According to the Tax Foundation, Florida residents paid lower taxes in 2009 than the national average. Additionally, certain Florida cities offer vacationers the most attractive travel tax rates in the United States. While Florida does not levy a personal income tax, both state and local governments levy sales and property taxes. Florida sales and property tax rates can vary widely by locality, and can change on an annual basis.
Florida levies a statewide general sales tax of 6 percent, as of August 2011. The state also levies a use tax on items bought in-state and out-of-state without paying sales taxes. The majority of Florida counties also levy a sales surtax on purchases. Monroe County, which includes the cities of Key West and Marathon, levies a sales surtax of 1.5 percent, among the highest in the state. Alachua County imposes the lowest sales surtax in the state, .25 percent. Alachua County includes Gainesville and the towns of Alachua, Waldo, Archer, Newberry, Hot Springs and Hawthorne.
Both state and local governments in Florida collect property taxes. According to the Florida Department of Revenue, nearly 650 local governments impose a property tax. Governments that levy property taxes can include counties, cities, school boards and special districts. Local taxing agencies determine property tax rates, also referred to a millage rates, each year. Taxing agencies set millage rates according to the funding needed to provide their services. According to the Florida Association of Counties, Okaloosa County had the lowest local property taxes in Florida during fiscal year 2010 to 2011, with a millage rate of 3.3735. Okaloosa County includes the cities of Destin and Fort Walton Beach. Dixie County, which includes the cities of Horseshoe Beach and Cross City, had the highest millage rate during fiscal 2010 to 2011, at 13.
Certain travel destinations in Florida have the lowest travel taxes in the United State, according to the Global Business Travel Association Foundation. A study published by the GBTA in July 2011 found that Fort Lauderdale, Florida, had the lowest overall travel taxes in the entire United States. The study factored in general sales taxes, along with travel-specific taxes levied on expenses such as hotel rooms and rental cars. The GBTA study also ranked Fort Myers, Florida, as the second lowest city for travel taxes in the United States and West Palm Beach third lowest.
No state, local or county governments in Florida levy personal income taxes, as of 2011. Florida also offers numerous tax exemptions that have made the state popular with retirees. No taxing agency in Florida levies taxes on retirement income or earnings from money market funds, stocks, mutual funds or bonds.
- Florida Department of Revenue: Property Tax Oversight
- Florida Department of Revenue: Discretionary Sales Surtax Information
- GBTA Foundation; GBTA Reveals Best and Worst Travel Taxes in Top 50 U.S. Destinations; July 2011
- Kiplinger; Retiree Tax Guide to Florida; June 2011
- State of Florida. "The 2019 Florida Statutes." Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.
- City of Jacksonville. "Save Our Homes - Assessment Cap On Homesteaded Property." Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.
- Florida Dept. of Revenue. "Property Tax Exemptions and Additional Benefits." Accessed Sept, 16, 2020.
- Florida Dept. of Revenue. "Original Application for Homestead and Related Tax Exemptions." Page 2. Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.
- Tax Foundation. "State Corporate Income Tax Rates and Brackets for 2020." Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.
- Florida Dept. of Revenue. "Estate Tax." Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.
- Florida Dept. of Revenue. "Documentary Stamp Tax." Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.
- Florida Dept. of Revenue. "Florida Sales and Use Tax." Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.
- Tax Foundation. "How High Are Gas Taxes in Your State?" Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.
- Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "State Excise Tax Rates for Non-Cigarette Tobacco Products." Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.
- Florida Dept. of Revenue. "Local Option Transient Rental Tax Rates." Accessed Sept. 16, 2020.
Michael Evans graduated from The University of Memphis, where he studied photography and film production. His writings have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including International Living, USA Today, The Guardian, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance and Bankrate.