With a month left until Manatee County’s half-cent infrastructure sales tax goes into effect, the state has been notifying Manatee County residents and businesses of the rate change.
Manatee County’s sales tax rate will become 7 percent on Jan. 1 since both the new county sales tax and the extension of the half-cent school sales tax were approved. In Manatee County, the current sales tax is 6.5 percent.
Once notified that both initiatives were approved by voters in the November election, the Florida Department of Revenue began the process to adjust the tax rate in the county, sending out a Tax Information Publication to “notify taxpayer within the jurisdiction, as well as key stakeholders, of the tax rate change,” according to Valerie Wickboldt, communications director of the Florida Department of Revenue.
More than 11,000 “sales and use tax dealers in Manatee County” were directly mailed the Tax Information Publication, which was also sent to the Manatee County School Board, Manatee County Commission, the Florida Bar and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants. It also was posted on the department’s website, Wickboldt said.
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In the Tax Information Publication, it states that the county’s half-cent sales tax, which becomes effective Jan. 1, expires Dec. 31, 2031. The school board sales tax was extended to Dec. 31, 2032.
“Dealers should begin collecting the new combined 7 percent rate on January 1, 2017,” the letter states. “All state sales and use tax and local surtax collected must be reported and remitted to the Department of Revenue.”
Since an individual business selects the point of sale system used, it varies on how a business changes the tax rate, Wickboldt said.
“The method to changing tax rate information in their system would vary by business and what point of sale system they use,” she said. “If a business owner had questions about that process, they would want to reach out to the provider of that point of sale system.”
The local surtax is collected in the same way and reported to the state on the same return as the state sales tax, Wickboldt said.
“To ensure proper processing, the department updates its systems to reflect the current local tax rates and provides pre-printed tax returns containing the corresponding tax rates for the tax filers within that jurisdiction,” she said. “Upon receipt of the tax payment and return, the department reconciles the payment with the return data. The taxes are then distributed back to the jurisdiction based on either a statutory formula or inter-local agreements as appropriate.”
County officials have said the county sales tax, which could be used to leverage the issuance of debt to finance improvements, should generate enough to address transportation, public safety and parks/community amenity needs as the county faces a deficit come 2018. Officials estimate the sales tax will generate $30 million a year, with about $5 million allocated for the cities.
The half-cent school sales tax, which helps the district with capital improvements such as new schools, generates about $30 million annually.