If you operate a business in the state of Florida, there is a good chance that your business’ activities are subject to the sales tax laws outlined in Chapter 212 of the Florida Statutes. If you owe delinquent sales taxes the Florida Department of Revenue will give you an opportunity to set up a stipulation agreement for the repayment of those taxes. Businesses who do not cooperate with the Department of Revenue in establishing a stipulation agreement for the repayment of the sales taxes or who continue to accrue new liabilities may have their sales tax registration revoked through the filing of an administrative complaint. Without a sales tax registration a business cannot legally engage in any business activity that is subject to sales taxes.
In addition to the revocation of their sales tax registration, owners of a business who have delinquent sales taxes can face the imposition of a penalty assessed against them personally equal to 200% of the sales taxes owed. The most imposing method the Department of Revenue will use to collect the tax is a referral to the State Attorney’s Office, who can file charges for theft of sales taxes, a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison depending on the amount of sales taxes owed.
Some of the litany of activities that are subject to Florida sales taxes include the sale of retail goods, repairs to tangible personal property such as computers or equipment, renting out real property for commercial use such as office or retail space, renting out real property for short term living accommodations such as a hotel and nonresidential cleaning services.
There are several exemptions to the collection of sales taxes depending on the type of transaction or the type of customer to whom you are selling. For example, a dealer in retail goods such as a convenience store, would collect sales taxes on the sale of beer and cigarettes but not on the sale of bread and milk, which are exempt from sales taxes. Goods that are sold to a customer who intends to resell those goods to the ultimate consumer would also be exempt from sales taxes. For example, a dealer in auto parts who sells parts to an auto repair shop may be exempt from charging sales taxes if the customer has a resale certificate.
Most businesses must file their DR-15 sales tax return on a monthly basis, due on the 20th of the month following their filing period. Businesses who collect less than $1000 in sales taxes annually may file on a quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis.
Florida assesses a late filing or late payment penalty of 10% if the return or payment of the tax is received later than the due date and charges interest at a 9% annual rate.
If you are unsure if your business activity is subject to sales taxes or you have delinquent sales taxes or you are being aggressively pursued by the Florida Department of Revenue, please seek legal advice from J David Tax Law. Our tax lawyers are experienced at handling complex sales tax issues.