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Florida Notice of Final Assessment (NOFA) | FL Dept. of Revenue


The Florida Department of Revenue (FDOR) loves to send out mailings to taxpayers. In many cases, the FDOR’s computer system sends out the “good” news automatically when there is an amount that is due. This can result from a filed but unpaid return. It can also occur if a tax return was not filed on a timely basis and the FDOR’s system has estimated an amount due. The FDOR’s estimation model is something that can be its own topic for another date. Apart from these “collection” situations, an audit or lead notice out of Tallahassee can result in a NOFA (Notice of Final Assessment) being issued to a taxpayer.

The notice for a “collections” NOFA will be Form ZT19. This form number is on the upper left hand portion of the notice above the FDOR’s palm tree icon on the form. The “audit” NOFA will indicate Form DR-43. This should be on the upper right hand portion of the form. While separate forms, the important thing for taxpayers is that they review any mailings or notices received by the FDOR. Frequently, these mailings will have important deadlines that must be noted.

For either type of NOFA (collections or audit), a taxpayer needs to immediately realize there is a deadline to contest the alleged total due. To informally protest the total due, that can/will include tax, penalty and interest, the taxpayer needs to request a review from TADR (Technical Assistance and Dispute Resolution) within 20 days of the date of the notice. I highlight the deadline because the stated 20 days to respond is almost universally shorter. The Department “batch” mails things which means it prints up notices and subsequently mails them out. Tallahassee has had situations where printed mail is actually mailed out much later than the date on the notice or letter. The postmark can help. But, I know that service centers will postmark a letter that might not go out until a bit later if the mail is metered on a day but the lone mail pickup is missed for that day. So, the letter/notice will have a postage date but will not actually be mailed till later. Assuming a Friday mail pick up is missed, and you are losing at least three days apart from the delivery time it takes to receive (and then open and read) the letter/notice issued.

The NOFA spells out the terms for the informal protest on page 2 of Form DR-43. For the “collections” notice in ZT19, this is on the back side of the NOFA. Please note this as it is easy to look at only one side of the page. Not every FDOR letter/notice includes information on the back side of the page. It is interesting that arguably the most important part of the NOFA is “inconspicuously” on the back side of a page and not a separate page with single sided print. Notwithstanding this curiosity, the NOFA spells out the required items for the informal protest. This includes: the taxpayer’s name, address, and FEIN; type and amount of tax, penalty, or interest contested; period covered an amount of tax protested; factual and legal grounds for the objection and any contested factual issue; and, if oral presentation and argument are requested. These requirements are detailed in Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) Rule 12-6.0033 but that is not noted on the NOFA specifically.

The “audit” NOFA provides boxes to be checked for the “basis” for the NOFA and any specific penalty. While this can be helpful for a taxpayer in responding with its protest, in many instances I have seen NOFAs that do not have a single box checked for either basis. This can be a point of contention during the informal protest process. But, I wouldn’t expect it to get a significant amount of consideration from TADR in most instances.

In filing an informal protest, the taxpayer will be preserving its rights to an administrative or judicial action at the conclusion of the protest process. Again, the NOFA spells this out and it is consistent with the F.A.C. In addition, the NOFA does note the taxpayer’s ability to bypass the informal protest process and directly file an administrative or judicial action. As with the informal protest process, there is a deadline that must be complied with. The administrative or judicial action must be filed within 60 days of the date of the assessment in compliance with Chapter 72, Florida Statutes.

The importance of the deadlines is spelled out in the bottom of the NOFA. There, the Department specifically states:

In the event you do not avail yourself of the informal protest provisions, or available judicial administrative review provisions, this assessment will become permanently binding on the 60th day after the date of this notice, and no relief can be granted beyond the 60th day by the Department of Revenue, the Division of Administrative Hearings, or the courts of this state.

In other words, you cannot be tardy to the party or the taxpayer will owe the amount alleged in the NOFA. The FDOR then will simply look to determine how quickly you can pay the amount to it. This can, and often does, involve a bank freeze for slow to respond taxpayers.

Ultimately, the moral of this story is that it is important for taxpayers to review all mailings from the Department to be specifically aware of “notices” that are issued. While keeping the envelope for the postmark as reference, the important date is listed at the top of the NOFA. Taxpayer’s or their professional representatives need to be aware of the required deadline to properly proceed to contest inaccurate and inapplicable findings alleging amounts due. Missing a deadline can result in an obligation being owed that could have been avoided or a more costly defense to achieve the correct and accurate outcome for the transactions at issue.

It is important for taxpayers to get copies of any questioned correspondence to their professionals or someone that can provide guidance. The clock starts ticking when the notice is printed and the deadline is only tolled by holidays and weekend for the actual deadline. These “lost” days before the deadline can help when requesting an extension. But, any extension requests need to be timely and in writing to be considered. It is smart for taxpayers to err on the side of caution and check out mailings to be safe. A missed deadline cannot be resuscitated and the FDOR is not forgiving when it comes to missed deadlines. Look at the NOFA and get help to make sure you or your client are paying only what is owed to the FDOR.

undefinedAbout the author: Mr. Parker is a sales and use tax attorney and an associate in the law firm the Law Offices of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A., based in the firm's Tampa office. Mr. Parker's practice includes state tax audits and controversies involving sales and use tax and all other state taxes including communication service tax, cigarette & tobacco tax, motor fuel tax, and Native American taxation. Mr. Parker received his law degree and L.L.M. in Taxation from the University of Florida. You can read more about Mr. Parker on his firm bio.

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 clients against Florida sales and use taxes for more than 25 years with over 100 years of cumulative experience working for 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.


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

FLORIDA SALES TAX ATTORNEYS and CPAs – Moffa Sutton Donnini, published December 14, 2017, by James Sutton, CPA, Esq.

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

CLOSE BUSINESS TO AVOID LARGE FL SALES TAX ASSESSMENT?, published July 7, 2013, by James Sutton, CPA, Esq.

FL TAX ALERT – 200% PENALTY STINGS BUSINESS OWNER, published March 24, 2013, by James Sutton, CPA, Esq. and Jerry Donnini, Esq.