When you obtain a Florida judgment, you will normally be granted post-judgment interest based upon Florida’s statutory rate, unless there is a contract stating otherwise.
The rules regarding calculating statutory interest are contained in section 55.03, Florida Statutes, and can be somewhat confusing since the interest rate will now change over time for judgments entered on July 1, 2011 or later.
Initial Interest Rate
When your judgment is initially entered, your interest rate is determined by the existing quarterly rate as established by Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, which rates are listed here: https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/aa/local-governments/judgement-interest-rates.
For example, if you obtained a judgment on August 2, 2016, then your initial interest rate would be 4.84% since that was the quarterly interest rate for that period beginning July 1, 2016.
Adjusted Interest Rate
In the past, your statutory interest rate on your judgment would remain constant for the life of the judgment, but this is no longer the case due to an amendment to the statute in 2011. For judgments entered on July 1, 2011 or later, the amendment applies and your interest rate will get adjusted.
Now, your interest rate will be adjusted annually based on the statutory rate that is effective on January 1st of the following year.
This is stated in section 55.03(3), Florida Statutes:
“(3) The interest rate is established at the time a judgment is obtained and such interest rate shall be adjusted annually on January 1 of each year in accordance with the interest rate in effect on that date as set by the Chief Financial Officer until the judgment is paid…..”
In my example where your judgment was obtained on August 2, 2016, your initial interest rate was 4.84% until the end of the year, but beginning on January 1, 2017, your interest rate now becomes 4.97%. Then, on January 1, 2018, your interest rate will adjust again for that year to the existing interest rate, and so forth.
How to calculate total interest on your Florida judgment
There are a few ways to calculate the interest on your judgment under the new changes.
Let’s assume the judgment was $10,000.00 and your initial interest rate was 4.84% when your judgment was granted on August 2, 2016, and you want to calculate interest up until the date of this article on April 7, 2017.
As stated previously, the initial rate of 4.84% will remain effective until the end of 2016, and then adjusts to 4.97% on January 1, 2017.
The remainder of this article will get very detailed, but the formula to use to calculate the amount of interest in a given year is the following:
(Amount of judgment) x (interest rate as decimal) / (365 or 366 if leap year) x (number of days of interest)
First, we need to figure out how much interest accrued in 2016.
If we take $10,000.00 and multiply by .0484 (4.84%) divided by 366 days (it’s a leap year), it will determine the daily interest amount in 2016, which is $1.322/day in interest. Alternatively, you can take the “daily rate as a decimal” (listed on the Chief Financial Officer page above) and multiply by $10,000.00 to get the same $1.3222/day.
From August 2, 2016, through December 31, 2016, there were 151 days of interest. For fast calculation of days, use this tool: https://www.timeanddate.com/date/timeduration.html
When you multiply $1.322 times 151 days, this equals total interest of $199.62 in the year 2016.
Next, we want to figure out how much interest has accrued in 2017.
If we take $10,000.00 and multiply by .0497 (4.97%) divided by 365 days, it will determine the daily interest amount in 2017, which is $1.361/day. Alternatively, take the “daily rate as a decimal” and multiply by $10,000.00.
From January 1, 2017, through April 7, 2017, there were 96 days.
When you multiply $1.361 times 96 days, this equals total interest of $130.65 in the year 2017.
Therefore, the total accrued interest equals $330.27 ($199.62 + $130.65), making a total judgment of $10,330.27 as of today.
To calculate the statutory interest on your Florida judgment under section 55.03(3), Florida Statutes, keep in mind that your initial rate will be adjusted annually based on the statutory rate that is effective on January 1st of the following year.
You will want to refer to the website for the Chief Financial Officer of Florida to keep track of the correct interest rate.
While I preferred the old method, this article should hopefully help you determine the total interest owed under the new changes.