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New Tax law

Every year, Florida passes a set of laws known as the “tax package.”  The tax package contains various updates to Florida sales and use tax, as well as other tax types.  Some updates are permanent in nature while others are only temporary.  It is important for businesses to know of these updates, as businesses could get caught in a trap for the unwary. This is the first part of a two part article on the subject.

The first update involves the local option food and beverage tax.  A part of the statute is updated to say the tax authorized may be imposed by a city/town if the governing authority of the city/town adopt an ordinance approved by a majority of the registered voters of the city/town.  The tax would take effect the first day of January following the election where the ordinance is approved.  A referendum to reenact the tax must be held via a general election occurring within the forty-eight (48) month period immediately preceding the effective date of the tax.  Moreover, the referendum can only appear on the ballot once with the forty-eight (48) month period. 

The second update concerns a reduction to the commercial real property sales and use tax rate.  The state tax rate will be reduced from 5.5% to 4.5% effective December 1, 2023.  County tax rates on commercial real property rentals are left unchanged.

The third update is for referendums relating to the local sales tax.  New language was added to say the referendum to reenact the expiring tax must be held via general election occurring within the forty-eight (48) month period immediately preceding the effective date of the reenacted tax.  Like the first update, this one also requires the referendum to appear on the ballot only once within the forty-eight (48) month period.

The fourth update relates to several different exemptions.  One exemption updated comprises of items used in agriculture.  Specifically, materials used to construct or repair permanent or temporary fencing used to contain, confine, or process cattle, including gates and energized fencing systems, used in agricultural operations.  The lands for such operations must be classified as agricultural must be so classified under section 193.461, Florida Statutes. 

As part of the fourth update, there is a new exemption involving machinery and equipment for “renewable natural gas.”  This term of “renewable natural gas” is defined as anaerobically generated biogas, landfill gas, or wastewater treatment gas refined to a methane content of 90 percent or greater, which may be used as transportation fuel or for electric generation or is of a quality capable of being injected into a natural gas pipeline.  The machinery and equipment must be primarily used to produce, store, transport, compress, or blend renewable natural gas and is used at a fixed location.  The purchaser must provide the seller an affidavit attesting to certain information, unless the purchaser has direct pay authority, to be exempt. 

Continuing on, another new exemption is for baby and toddle products.  Products specifically exempt from tax are baby cribs; playpens; play yard; strollers; safety gates; monitors; child safety cabinet locks as well as latches and electrical socket covers; bicycle child carrier seats and trailers designed for carrying young children including any adaptors and accessories for these seats and trailers; baby exercisers, jumpers, bouncer seats, and swings; breast pumps, bottle sterilizers, baby bottles and nipples, pacifiers, and teething rings; baby wipes; changing tables and changing pads; children’s diapers, including single-use diapers, reusable diapers and reusable diaper inserts; and baby and toddler clothing, apparel, and shoes, primarily intended for and marketed for children age 5 or younger. Baby and toddler clothing size 5T and smaller and baby and toddler shoes size 13T and smaller are presumed to be primarily intended for and marketed for children age 5 or younger.

Diapers and incontinence products are also exempt.  Oral hygiene products are exempt from sales tax.  Oral hygiene products is defined to mean electric and manual toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, dental picks, oral irrigators, and mouthwash.  Firearm safety devices are exempt from sales and use tax too.  A firearm safe, firearm lockbox, firearm case, or other device that is designed to be used to store a firearm and that is designed to be unlocked only by means of a key, a combination, or other similar means.  Such devices also include a firearm trigger lock or firearm cable lock that, when installed on a firearm, is designed to prevent the firearm from being operated without first deactivating the device and that is designed to be unlocked only by means of a key, a combination, or other similar means. 

Sales by a small private investigative agency, which employs three or fewer full or part time employees and provides private investigative services less than $150,000 for all businesses related through common ownership, is exempt from tax. 

The fifth update is for temporary exemptions that are back for another year.  The “Back to School” sales tax holiday is back.  There are two periods for the exemption.  One is July 24, 2023, through August 6, 2023, while the other is January 1, 2024, through January 14, 2024.  Below is a list of items that are exempt.

  • The exemption encompasses clothing, wallets, and bags with a sales price of $100 or less per item.  Bags include handbags, backpacks, fanny packs, and diaper bags.  However, bags do not include briefcases, suitcases, and other garment bags.  For clothing, this is defined to mean any article of wearing apparel intended to be worn on or about the human body, excluding watches, watchbands, jewelry, umbrellas, and handkerchiefs.  Clothing also includes footwear, except that it excludes skis, swim fins, roller blades, and skates. 
  • School supplies having a sales price of $50 or less per item are exempt.  School supplies include pens, pencils, erasers, crayons, notebooks, notebook filler paper, legal pads, binders, lunch boxes, construction paper, markers, folders, poster board, composition books, poster paper, scissors, cellophane tape, glue or paste, rulers, computer disks, staplers and staples used to secure paper products, protractors, compasses, and calculators.
  • Learning aids and jigsaw puzzles having a sales price of $30 or less are exempt.  “Learning aids” means flashcards or other learning cards, matching or other memory games, puzzle books and search-and-find books, interactive or electronic books and toys intended to teach reading or math skills, and stacking or nesting blocks or sets.
  • Personal computers or accessories for noncommercial home or personal use having a sales price of $1,500 or less.  Personal computers include electronic book readers, laptops, desktops, handhelds, tablets, or tower computers, but it specifically excludes cellular telephones, video game consoles, digital media receivers, or devices that are not primarily designed to process data.  The accessories include keyboards, mice, personal digital assistants, monitors, other peripheral devices, modems, routers, and nonrecreational software, regardless of whether the accessories are used in association with a personal computer base unit.  However, accessories do not include furniture or systems, devices, software, monitors with a television tuner, or peripherals that are designed or intended primarily for recreational use. 

Like other years, the exemption will not apply in theme parks or entertainment complexes within a public lodging establishment or in an airport.  Sellers will have the ability to opt out.  To do so, the seller must have less than five percent (5%) of their gross sales of tangible personal property in the prior calendar year consist of items that would fall within this exemption.  If the seller wishes to opt out, they must contact the Florida Department of Revenue by July 17, 2023, for the July 24, 2023, sales tax holiday and by December 23, 2023, for the January 1, 2024, sales tax holiday.  Moreover, the seller must post a copy of the notice of opting out in a conspicuous place. 

There are a good number of updates for the current year.  Part two will cover the other aspects of the tax package that passed for this legislative session. 

Florida sales tax attorney; Florida sales tax law; Florida sales tax audit; Florida sales tax audit help; Florida sales tax litigationAbout the author: David Brennan is partner 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 on various 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.  Contact us for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION to confidentially discuss how we can help put this nightmare behind you.


Chapter 2023-157; House Bill 7063


FL SALES TAX CAR DEALERS PLAYBOOK, published April 22, 2023, by David J. Brennan, Jr., Esq.

FLORIDA SALES TAX AUDITS PROCESS AND TRAPS, published March 4, 2023, by David J. Brennan, Jr., Esq.

2023 FLORIDA SALES TAX RATE ON COMMERCIAL RENT, published January 23, 2023, by James Sutton, CPA, Esq.

PHONE CALL FROM FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE: SALES TAX, published October 15, 2022, by Jeanette Moffa, Esq.

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

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