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December 19, 2002

Local Sales Tax Rates Rising in Six Counties

TALLAHASSEE - Florida taxpayers in 11 counties will see changes in optional local sales taxes starting in January 2003. Businesses in the affected counties should begin to prepare now to implement the new tax rates early in 2003, the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) said today.

Six counties will see additional sales taxes because of referendums adopted in this fall's elections. They are: Leon, Manatee, Marion, Miami-Dade, Orange and Putnam. Tax rate increases vary from a half-percent increase to a one-percent increase. All go into effect in January 2003.

Taxpayers in five counties will see reductions in the optional local sales taxes they pay. Tax referendums in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties were defeated at the polls. Alachua County, Jefferson County and Bay Counties allowed their optional local surtaxes to expire. (Jefferson and Bay County local taxes will expire in May 2003.) For additional details, see the attached list or visit the DOR website at In addition, DOR has mailed complete tax rate information to businesses this month.

Eight other counties changed either expiration dates or the purposes for which local sales tax funds may be used, but tax rates paid by taxpayers are not affected. They are: Charlotte, DeSoto, Escambia, Flagler, Hendry, Indian River, Suwannee, and Wakulla.

Five other counties created in tourist-related taxes, which apply to sales of transient rental accommodations such as motels, hotels or rental condos. For this reason, these taxes are sometimes called "bed taxes." Counties enacting tourist-related taxes are Gadsden, Hendry, Levy, Madison, and Martin. Gilchrist County voters defeated a tourist-tax referendum. Under Florida law, residential rentals are taxable if they are for less than six months. Longer-term residential rentals are tax-exempt.

(See attached list)

Local sales and tourism tax changes for 2003:

Counties with new or additional Discretionary Sales Surtax (local option sales tax) or school surtaxes (taxpayers will see additional sales taxes at cash register). :

Total:(Six counties)
County Total increase in local tax Type of tax
DSS     School
Leon (0.5)               (0.5)
Manatee (0.5) (0.5)
Marion (1.0) (1.0)
Miami-Dade (0.5)               (0.5)
Orange (0.5)               (0.5)
Putnam (1.0) (1.0)

Counties that extended or modified existing DSS or school surtaxes (taxpayers will see no change at cash register):

County Total Local Tax Effects DSS School
Charlotte (1.0) (1.0)  
DeSoto* (1.0) (1.0)  
Escambia (0.5)   (0.5)
Flagler (0) (0.5) (0.5) (1.0 DSS repealed)
Hendry* (1.0) (1.0)  
Indian River (1.0) (1.0)  
Suwannee* (1.0) (1.0)  
Wakulla (1.0) (1.0)  
Total: (Eight counties)

Counties that defeated DSS or school surtax proposals or let existing surtaxes expire:

County Total decline in tax DSS School
Alachua (1.0) (1.0)   (allowed to expire)
Bay (1.0) (1.0)   (expires May 2003)
Jefferson (1.0) (1.0)   (expires May 2003)
Jefferson (0.5)     (defeated)
Santa Rosa (1.0)     (defeated)
Total: (Five counties)

Counties that adopted new tourist taxes

County New tourist tax
Gadsden (2.0)
Hendry (2.0)
Levy (2.0)
Madison (3.0)
Martin (2.0)
Total: (Five counties)

Counties that defeated new tourist taxes:

Gilchrist (2.0)
Total: (One county)