New Year, Means New Laws in Florida

February 7, 2018

New year, new laws. In addition to changes in federal laws, several new laws have taken effect in Florida at the start of 2018. Changes in the Florida Minimum wage, State of Florida Retirement plans, property taxes, and public-records exemptions can all affect your wallet and how you conduct your business.

Florida Minimum Wage

Florida’s minimum wages rose 15 cents, from $8.10 an hour to $8.25 an hour this year. However, the current minimum wage set to $8.25 an hour is a far cry from the $15 an hour minimum wage advocated by many labor groups and legislators in recent years. Employees that customarily receive tips in the hospitality sector saw a similar 15 cent jump to $5.23 per hour, which is still two dollars below the national minimum wage.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity changes the wage each year based on fluctuations in a federal consumer price index. While some people are optimistic about the increase, other employees in cities like Miami Beach, argue that such a low minimum wage is unsustainable.

State of Florida Retirement Plans

State of Florida employees are seeing changes to how they administer their retirement assets. The new law affects mainly newly hired employees and took effect Jan. 1, 2018. The default retirement plan given to a new employee will no longer be the Florida Retirement System Pension Plan (FRS). Instead, employees who do not select a retirement plan will default into an investment plan, either the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) or Florida Investment Plan (FIP), based on employee eligibility.

Property Taxes

As a result of the federal tax overhaul, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed on December 20, 2017, Florida residents will only be able to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes starting in 2018. Naturally, the question that arose in Florida was whether you could pre-pay taxes above the $10,000.00 limit before 2018?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Primarily because taxes are not owed by you until Jan. 1 of the following year and you may not even own the property by then. Property taxes are usually not due until November and home owners cannot deduct anything until then. Also, the key assessments that determine your property taxes are not done until after the first of the year.

The value of your property is also a factor regarding the property tax question. Whether you will even hit the $10,000.00 deduction limit, means your house will likely be valued at over $500,000.

House Bill (HB 437)

House Bill 437 regarding public records and International Financial Institutions makes certain records related to qualified limited service affiliates and international trust entities confidential and exempt from copying and public inspection. The Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) must hold certain information confidential and exempt. The bill essentially clarifies Florida Housing Finance Corporation’s corporate roles and responsibilities.

If you are concerned about how recent changes in federal and state law may affect your property; OC Estate & Elder Law is up to speed on recent trends in Estate Planning, Elder Law, Probate Administration, Guardianship, Special Needs Planning, and Asset Protection. Give us a call at (954) 251-0332 for more information.