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Florida Sales Tax Guide

By Cristina Garza

🐊💦🌴 Florida is a state quite unlike any other! With its mixture of abundant natural wonders and man-made splendor, many small businesses are thrilled to call Florida their home. If you are lucky enough to count yourselves among those growing a small business in Florida, you’ll want to ensure that your business complies with its various sales tax laws and policies. No worry! We have put together this handy-dandy guide so that you can be better prepared to meet all tax requirements for a business in Florida.

After reading this guide, you will know the answers to some of the most common questions:

  • How to be prepared for your call with the Florida Department of Revenue.
  • How to contact the Florida Department of Revenue.
  • When to charge sales tax in Florida.
  • What goods, products, and services are taxable in Florida.
  • When you establish a sales tax nexus with the state of Florida, and the nuances of various thresholds.
  • How to register for a sales tax license in Florida.
  • How to collect sales tax in Florida.
  • How to file and pay sales tax in Florida.

If, after reading, you still have any questions to help you determine your tax sales obligations in Florida and how to fulfill them, we are here for your small business bookkeeping needs!

 

Florida Sales Tax Contacts

 

Florida Sales Tax Contacts

 

✅ Do you need to contact the Florida Department of Revenue?

✅ Are you unsure if you should visit, call them, or contact them through their website?

✅ Do you wonder what information you should have ready before you contact them?

 

If you answered “Yes” to these questions, we have just the information you need! :)

You can reach the Florida Department of Revenue by phone at 850-488-6800.

Alternatively, you may also send an email to DORGTA@floridarevenue.com or visit one of their Taxpayer Service Centers. If you are looking for help quickly, we highly suggest you call rather than send a message or wait in line.

When you call the Florida Department of Revenue, you want to have some information on hand. It will save time to have the following information easily accessible before you call:

  • Taxpayer Name
  • EIN
  • Sales & Use Tax ID Number

If you are calling on behalf of an individual or a business, or having a third party call on your behalf, you must have a Florida Power of Attorney (PDF) signed before you call or else you will be wasting your time; they can only .

If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact us so we can assist you with your sales tax needs.

 

 

Register for Sales Tax in Florida

 

Florida Sales Tax Registration

Are you a new business selling tangible items in the state of Florida? If yes, you are going to need to register your business so that you can pay your sales tax on time.

Luckily, there is no reason to worry as you only need to do this once and we’re about to fully prepare you. As long as there are no major changes (such as a change in ownership or structure) to your business, you will not be required to renew or make changes to your sales tax permit.

We are going to detail the steps below so you are ready to register for your sales license.

Here we go! Don’t forget...

Preparation is key.

Let’s get started!

 

 

How do I register to collect sales tax in Florida?

You can apply or register for a Florida sales and use tax permit by visiting the Florida Department of Revenue and following the instructions provided.

Technically, you have two options when signing a new business up for a Florida sales tax permit, though we always recommend going with the online option:

  1. Complete paper form DR-1 Application (PDF) and return it to any local tax office.
  2. Complete the online version of form DR-1 here.

Again, we highly recommend that you use the online form as it will allow your business to get set up faster, and with less potential headache.

 

 

What information do I need to register for a Florida sales tax permit?

Great question!

Before you sign up for Florida sales tax permit you want to have the following information easily accessible:

  • Business name
  • Business entity type
  • Description of business activities
  • Date business activities began or will begin
  • Business address and mailing address
  • Business contact information
  • Associated business entities
  • NAICS code that best matches the business
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
  • List of business officers, partners, managing members, and/or trustees

Don’t forget! Preparation is key. When you have all this information ready, you can go online and register for your permit at the Florida Business Tax Application (DR-1) website.

 

 

How much does it cost to register for a Florida sales tax permit?

This answer you are sure to love: The cost to register a new business entity in Florida is zero, zilch, nada, $0.00!

 

Do I need a Federal Tax ID Number or EIN to register for A Florida sales tax permit?

Absolutely, yes! You will need one. If you don’t already have one and need to get an EIN, it’s a painless and quick process; you can easily register for a Federal EIN here :).

 

 

Which agencies in Florida do I need to additionally register with?

You may need to apply to some of the following agencies:

You’ll want to give this some thought and do a little research or investigating; since every business is unique, and there are such different rules, regulations, and laws that may apply.

We suggest contacting to the Florida Department of Revenue to verify which government agencies you will be required to register with.

 

*****

 

You’re set!

You are now prepared to register for your Florida sales tax permit in Florida.

Let’s summarize where we reviewed:

  • Have all the required information easily accessible before registering online.
  • Acquire a tax ID or EIN before registering for a Florida sales tax permit.
  • Register online at the Florida Department of Revenue website.
  • Look into what other agencies you may have to additionally register with.

