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If you are registered with the Florida Department of Revenue (“Department”) for sales and use tax purposes, you most likely have a requirement to file a Sales and Use Tax Return, Form DR-15. Businesses might file on a monthly (the most common), quarterly, or yearly basis. Regardless of the filing frequency, what happens if you file your Florida sales tax return late?

The Department requires all Florida sales tax returns to be filed by the 20th of the month following the reporting period. If the return is postmarked just one day after the 20th, then the return usually is late. The exception comes into play if the 20th falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or federal/state legal holiday. If so, then the return will be considered timely-filed if postmarked on the next succeeding workday.

For electronically-filed Florida sales tax returns, these returns are due by the 20th of the month following the reporting period as well. The difference between paying electronically and with a check is the business must initiate the payment and the payment must be accepted on or before the 20th of the month as well. Accounting for the time for the payment to go through is critical to businesses.

By way of example, suppose I was registered with the Department as a monthly filer. I need to file my September 2018 Florida sales tax return. This return would be due October 20, 2018; however, the due date is a Saturday. Assuming Monday is not a federal/state legal holiday, my return will be due Monday, October 22, 2018. If I am a quarterly filer, then my third quarter (July – September) 2018 sales tax return is due on Monday, October 22, 2018, for the same reasons as the monthly filer. Of course, if a natural disaster intervenes, an extension may be in order.

If you miss the deadline to file your Florida sales tax return, there may be a penalty. The penalty is a “failure to timely file” penalty. The amount of the penalty will be 10% of the tax with a minimum penalty of $50. On top of this penalty, there is a “failure to pay penalty” that will be 10% of the tax owed if the payment is made within the first 30 days. An additional 10% failure to pay penalty will be assessed for each additional 30 days (or fraction thereof) for unpaid balances. The good news (if there is any) is the failure to pay penalty will not exceed 50% of the tax due. The icing on the cake will be a failure to file for 6 consecutive returns may cause you to be charged with a third-degree felony.

Should you find yourself in a position of having missed filing your Florida sales tax return, there is hope! You must have timely-filed and paid your returns in the past 12 months and do not have an unresolved liability. Alternatively, you may have one non-timely filing/payment in the past 12 months and resolved the issue by filing the return and paying the tax/interest within 30 days of notification by the Department. If either of these apply, the Department may be able to waive your penalty. If you have not been timely two times or more, then the odds are the Department will not waive the penalty barring extraordinary circumstances. This is for monthly filers. If you are a quarterly filer, then the Department may remove the penalty if you have timely-filed and paid in the past 12 months and do not have an unresolved liability.

In conclusion, the best defense is a good offense. File your Florida sales and use tax returns timely. If you have not for one reason or another, get the issue resolved as soon as possible to get the penalty waived. Certainly, you should not have 6 consecutive months of unfiled returns, since this could lead to third-degree felony charges with punishment up to five years in jail.

undefinedAbout the author: David Brennan is an associate attorney with Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A. His primary practice area is multistate tax controversy. David received a B.S. in Accounting and Finance, with a minor in Computer Science, from Florida State University. He worked as an accountant for a CPA firm before attending law school at Regent University. He received his Juris Doctor in 2013 and was licensed to practice law in Florida in the same year. In 2015, David earned his Masters of Laws in Taxation from Boston University. While working for the Florida Department of Revenue as a Senior Attorney, David focused sales and use tax issues. You can read his BIO HERE.

At the Law Office of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, PA, our primary practice area is Florida taxes, with a very heavy emphasis in Florida sales and use tax. We have defended Florida businesses against the Florida Department of Revenue since 1991 and have over 100 years of cumulative sales tax experience within our firm. Our partners are both CPAs/Accountants and Attorneys, so we understand both the accounting side of the situation as well as the legal side. We represent taxpayers and business owners from the entire state of Florida. Call our offices today for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION to confidentially discuss how we can help put this nightmare behind you.


Section 212.11, F.S.

Section 212.12, F.S.

Section 212.15, F.S.

Section 213.21, F.S.

Section 213.755, F.S.


FLORIDA NOTICE OF FINAL ASSESSMENT (NOFA) | FL DEPT. OF REVENUE, published December 2, 2018, by Matthew Parker, Esq.

FLORIDA SALES TAX INFORMAL WRITTEN PROTEST, published November 17, 2018, by James Sutton, CPA, Esq.

FLORIDA SALES TAX FOR REMOTE SELLERS, published November 12, 2018, by David Brennan, Esq.

FLORIDA SALES TAX - VOLUNTARY DISCLOSURE PROGRAM, published April 9, 2018, by Jeanette Moffa, Esq.

FLORIDA USE TAX AUDIT LETTER?, published June 14, 2015, by James Sutton, CPA, Esq. and Jerry Donnini, Esq.

GO TO JAIL FOR NOT PAYING FLORIDA SALES TAX?, published November 3, 2013, by James Sutton, CPA, Esq.