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Florida Tax Law

Florida ranked as one of the top 10 states with the lowest overall tax burdens for taxpayers in 2016, according to WalletHub. In other states, a large portion of a taxpayer’s burden falls upon personal income taxes—but not in Florida. Instead, the tax burden is shifted toward everyday living expenses via sales and use taxes among a variety of other taxes.

Whether you live in Orlando, Miami or Fort Lauderdale, you’ll need to account for the various state and federal taxes in your budget, including everyday sales and gasoline taxes. It can be easy to get lost in all of the taxes you’ll owe. LawInfo’s Florida tax law articles can help you become familiar with the various state taxes.

Florida Sales and Use Taxes

A couple of Florida’s critical tax revenue sources are sales and use taxes. At a state-wide general tax rate of 6%, sales and use taxes will make up the bulk of your everyday tax expenses in Florida.

Use taxes are levied against goods that are bought in Florida but weren’t charged with a sales tax. For example, if you buy an antique from another state without paying a sales tax and have it delivered to you in Florida, you’ll pay a use tax.

Most Florida counties add a discretionary sales surtax to transactions that warrant the state sales/use tax. The surtax is only charged in the county where the goods are sold or delivered to, regardless of whether the product comes from another county or state without a surtax. The surtax rate ranges between 0.5 and 1.5 percent depending on the county.

Florida Property Taxes

Florida doesn’t collect a state property tax. However, Florida county governments may charge property taxes at varying rates. The state government provides several exemptions that can reduce the property tax costs, including:

  • A $500 widow or widower exemption.
  • A $500 exemption for legally blind homeowners.
  • Up to a $50,000 exemption for senior home owners age 65 and older.
  • Up to a $50,000 homestead exemption. However, only the first $25,000 may be applied to all property taxes while the second $25,000 may be applied to non-school taxes only.

Florida Sin Taxes

“Sin” taxes are levied on consumer products like alcohol and tobacco—as well as gambling—wherever these things are legalized. They act as additional sales taxes (a.k.a. excise taxes) for products or services that are culturally perceived as vices. Sin taxes are meant to dissuade consumers from purchasing or using the taxed products or services without making them illegal.

In Florida, tobacco product sin taxes include excise taxes and surcharges. Cigarettes are charged sin taxes per the quantity of a single pack, ranging from $0.6695 to $1.67375 per pack. Other tobacco products are charged a 25 percent excise tax and a 60 percent surcharge.

Alcoholic beverages are only charged excise taxes. Beer is charged by the liquid quantity while wine and liquor are charged by the alcoholic content percentage. Alcohol sin tax rates range from $0.06 to $9.53.

As for gambling, Florida charges a 15 percent admission tax for entrance into a cardroom facility (i.e. a casino) and for attending a horse race, dog race or jai alai game.

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