by Simplice Essou, CPA | June 1, 2022
Florida sales tax rules may be confusing and the penalties for not following the rules can be substantial. This articles gives a brief overview of the Florida sales taxes.
The Florida tax rules state that all sales are taxable unless there is an exemption that applies to a particular transaction. Florida sales tax varies by location. In general the sales tax rate on sales in Florida is 6 percent.
On top of that state tax, counties have discretionary sales surtax that may also apply. For example Hillsborough County has a discretionary sales surtax of 1.5 percent bringing the total sales and use tax to 7.5 percent.
Registering for Collecting and Reversing Taxes
One of the requirements for starting a business in Florida is to register with the Florida Department of Revenue. On a monthly or quarterly basis, form DR-15 will need to be filed with the Department of Revenue. This form will show among other information the total sales, the amount that is exempt, if any, and the amount of tax due, if any. This form is required even if there was no sales for the period. Failing to file form DR-15 may lead to penalties.
In general services are exempt from sales taxes in Florida. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example if the service provided includes the creation of a product or repairing a product, then the material used or included would be taxable. Other exceptions include commercial cleaning services or pest control services in non-residential buildings. So, if you provide cleaning or pest control services in a commercial building you will have to charge for sales taxes and reverse the sales tax amounts to the state.
How to Get a Florida Tax Permit
The Florida Department of Revenue prefers online registration even though it is possible to mail in a paper registration. Register online to create an account and register for a tax certificate. You will need your business name and address, your EIN number obtained from the IRS website, name(s) and social security number(s) of the owner(s), and sunbiz.org registration date.
Florida Sales Tax Deadlines
The Florida Department of Revenue publishes a calendar listing the various sales tax deadlines:
Monthly: For monthly filers the return is due on the 1st day of the month following the month during which the sales occurred. After the 20th of the month, the return is late and may be subject to a $50 fine.
Quarterly: For quarterly filers the return is due on the 1st day of the month and is late after the 20th. Any late tax return will be subject to a $50 fine.
Annually: For taxpayers who file annually the return is due on the 1st day of the month after the collection period. After the 20th of the month, the return is late and may be subject to a $50 fine.
Due to the complexity of the Florida sales tax requirements, it is always recommended that small business owners seek the guidance of a qualified tax professional.