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Sales & Use Tax – TAA 15A-008 – Exemptions, Other - Solar

QUESTION: IS THE XXXX XXXX EXEMPT FROM FLORIDA SALES AND USE TAX UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF S. 212.08(7)(HH), F.S., AS A SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM?

ANSWER: THE XXXX XXXX IS NOT A SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM AND, THEREFORE, IT IS NOT EXEMPT FROM FLORIDA SALES AND USE TAX UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF S. 212.08(7)(HH), F.S.

June 10, 2015

Re: Technical Assistance Advisement 15A-008 XXXX (“Taxpayer”)

Florida Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Machinery and Equipment

Sections 212.05, 212.055, 212.08, Florida Statute (F.S.)

BP#: XXXX

Dear XXXX:

This letter is in response to your request dated XXXX, and received in this office on April 3, 2015, for issuance of a Technical Assistance Advisement (“TAA”) pursuant to Section 213.22, F.S., and Rule Chapter 12-11, F.A.C., concerning the taxability of machinery and equipment. An examination of your request has established you complied with the statutory and regulatory requirements for issuance of a TAA. Therefore, the Department is hereby granting your request for a TAA.

FACTS PRESENTED

Taxpayer is located in XXXX, Florida, and provides temporary lighting solutions to various types of customers.

Taxpayer sells a temporary lighting system, the XXXX. This model provides a durable, reliable, portable light and power source suitable for any situation or environment. The towers are outfitted with a photo sensor that controls light on/off times, thus eliminating any operator interaction. Heavy duty construction allows use of this tower in virtually any environment where portable lighting is required. The XXXX model consists of the following: solar modules, AGM batteries, LED lights, inverter/charger, inverter, charge controller, light stand, and trailer.

REQUESTED ADVISEMENT

Is the XXXX exempt from Florida sales and use tax under the provisions of s. 212.08(7)(hh), F.S., as a solar energy system?

APPLICABLE LAW AND DISCUSSION

Unless a specific exemption applies, s. 212.05, F.S., provides it is the legislative intent that every person is exercising a taxable privilege that engages in the business of selling or repairing tangible personal property1 in this state. For exercising such a privilege, a tax is levied on each taxable transaction or incident. The tax is due and payable at the rate of 6 percent, plus any applicable surtaxes imposed under s. 212.055, F.S., on the total consideration received for each item or article of tangible personal property when sold at retail or repaired in this state. Exemptions from tax are strictly construed against the claimant. Wanda Marine Corp. v. Dep’t of Revenue, 305 So. 2d 65, 69 (Fla. 1st DCA 1975).

Section 212.08(7)(hh), F.S., provides that solar energy systems or any component thereof are exempt from Florida sales and use tax. It further provides that the Florida Solar Energy Center shall from time to time certify to the Department a list of equipment and requisite hardware considered to be a solar energy system or a component thereof for the purposes of the exemption from tax.

Based on s. 212.08(7)(hh), F.S., the Department contacted the Florida Solar Energy Center for guidance regarding a determination of whether the XXXX was a solar energy system. It was determined that the XXXX would not be considered a solar energy system; however, certain components of the XXXX would be considered solar equipment. The XXXX consists of a trailer, batteries, a set of adjustable LED lights, a solar panel, and battery charger that can be connected to the solar panel or to an electrical outlet. The purpose of an XXXX is to provide portable outdoor lighting for construction sites and outdoor events, such as weddings or parties. In short, the XXXX is not a solar energy system, but rather a lighting system that uses solar components (as well as electricity) to operate. The sale of an XXXX is subject to sales tax and any applicable discretionary surtax, unless the sale is specifically exempt under another provision within Chapter 212, Florida Statutes.2

Those components identified as eligible for tax exemption include the solar modules, inverters and charge controllers. Thus, the sale or purchase of solar modules, inverters and charge controllers would be eligible for tax exemption provided under s. 212.08(7)(hh), F.S.

CONCLUSION

The XXXX is not a solar energy system and; therefore, it is not exempt from Florida sales and use tax under the provisions of s. 212.08(7)(hh), F.S.

This response constitutes a Technical Assistance Advisement under s. 213.22, F.S., which is binding on the Department only under the facts and circumstances described in the request for this advice as specified in s. 213.22, F.S. Our response is predicated on those facts and the specific situation summarized above. You are advised that subsequent statutory or administrative rule changes, or judicial interpretations of the statutes or rules, upon which this advice is based, may subject similar future transactions to a different treatment than expressed in this response.

You are further advised that this response and your request and related backup documents are public records under Chapter 119, F.S., and are subject to disclosure to the public under the conditions of s. 213.22, F.S. Confidential information must be deleted before public disclosure. In an effort to protect confidentiality, we request you provide the undersigned with an edited copy of your request for Technical Assistance Advisement, the backup material and this response, deleting names, addresses and any other details which might lead to identification of the taxpayer. Your response should be received by the Department within 15 days of the date of this letter.

Kind Regards,

Alan R. Fulton

Tax Law Specialist Technical Assistance & Dispute Resolution

850-717-6735

ARF\st

Record ID: 193953

End Notes

1 Tangible personal property means and includes personal property which may be seen, weighed, measured, or touched or is in any manner perceptible to the senses. See s. 212.02(19), F.S.

2 In prior contact with Taxpayer, it was indicated to the Department that sales of the XXXX would also be made to state and/or local governments. For those sales, Section 212.08(6), F.S., may be applicable and warrant an exemption from tax.

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