What you should know about your state tax obligations.
You are considered a Florida resident when your true, fixed, and permanent home and principal establishment is in Florida. Filing a declaration of domicile, qualifying for homestead exemption, or registering to vote in Florida can establish residency. Other actions, such as obtaining a Florida driver’s license, only indicate an intent to establish residency.
Will You Buy Merchandise? Sales Tax
Florida’s general sales tax rate is 6 percent. Each retail sale, admission charge, storage, use, or rental is taxable, along with some services. Some items are specifically exempt. Some counties impose a discretionary sales surtax in addition to the 6 percent state tax. The county tax rates can range from .25 to 2.5 percent, and are levied on the first $5,000 of the purchase price. The $5,000 limit does not apply to commercial rentals, transient rentals, or services. Consumers pay sales tax and any county-imposed taxes to the seller at the time of purchase.
Unless specifically exempt, merchandise purchased out of state is subject to tax when brought into Florida within 6 months of the purchase date. This “use tax,” as it is commonly called, is also assessed at the rate of 6 percent. Examples of such taxable purchases include purchases made by mail order or the Internet, furniture delivered from dealers located in another state, and computer equipment delivered by common carrier. Items purchased and used in another state for 6 months or longer are not subject to use tax when the items are later brought into Florida.
No use tax is due if the out-of-state dealer charged sales tax of 6 percent or more. If the dealer charged less than 6 percent, you must pay the difference to equal 6 percent. For example, if the dealer charged 4 percent, you must pay the additional 2 percent to Florida. Complete an Out-of-State Purchase Return (Form DR-15MO) to file and pay use tax. You can get this form from our Internet site at www.myflorida.com/dor. If the tax owed is less than $1.00, you do not have to file.
Do You Own Real Property? Ad Valorem (Property) Tax
If you purchase a home in Florida, you will pay ad valorem or “property” tax based on the taxable value of the property. Ad valorem taxes are assessed by the county property appraiser and collected annually by the county tax collector’s office.
A $25,000 homestead exemption and cap on assessed value is available to homeowners who meet certain requirements. Certain exemptions are also available to blind persons and other physically challenged residents. Call your county property appraiser for details.
Florida Department of Revenue, Tax Information for New Residents, Page 1
Will You Purchase a Home or Business Property, Apply for a Mortgage or Loan, or Purchase Bonds?
Documentary stamp tax is levied on documents that transfer interest in Florida real property, such as warranty deeds and quit claim deeds. This tax is typically paid to the Clerk of Court at the time the document is recorded.
Documentary stamp tax is also levied on notes, certain renewal notes, bonds, and other written obligations to pay money executed, signed or delivered in Florida and mortgages and other liens filed or recorded in Florida. The tax is paid to the Clerk of Court if the document is recorded, or sent directly to the Department of Revenue, if not recorded.
Motor Vehicle Registration and Taxes
Florida’s 6 percent use tax applies to and is due on motor vehicles brought into this state within 6 months from the date of purchase. If the purchaser resides in a county that imposes a discretionary sales surtax, that tax will also apply. Use tax and discretionary sales surtax do not apply if a like tax equal to or greater than 6 percent has been lawfully imposed and paid to another state or District of Columbia.
It is presumed that a motor vehicle used in another state, territory of the United States, or District of Columbia for 6 months or longer before being brought into Florida was not purchased for use in Florida. To qualify for exemption from use tax, you must provide documents to prove that the vehicle was used outside Florida for 6 months or longer.
The full amount of use tax (6 percent) and applicable discretionary sales surtax are due on any motor vehicle imported from a foreign country into Florida. It does not matter if the motor vehicle was used in another country for a period of 6 months or more prior to the time it is brought into Florida. Furthermore, Florida does not recognize tax paid to another country when calculating the tax due. The tax is calculated on the value of the vehicle at the time it is brought into Florida, not on the original purchase price.
For information on registration costs, regulations, driver licenses and minimum liability insurance coverage requirements, contact the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Visit their Internet site at www.hsmv.state.fl.us/dhsmv/newflres.html or call 850-922-9000.
Payment of tax due on motor vehicle registrations and the purchase of Florida license tags may be handled at the local county tax collector’s office.
Other Taxes and Fees
Florida does not impose personal income, inheritance, gift taxes or intangible personal property taxes. However, there are other taxes and fees that, in certain counties or circumstances, Florida residents may be required to pay, such as: convention development tax, local option tourist tax, fuel taxes, communications services tax, gross receipts tax, lead-acid battery fee, new tire fee, motor vehicle fee (Lemon Law), or rental car surcharge.
Looking at Business Opportunities in Florida?
Most businesses are subject to sales and use tax, discretionary sales surtax, unemployment tax, and corporate income tax. If your business is required to collect sales tax, you must register as a sales and use tax dealer before you begin conducting business in Florida. You can register to collect and/or report tax through our Internet site. The site will guide you through an application interview that will help you determine your tax obligations. If you do not have Internet access, you can complete a paper Application to Collect and/or Report Tax in Florida (Form DR-1).
Florida Department of Revenue, Tax Information for New Residents, Page 2