FloridBlonde Woman Typing Into Cash Registera parents will no doubt be delighted to hear that Governor Scott recently signed a bill into law that provides tax breaks on certain clothing items up to $75 and school supplies up to $15. This tax break will be in effect from August 12th through the 14th, which corresponds with the three days leading up to the start of the school year. Only certain items are eligible to be purchased without incurring sales tax and the Florida Department of Revenue makes it quite clear that vendors are responsible for collecting sales tax on all items which are not included. A list of these items can be found at the Florida Department of Revenue website.
Generally, in the absence of a tax holiday, tax exemption, or some other tax-favored transaction, Florida law requires that sales tax be added to the price of taxable goods or services and collected from the purchaser at the time of sale. Additionally, most Florida counties have a discretionary sales surtax (county tax) that applies to most transactions which are subject to the sales or use tax. Currently, the general Florida state sales tax rate stands at 6%, while county tax rates vary.
If a vendor does not collect and pay the proper amount of sales tax due within the time proscribed by law, he may receive a penalty for the tax and be charged interest on the amount he failed to pay. In addition to these economic consequences, various civil and criminal penalties may apply if a vendor fails to comply with his responsibilities to collect sales tax. Florida takes an especially harsh view of those vendors who collect sales tax but fail to remit these funds to the state and instead utilize them for their own purposes. Florida refers to this as a “theft of state funds” and the Florida Statutes make it clear that such an action is considered a felony in most cases.
Starting a business in Florida may seem simple enough. However, the failure to know and understand the various tax requirements that local, state, and federal governments impose can land a business owner in an extremely precarious situation. Oftentimes, these requirements must be strictly adhered to in order to achieve compliance. The best way to start a new business is to consult with an experienced tax attorney who can help you understand these requirements from the beginning, thus avoiding costly civil and criminal penalties. If you live in the Jacksonville area, contact an Attorney in Jacksonville before starting your business and learn how we may help you to avoid creating a tax nightmare of your own. Likewise, if you find yourself facing a state or local tax issue, contact an Attorney in Jacksonville to see how we can assist you in protecting your interests.