Florida imposes a sales tax on most goods and services, with some counties applying an additional tax. The tax usually covers the entire price paid by the purchaser, including shipping and handling. The only exception is if the delivery costs are genuinely optional.
Florida Sales Tax
Florida requires most businesses to collect and pay sales tax at a rate of 6 percent. Federal, state and local government agencies are normally exempted; certain types of nonprofit organizations, such as charities or educational groups, also can apply for exemption.
Discretionary Sales Surtax
Individual counties in Florida apply a varying sales surtax, known informally as a county tax, on transactions that qualify for the state sale tax. Usually this surtax is applied when an item is delivered into the county. The amount paid in total sales tax by the retailer, therefore, depends on the location of the purchaser.
Shipping and Handling
Transportation charges that make up part of the total bill are normally subject to sales tax. This includes charges such as shipping and handling, including when such charges are described with different terms, such as carrying or delivery.
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Transportation charges are only exempt from sales taxes when two circumstances are both met. Firstly, the transportation charge must be listed separately on the invoice. Secondly, the purchaser must have a way of avoiding the transportation charge. This could include the purchaser collecting the item in person or arranging for a third party to collect and deliver the goods. A seller that lists a separate shipping and handling fee but makes this fee mandatory will have to pay sales tax on the total price, including this fee.