New bill removes ‘hidden’ Florida sales tax, could save consumers $140M a year

A small change in a huge number in financial transactions, like those going on every day in Florida, can result in millions of dollars saved over an average year.

That is the goal of a new bill filed by state Sen. John Legg and freshman state Rep. Danny Burgess, who each submitted legislation to streamline the way Florida calculates sales tax. If passed, it could save taxpayers as much as $140 million in “hidden” charges.

Florida currently charges a percent for each full dollar amount, with partial cents divided in into tax brackets. Senate Bill 506 and House Bill 355 call for eliminating those brackets, allowing retailers to multiply the entire purchase amount by the sales tax rate, then round down to the nearest whole cent.

Calculating by the bracket method often leads to higher charges for sales tax, a “hidden tax” passed on to consumers. Bracketed charges can be as much as 13 percent on the partial dollar amount, adding up statewide to as much as $140 million a year.

“By rounding down with the sales tax, it calculates in favor of the consumer, instead of the State of Florida,” said Legg, a Lutz Republican. “Those cents add up to an estimated taxpayer savings ranging between $85 million to more than $140 million.”

Burgess, the first-term legislator from San Antonio, adds that the tax break will benefit all Floridians.

“Everyone in Florida deserves to keep more of their hard-earned money,” he said in a statement. “This legislation eliminates three pages of the tax code and will affect Floridians of all incomes on every purchase they make.” read more...

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