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How to File and Pay Florida Taxes

Florida collects its sales tax at the point of sale, on all taxable items and services. A seller calculates it as a percentage of the taxable transaction amount. The seller then adds the sales tax to the selling price and collects it from the buyer. The seller must indicate the sales tax on the sales invoice or evidence of sale.

Florida Tax Rates

The seller must be careful not to add the sales tax to the gross amount of the sale, as that will raise the tax due on that sale. The general sales tax is 6%, except for amusement machines, which is at 4%, leases, and real commercial properties at 5.5%, and electricity at 6.95%.

Florida Use Tax

If the seller does not collect a sales tax at the point of sale, then the use tax becomes due. That can happen when you buy an item in Florida without paying a sales tax, or when you buy goods for reselling, but then choose to use it for business or personal use.

You will also owe a use tax if you buy a taxable item outside of Florida, and then have it shipped into Florida, without paying a sales tax. It is up to the buyer to remit the use tax, on all taxable items. Moreover, taxpayers must compute the tax to the third decimal place.

Rounding Off Taxes and Collection Allowance

If the third decimal place is greater than 4, the seller or buyer must round the tax to the next cent. If you electronically file taxes and pay them on time, you can take a collection allowance.  The collection allowance is limited to 2.5% of the first $1,200 of the tax due, which is $30.

If the tax due is less than $1,200, the tax collection allowance will be less than $30.

Florida County Sales Tax

You may have to pay an additional sales tax, in some counties that have a discretionary sales surtax. Moreover, if the county surtax applies to a mobile home or motor vehicle, then the applicable tax rate will depend on the address of the buyer.

And for some transactions, the sales surtax will apply to the first $5,000 of the taxable sale amount. This discretionary sales surtax varies each year in November, so you need to check the latest discretionary sales surtax.

Transient Rental Taxes

Apart from the sales tax, use tax, and discretionary sales surtax, Florida counties can impose a transient rental tax on certain rental services for periods of less than six months. These services include leases and rentals of motels, hotels, rooming houses, apartments, RV parks, mobile home parks, condominiums, and timeshare resorts.

Who Must Pay Florida Taxes

Virtually any seller whose products aren’t tax exempted, and is operating his business in Florida must pay their taxes. For those operating outside of Florida, but selling into Florida, they must pay sales taxes if their gross sales exceed $100,000 in the previous financial year.

When to File and Pay Taxes

Florida requires taxpayers to file and pay their taxes either monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or annually, depending on how much tax they collected.

Tax collections exceeding $1,000 are filed and paid monthly, $501 - $1,000 are filed and paid quarterly, $101 - $500 are filed and paid semiannually, and $100 or less are filed and paid annually.

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