Sales and Use Tax                                                       

Each sale, admission, purchase, storage, or rental in Florida is taxable, unless the transaction is exempt. Florida imposes a general state sales tax rate of 6% on sales of items, services, and transient rentals. Sales tax is added to the price of the taxable items and collected from the purchaser at the time of sale. In addition to the state tax, many Florida counties impose a discretionary sales surtax, and in certain cases, a local option transient rental tax.

Florida Discretionary Sales Surtax

Discretionary sales surtax, also called a county tax, is imposed by most Florida counties and applies to most transactions subject to sales tax. Florida Atlantic University and its departments must collect the surtax in addition to Florida’s general sales tax of 6.0%. The discretionary sales surtax is based on the rate in the county where taxable goods or services are delivered. A few counties do not impose the surtax. 

In many cases there is a limit to the amount of surtax charged. Discretionary sales surtax applies to the first $5,000 of the sales amount on the sale, use, lease, rental, or license to use any item of tangible personal property. Tangible personal property is personal property that you can see, weigh, measure, or touch or is in any manner perceptible to the senses, including electric power or energy.

The $5,000 limit does not apply to the following types of transactions. Discretionary sales surtax is due on the full amount of:

  • Sales of admissions;
  • Sales and uses of services;
  • Leases, rentals, and licenses to use real property or transient accommodations;
  • Leases or rentals of parking or storage space for motor vehicles in parking lots or garages;
  • Docking or storage space in boat docks and marinas

Rental of Commercial Real Property

Effective January 1, 2019, the state sales tax rate imposed under section 212.031 of the Florida Statutes, on the total rent charged for renting, leasing, letting, or granting a license to use commercial real property, decreases from 5.8% to 5.7%, plus any applicable discretionary sales surtax. See Florida Tax Information Publication (TIP) #18A01-14 for additional information.

Some examples of real property rentals that are subject to tax include commercial office or retail space, conference rooms, meeting rooms, arenas, etc.  In TAA 94A-065 the Department of Revenue determined that certain expenses paid directly by the lessor, but collected from the tenant in addition to rent, are treated the same way as payments for rent and subject to sales tax.

Sales tax is due at the rate in effect during the time the tenant occupies, or is entitled to occupy, the real property regardless of when the rent is paid. The decrease in the state sales tax rate for renting, leasing, letting, or granting a license to use real property (commercial rentals) does not apply to the tax imposed on parking or storage of motor vehicles, docking or storage of boats, or tie-down or storage of aircraft.

Rental of Living or Sleeping Accommodations

Florida’s 6% state sales tax, plus any applicable discretionary sales surtax, applies to rental charges or room rates paid for the right to use or occupy living quarters or sleeping or housekeeping accommodations for rental periods of 6 months or less. 

In addition to state sales tax and discretionary sales surtax, Florida law allows counties to impose a local option transient rental tax, often called a tourist development tax.

Transient Rentals and Tourist Development Taxes

Individual Florida counties and certain cities may impose a local option tax on the rental or lease of living, sleeping or housekeeping accommodations for a term of 6 months or less.  The local tax imposed is in addition to the state sales tax and any applicable discretionary sales surtax.    See Florida Tax Information Publication (TIP) #DR-15TDT for additional information. 

Sales tax reporting and deposits

Once it has been determined that an activity will give rise to sales tax, the department will need to determine if the (general/non-rental) or (rental activity) sales tax rate will be used and in which Florida county the activity took place in order to collect the correct amount of sales tax from the customer.

Departments with sales tax related activities are responsible for ensuring the appropriate sales tax is charged at the time of sale. The Tax Compliance Section of the Controller’s Office is responsible for remitting the sales tax monthly by the 20th of the following month.

Other Considerations

  • If sales tax is not collected, but is applicable to the transaction, tax is still due and must be remitted. 
  • Purchases made directly by FAU departments are exempt from sales tax under FAU’s Consumer Certificate of Exemption (DR-14), including all purchases made using FAU P-Card, inter-department transfer, etc.
  • Purchases made personally by FAU faculty, staff, or students (even if the person is to be reimbursed by FAU) are NOT exempt under FAU’s Florida exemption certificate. 
  • Sales made to a purchaser who presents a valid and unexpired Form DR-14 are exempt from sales and use tax.  Payment should be made directly by the person or entity named on the certificate.  Sellers may NOT accept proof of IRC Sec 501(c)(3) status as sufficient evidence to allow a sales tax exemption.
  • Sales when goods are shipped directly to an address outside of Florida, are not subject to Florida sales and use tax. 

Example of tax rates based on transaction: