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December 15, 2003

600,000 to be Exempted From Florida Intangible Tax

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TALLAHASSEE - An estimated 600,000 Florida taxpayers and businesses that formerly paid intangible tax will no longer be required to do so in 2004, under a 2001 law change that dramatically increased exemptions from intangible tax, Governor Jeb Bush and the Florida Department of Revenue announced Monday.

"Seniors and savers can look forward to keeping more of their money in 2004," Governor Bush said. "I am delighted to see that our efforts to reduce taxes are paying off for hundreds of thousands of Floridians and businesses."

Under legislation advocated by Governor Bush and adopted by lawmakers in 2001, Floridians who own stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other assets subject to intangible tax are able to exempt more of their savings from the tax.

Assets subject to intangible tax are taxed according to their value on Jan. 1 of each year. Starting with the intangible tax returns due between Jan. 1, 2004, and June 30, 2004, individuals will pay no tax on the first $250,000 of assets subject to intangible tax. Couples filing jointly will pay no tax on the first $500,000 of assets. Businesses will pay no tax on the first $250,000 of assets. In addition, taxpayers are not required to pay tax if the amount owed is less than $60, so, for example, a couple owning less than $560,000 in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds would pay no tax.

Before the 2002 legislation was adopted, individuals paid no tax on the first $20,000 in assets subject to the tax, and couples filing jointly were not taxed on the first $40,000 of assets. Businesses formerly received no exemption. Again, businesses, individuals, and couples filing jointly pay nothing if the amount of tax owed was less than $60.

Because of the major increase in exemptions, the Department of Revenue estimates that 186,000 couples filing jointly (representing 372,000 people), 142,000 individual filers, and 92,000 businesses will owe no tax in 2004 and will not be required to file a tax return. This totals 606,000 taxpayers and business entities. DOR plans to reduce its mailings of pre-addressed intangible tax returns by roughly half. The first returns will be mailed to taxpayers Dec. 19.

Florida's Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference has estimated that the state will collect an estimated $305.3 million in annual intangible tax in the current fiscal year.