Governor Signs Wide-Ranging Tax Bill At Hurricane Conference

Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis

Governor Ron DeSantis will be at the Governor's Hurricane Conference on Wednesday.

DeSantis will speak at the event in West Palm Beach and sign a wide-ranging tax bill that includes a disaster-preparedness sales tax holiday, beginning May 31st and creates some tax relief benefits for those affected by Hurricane Michael.

Here are all of the things that HB 7123 does, according to a press release from the Florida Senate:

Establishes the 2019 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday

The legislation creates a five-day “back-to-school” sales tax holiday from August 2 to August 6, 2019, for clothing, footwear, and backpacks costing $60 or less, school supplies costing $15 or less, and personal computers or personal computer-related accessories costing $1,000 or less per item.

Establishes the 2019 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

The legislation creates a seven-day “disaster preparedness” sales tax holiday from May 31 to June 6, 2019, for disaster preparedness supplies. Some examples of tax-free items include: flashlights and lanterns costing $20 or less; radios and tarps costing $50 or less; coolers and batteries costing $30 or less; and, generators costing $750 or less.

Creates Tax Exemptions for Hurricane Michael Recovery

The legislation creates several tax relief benefits related to hurricane response and recovery including:

  • Tangible personal property owned and operated by a farm, farm operation, or agriculture processing facility located in Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, or Wakulla County that was unable to be used for at least 60 days following Hurricane Michael will be valued at its salvage value for the 2019 property tax roll.
  • Sales tax exemption for building materials used to replace or repair nonresidential farm buildings damaged as a direct result of Hurricane Michael and purchased during the period from October 10, 2018, through June 30, 2019.
  • Sales tax exemption for fencing materials used to replace or repair farm fences on agricultural land damaged as a direct result of Hurricane Michael and purchased during the period from October 10, 2018, through June 30, 2019.
  • Refund of fuel taxes used for agricultural shipments or hurricane debris removal after Hurricane Michael. The exemption applies to state and local taxes on fuel purchased and used in Florida during the period of October 10, 2018, through June 30, 2019.

Reduces Business Rent Tax

The legislation permanently lowers the sales tax charged on commercial leases. In 2017, the Legislature lowered the six percent tax on the total rent or license fee charged for renting any real property from 6 percent to 5.8 percent. In 2018, the Legislature further reduced the business rent tax from 5.8 percent to 5.7 percent. HB 7123 further reduces the business rent tax from 5.7 percent to 5.5 percent. Florida is the only state in the country to impose this type of tax on businesses. 

Additional Tax Relief Measures

  • Extends the time period insurance companies can make qualifying contributions to a Scholarship Funding Organization.
  • Current law exempts transfers of homestead property between spouses from documentary stamp tax when the transfer occurs within one year of marriage. The amendment removes the one-year limitation.
  • Exempts from sales tax property purchased by a business for resale that is donated to a charitable organization.
  • Further reduces certain traffic fines, from a 9% reduction to an 18% reduction in the fine, when the driver attends traffic school.

Photo: Getty Images

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