Registering for your Florida sales tax permit will be stress free as long as you are prepared. We recommend organizing all the essential information in a folder, preferably using a system like Box.com or Dropbox.

 

Florida Sales Tax Contacts

 

Florida Sales Tax FAQ

By now, you may have already contacted the Florida Department of Revenue and applied for a Florida sales tax permit.

Once you have a license to collect and remit sales taxes in Florida, you will probably be asking yourself two questions:

  • When do I charge a sales tax in Florida?
  • What goods and services are subject to sales taxes in Florida?

We are going to go over some common questions that our clients have asked. We believe these questions will help you appreciate the nuances of taxable goods so you can be confident in fulfilling your tax obligations.

Let’s start with the first question…

 

What goods and services are considered taxable in Florida?

The following items are all taxable in the state of Florida:

  • Sales of tangible goods at retail.
  • Repairs or alterations of tangible personal property.
  • Property rentals, leases, or licenses [e.g. commercial, mini-warehouse]
  • Selling service warranty contracts.
  • Short-term rentals for living accommodations (e.g. motel/hotel, beach houses, condos, timeshares, vacation homes, or RV homes).
  • Rental/lease of personal goods (e.g.: machinery, vehicles, equipment, or other property).
  • Charges for admission to any place of amusement, sport, or recreation.
  • Manufacturing or producing goods for retail sales.
  • Operating vending machines or amusement rides.
  • Providing taxable services (e.g.: investigative and crime protection services, interior nonresidential cleaning services, or nonresidential pest control services).

 

The bottom line is …

Your business is responsible for taxes on all non-exempt transactions.

 

*****

 

Let’s now review some of our clients’ frequently asked questions:

  • Is Florida an Origin or Destination sales tax State?
  • What creates a sales tax nexus in Florida?
  • What is the economic threshold in Florida?
  • Does Amazon have fulfillment centers in Florida?
  • Does Florida have a Click-Through Nexus?

To better understand your tax obligations, new businesses need to consider how they are doing business and the type of relationships they have with buyers and any third parties to their transactions.

Let’s discuss some questions that will help you understand the nature of your own business and the subsequent tax implications.



Is Florida an origin or destination sales tax state?

Florida is a Destination-Based sales tax state, with a potential additional discretionary sales surtax based off which county the buyer lives in. This means you’ll need to have a Point-of-Sales system configured to track tax based off the buyer’s location.

 

Protip: Charge Florida Sales Tax based on the location of the buyer.

 

 

What creates a tax nexus with the state of Florida?

Having nexus, also known as "sufficient business presence,” with Florida means your business has established a taxing connection with a state. When this happens, you are required to collect and remit sales tax in Florida because you created a sales tax Nexus.

Even if your business maintains its main headquarters in another state, you may still have to charge and pay sales tax to the Florida Department of Revenue even if you never step foot in Florida.

So, how do you create a sales tax Nexus in Florida?

 

A business establishes a nexus in Florida by:

  • having a business location in Florida;
  • having property stored in Florida;
  • employing any person in Florida;
  • contracting with a salesperson or other agent in Florida;
  • leasing equipment used in Florida;
  • performing services in Florida;
  • licensing the use of intangible property in Florida, or transporting property in Florida using the taxpayer’s vehicles.

Let’s talk a bit more specifically about where your goods are stored such as in the instance of an Amazon warehouse.

 

 

Does Amazon have fulfillment centers in Florida?

Yes, there are four Amazon fulfillment centers in Florida at the following addresses:

  • 12900 Pecan Park Rd. Jacksonville, FL 32218-2432
  • 13333 103rd St. Cecil Commerce Center Jacksonville, FL 32221-8686
  • 3350 Laurel Ridge Ave Ruskin, FL 33570
  • 1760 County Line Rd Lakeland, FL 33811-1808

You want to know this if you sell your products on Amazon or are recognized as an Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) seller. When Amazon stores your products in one of its fulfillment centers in any state including Florida, this triggers a sales tax requirement. If Amazon is storing your products in a warehouse in Florida, you have created a taxing connection with the state of Florida.

We can help guide you through this process. We often use A2X + Wherestock to identify where our clients' inventory is currently being held and shipped from so that we can keep them in compliance.

 

 

Does Florida have economic nexus?

Nope! Though they briefly flirted with passing such a bill, they don’t at this time require out of state business to register based off economic thresholds.

 

 

Does Florida have click-through nexus?

Nope, Florida has no click-through nexus requirements; affiliate marketers are safe from excess tax at this time.

 

*****

 

Collecting sales taxes in the state of Florida needn’t be painful! Just remember to get your ducks in a row; making sure that you pay your taxes on time to avoid penalties and interest.

Before we conclude this topic, there’s a related question our clients regularly ask…

 

Is Florida a streamlined sales tax state?

Nope! At the time of this article’s writing Florida doesn’t participate in the multistate program.

Here’s hoping that they might join forces with this organization in the future 🤞!

 

Manage your tax needs more effectively by keeping this guide handy.

You and your business can be better-equipped to avoid situations like paying fines, paying back taxes that you did know you had to pay in the first place, or facing an audit by the tax authorities in Florida.

 

 

Collecting sales Tax in Florida

If you are a business that has established a nexus with Florida, you are required to collect sales tax. Knowing this is just half the battle! Now, we are going to help you with the next half of the battle: how to navigate the process of collecting taxes.

Let’s review some common questions our clients have asked regarding their Florida Sales Tax obligations.

  • How do I collect Florida Sales Tax?
  • Who is eligible for Florida Sales Tax exemptions?
  • What should I do if my customer is exempt from sales tax in Florida?
  • What happens if I lose a Florida nontaxable transaction certificate?

After reading this, you will be better equipped to determine when --and when not-- to collect sales tax in Florida.

 

How do I collect Florida Sales Tax?

Remember when we noted that Florida is a destination-based sales tax state? This means that the ultimate rate to charge will vary in accordance with the discretionary sales surtax for the county in which the buyer is located.

Any Point-of-Sales software worth its price should have this capability baked in. If the one you’re using does not, we can always recommend a superior solution. That’s the kind of nerding out that we love to do for our clients! 🤓🤩

 

 

What are the current Florida Sales Tax rates?

Since sales tax rates change frequently- and vary by what is being sold, We are going to refer you to check out the Florida Department of Revenue site here.

It can’t hurt to double check the sales tax rates to be sure.

 

 

What is exempt from Florida Sales Tax?

 

Sales Tax Exemptions in Florida

 

Here is a list of exemptions:

  • purchases for resale
  • most sales to or by the federal and Florida State governments, charitable organizations, tribal organization and certain other exempt organizations
  • Vitamins and minerals
  • groceries
  • Web hosting and graphic design work

For more information, see an exhaustive list here (PDF) for more details.

 

Who are eligible for Florida Sales Tax exemptions?

At this point, you should know what products are exempt from sales tax in Florida. You also want to know who may be exempt.

Under Florida law, the type of buyer or the way the goods will be used can qualify can buyer for a sales tax exemption. A good example of this is a merchant purchasing goods for resale, aka a wholesaler.

Other common examples of an exempt buyer may include:

  • Government agencies
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Religious groups
  • Out-of-state buyers (should their business not have nexus in their home state).

Altogether, sales tax exemptions apply if the buyer falls under one of these categories.

Florida actually makes it easy to verify the status of an exemption certificate via their sales tax exemption checking website.

 

 

 

What should I do if my customer is exempt from sales tax in Florida?

As a business owner, you will most likely have a buyer who qualifies for a sales tax exemption.

It is up to you to collect and verify a Florida sales tax exemption certificate at the point of sale and to keep it on file.

Failure to produce the tax exemption certificate may result in the outstanding tax being passed on to the seller, based on the ordinary care standard which will hold the seller responsible if they failed to collect sales taxes when they knew they should have or if they knew the buyer’s exemption certificate was a fake.

Remember, you want to collect and file a copy of the certificate. Such certificates must be produced upon request in the event of an audit to justify tax-exempt sales.

 

 

What happens if I lose a Florida Sales Tax exemption certificate?

Youch! Obviously this issue is best to be avoided. Finding out you’ll be audited and learning you cannot produce an exemption certificate for a buyer would mean you could be held liable to pay all taxes on behalf of the buyer. This is a bad scene and can be avoided by taking care with your paperwork… which happens to be one of our specialties! :)

 

 

Does Florida have a sales tax holiday?

Yes! 🎉🎉🎉 There is a Back to School sales tax holiday where select items are exempt in August. In 2019 there was also a disaster preparedness tax holiday that transpired at the end of May.

 

*****

 

We have now covered who you need to collect sales taxes from, how to determine whether goods for sale are deemed taxable, what goods and services fall under tax exemptions, who is eligible for tax exemption certificates, and, finally, the process of collecting sales tax in Florida state.

Now that we’re this far down the rabbit hole there’s only one thing we need to learn about next… how to pay the piper!

 

 

Filing and Paying Sales Tax in Florida

 

Filing and Paying sales Tax in Florida

It is time to talk about filing and paying your sales taxes in Florida. In this section, We are going to cover the following frequently asked questions from our clients:

  • When is Florida Sales Tax due?
  • What are the Florida Sales Tax thresholds?
  • What if a Florida Sales Tax filing date falls on a weekend or holiday?
  • How do I file a Florida Sales Tax Return?
  • How do I correct a Florida Sales Tax return?
  • What happens if I don’t collect sales tax?
  • What happens if I file or pay my sales tax return late?
  • Do I need to file a return if I don’t collect any sales tax in Florida?
  • If I close my business, do I need to file a final sales tax return?
  • Does the Florida Department of Revenue offer a discount for filing on time?

