Florida Tangible Personal Property Tax

The Florida tangible personal property tax is a tax on business assets. Most types of businesses are subject to this tax even if unincorporated or a single independent contractor.

This post is provided for general information only. Please confirm the details and circumstances of your unique situation with your tax accountant or other appropriate advisor before taking action.

Why is it called a personal property tax if it’s for businesses?

The personal in personal property taxes doesn’t refer to personal the same was as a personal income tax return versus a business tax return. In this case, personal means not real estate or certain types of vehicles.

To be clear, the tax is only on business property and not what you have in your house as personal belongings.

What counts as tangible personal property?

The legal definition of tangible personal property is goods, chattles, and other articles of value (but not certain vehicles) capable of manual possession and whose chief value is intrinsic to the article itself.

Another way to think of personal property is as freestanding property — things that you can hold in your hand or at least move around. This includes things like furniture, fixtures, and equipment.

Intangible property, such as trademarks or money owed, is not subject to this tax.

What about inventory?

Inventory that you intend to sell is exempt from the tangible personal property tax. Inventory that you intend to lease out or rent must be reported.

What vehicles do and don’t count as personal property?

Generally, vehicles that you register and drive on the road don’t count as personal property. Vehicles that you use as a tool around a job site count as personal property.

What about leased or rented equipment?

Both the lessor and the lessee reported rented equipment. The equipment is typically included in the owner’s tangible personal property. The borrower reports leased, loaned, or rented equipment on a separate line.

How much is the tangible personal property tax in Florida?

Like real property taxes, tangible property taxes are set at the county level. There are often multiple rates such as the county’s general fund, school district, and water management district.

The tangible personal property tax rate is usually similar to the real property tax rate. The first $25,000 in property is exempt from tax.

You must file a tangible personal property tax return even if your property is worth less than the property tax exemption. Some counties will waive your filing requirement after your initial return shows less than $25,000 in personal property, but you must file a return if you acquire property that exceeds the exemption.

How is personal property valued?

The county property appraiser determines the value of all personal property. Property owners must report each item with its original cost and estimated current fair market value.

The original cost includes sales tax, installation charges, and other acquisition costs. It is not adjusted for depreciation.

The property appraiser makes the final determination of taxable value using the Tangible Personal Property Appraisal Guidelines.

What do you do if you close your business?

The annual personal property tax bill is based on whether you were in business on January 1st of the assessment year. Businesses closed after January 1st may be liable for the current year’s tax.

Notify the property appraiser when you close your business to avoid future assessments.

What is the deadline to file your personal property return?

The deadline to file your personal property tax return is March 31st each year.

What if you don’t file on time?

The failing to file penalty is 5% of the tax owed per month late up to a maximum of 25%.

You may also be subject to a penalty of 15% of the tax on any property you fail to list.

What is the deadline to pay personal property taxes?

The normal deadline to pay personal property taxes is March 31st.

There are discounts for early payments (paid any time during that month):

  • February: 1%
  • January: 2%
  • December: 3%
  • November: 4%

Some counties have an installment payment option. By state law, installment payment bills are due as follows.

  • 1st payment: Due June 30th, 25% of estimated taxes, 6% discount
  • 2nd payment: Due Sepetmber 30th, 25% of estimated taxes, 4.5% discount
  • 3rd payment: Due December 31st, 50% of remaining tax owed after current personal property tax bill sent, 3% discount
  • 4th payment: Due on March 31st, remaining balance, no discount.

You must contact your county property appraisal if you wish to make installment payments.

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