related income.