Sales Tax Updates in Florida

Tax Professionals' Resource
November 12, 2012 — 1,529 views  
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Sales Tax Updates in Florida

General election day is right around the corner, and for Florida voters that means deciding on a number of important issues for the Sunshine State. A number of proposed tax measures will be among more than a dozen amendment proposals that Florida voters will find on their ballots as they head to the polls on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012. One of the proposals deals with the increase of the state sales tax, and it has garnered a lot of attention in the run-up to election day.

Half-Penny Increase Would Make a Big Difference

Florida is one of the seven states in the Union where residents do not face a personal income tax burden. A great portion of the Sunshine State's revenue comes from sales tax, which currently stands at six percent statewide. Some local assessments bump the sales tax rate up slightly, but not as high as Arizona. The Grand Canyon State has the highest sales tax rate at 6.6 percent statewide and up to 9.1 percent in some revenue jurisdictions.

According to a recent report by the Tax Foundation research group in Washington, D.C., Florida ranks number five on the list of states with high tax burdens. Increasing the sales tax to 6.5 percent across all counties in Florida would boost revenue up considerably. At a time when the state revenue collections are performing better than expected, voters have the power to put a lot more money in the state's coffers.

A recent report by Florida's Office of Economic and Demographic Research indicated that September collections from sales tax were $24 million higher than the previous month. This means that Florida has collected $36.3 million more than expected in the current budget year. Florida has other significant sales taxes, such as on real estate transfers and corporate leases, but revenue from these activities pales in comparison to the retail sales tax.

Hope for Public School Districts

To put into perspective the impact that a half-cent increase of Florida sales tax can have on local economies, the Public School District in Brevard County estimates that revenue would increase to $32 million a year until the end of the decade, which means that the average Brevard County resident will pay anywhere from $5 to $20 more per year on their retail purchases.

Brevard is a growing region that has suffered some slight economic setbacks due to the closure of the space shuttle program, decreased tourism and planned cuts to Patrick Air Force Base. The school board hopes to use the proceeds from the sales tax increase to purchase more than 100,000 new computers for public school classrooms in one year.


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