By the time you finish reading this, you will feel confident enough to file and pay your Florida Sales Tax.

 

 

When is Florida Sales Tax due?

Florida sales tax payments are due on the first and no later than the 20th day following the reporting period.

 

What are the Florida Sales Tax thresholds?

While most businesses are setup to pay quarterly, there are thresholds at which require you to file differently:

If you collect more than more than $1,000 a year in sales tax, file monthly.

If you collect $501 - $1,000 a year in sales tax, file quarterly.

If you collect $101 - $500 a year in sales tax, file semi-annually.

If you collect $100 a year in sales tax, file annually.

 

Not sure how to determine your tax filing frequency?

 

You can review your eCommerce or Point of Sale Software to see the volume of sales you have generated.

Don't worry though! The state will let you know when your due dates change. :)

Watch your mail for a letter from the State of Florida so that you don't miss any deadlines.

 

What if a Florida Sales Tax filing date falls on a weekend or holiday?

The deadline is moved to the next business day, typically the Monday following the weekend or the day after the holiday. Where possible, we always suggest filing well before the holiday.

 

 

How do I file a Florida Sales Tax return?

Paper: Fill out form DR-15 (PDF) and mail to:

Florida Department of Revenue 

5050 W Tennessee St

Tallahassee FL 32399-0120

 

Electronic: File online and submit payment via EFT.

 

How do I correct a Florida Sales Tax return?

The easiest and quickest way to amend a return is to do so on the DOR’s sales tax website. To amend by paper [we get it, you hate trees ;p] do the following:

Use the “Taxpayer copy” portion of your erroneously filed DR-15 or download a blank from the website. Use the return printed with the same collection period as the return that needs to be amended. If using a blank return, be sure to include your certificate number, collection period, business name, and address.

• Write “AMENDED” on the return you use, like so:

 

Amended Florida Sales Tax Return

• Enter the correct information on Lines 1-21 and adjust Line 14 to include your additional payment or credit

 

 

What happens if I don’t collect sales tax?

If you were required to collect sales taxes (nexus in Florida and selling taxable goods or services to taxable residents) and failed to do so for whatever reason, you will be held responsible for the tax due. Always collect sales tax at the point of sale. Attempting to collect after the fact will be time consuming and most likely unsuccessful.

 

Protip: You are still responsible for remitting sales taxes even if you failed to collect them.

 

What happens if I file or pay my sales tax return late?

Florida charges a 10% tax penalty with a minimum of $50 applies to any late filings. A floating interest rate, 9% at the time of this writing, applies to any late or underpayments of tax.

 

Interest is charged at 1% per month or portion of a month from the due date. If you do not include the penalty and interest with your payment of tax, you will be billed. Paying by check will result in a failure to comply penalty for not paying electronically.

 

 

Do I need to file a return if I don’t collect any sales tax in Florida?

Yes, Florida does require businesses to file a “Zero-Tax” return even if they don't have any sales during a taxing period.

 

 

If I close my business, do I need to file a final sales tax return?

Yes, Florida requires businesses to file a “Final sales tax” return when closing a business.

 

 

Does the Florida Department of Revenue offer a discount for filing on time?

Yes! Florida does offer [an admittedly paltry] discount for filing and paying early: They give a whopping discount of 2.5% on the first $1,200 … not to exceed $30. Still, it’s always better to take a free discount than to leave it on the table.

 

*****

 

Now that we covered all our bases for filing and paying sales taxes in the state of Florida, you should feel more at ease about the process.

 

Some things to remember:

  • Due dates are important. If anything, file and pay your taxes early.
  • There are three payment plans for filing and paying your sales taxes depending on how much you collect in sales tax on average in a month.
  • You can file and pay your taxes electronically or by mail
  • If you need to amend a return, you may do so electronically or by paper.
  • If you don’t collect sales tax and you were supposed to, you (not the buyer) is liable to pay the sales tax to the state of Florida.
  • You will have to pay late fees if you fail to file your tax return on time and/or if you fail to make your tax payment on time.
  • Even if you collect no sales tax, you still need to file a return.
  • You need to file a “Final sales tax report” when you close your business.

 

Now, you are ready to file and pay your sales tax in Florida. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us.

 

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Please note: This blog is for informational purposes only and the information is accurate as of 6/6/2019. If you want legal advice on sales tax law for your business, please contact a Sales and Use Tax professional. Keep in mind that sales tax regulations and laws are subject to change at any time. While we strive to keep our blog current, this blog possibly may be out of date by the time you review it.