FLORIDA TAX RESEARCH

The Florida legislative process is similar to the federal process in that bills are referred to committee, and must pass both the House and Senate. Also, differences are resolved in conference, and bills must be signed by the governor. Bills introduced into the Florida House of Representatives are referred to the Committee on Finance and Taxation. Bills introduced in the Florida Senate are referred to the Committee of Appropriations. The Governor has seven days to sign or veto acts passed by the legislature.  

Florida sources discussed below are much less voluminous than federal sources. This is in part because the state has no individual income tax and in part because the state system for both the Florida corporate income tax and the Florida estate tax is based on the federal system. As a result, federal regulations, rulings, and cases are all authority for Florida issues. In fact, the Florida Supreme Court has held that elections made for federal purposes are binding for Florida purposes. This does not, however, apply to extensions. 

All of the below sources, except committee reports and older cases, are available through the Florida Department of Revenue   Website  which can also be reached via a link from my homepage.  Most of the sources are also available in the CCH Internet Tax Research Network, and  in Lexis-Nexus.   

Florida Statutes 
Florida tax laws are found Title XIV "Taxation and Finance" of the "Florida Statutes" with each tax located in a separate chapter. For example, the Corporation Income Tax in found in Chapter 220 of the Florida Statutes entitled "Florida Income Tax Code".  

Sample citation:  

F. S. Sec. 220.01.  Florida Statutes are cataloged in reference at KFF30.A2F55. Tax statutes are available in commercial services with Florida volumes.   

Committee Reports 
Florida committee reports are cited in a manner similar to federal reports. Florida reports are unavailable in print in the UCF library, nor are they available on the Internet. These reports are generally written by the staff, are brief, and are infrequently cited.  

Rules 
Florida administrative pronouncements are included in the "Florida Administrative Code". These pronouncements are formally called "Rules and Regulations" but are usually called "Rules" for short. These "Rules" compare to Regulations at the federal level (not Rulings). Under Florida law, tax forms have the same standing as Rules. Department of Revenue Rules begin with the initial identification code "12". Rules issued under Chapter 220 (Florida Corporate Income Tax) bear the initial identification code "12C-1".  

Sample citation:  

Rule 12C-1.003.35-C.  The Rules relating to other Florida taxes are identified with the initial code "12" followed additional letters or letters and numbers. Rules are found in the Florida Administrative Code, Annotated cataloged in ready reference on the second floor at FL. Doc. KFF35. Rules are also available in commercial services with Florida volumes. The identification codes associated with some major Florida taxes are summarized below: 
 

 
 
 Tax Chapter Rules
 Florida Income Tax Code  220  12C-1
 Florida Revenue Act of 1949 (sales and use taxes)  212  12A
Municipal Home Rule Powers Act (real and tangible personal property taxes)  166  12D
 Intangible Personal Property Taxes   199  12C-2
 Estate Taxes  198  12C-3
 Excise Tax on Documents  201  12B
 
 
Technical Assistance Advisements 
Department of Revenue issues Technical Assistance Advisement (TAAs) which are similar to IRS Private Letter Rulings.  

Sample Citation:  

TAA 86C1-003.  The specific tax is identified by the same reference system as "Rules" except that the "12" is omitted from the notation. For example, the above citation refers to the 3rd TAA issued in 1986 dealing with an income tax issue (C1).   Some publications use (C)-1 in lieu of C1 in the citation.  

Attorney General Opinions 
Opinions of the state Attorney General are also authoritative. 

Sample Citation: 

                         AGO 99-001. 

The first digits indicate the year the opinion was issued and the last digits indicate the specific opinion within the year. 

Taxpayer Information Publications 
Taxpayer Information Publications (TIPs) are issued by the Department of Revenue and may be compared to IRS publications.  Unlike IRS publications, however, TIPs are authoritative. 

Sample Citation: 

                         TIP 99C1-01. 

The reference identifies the year the publication was issued (1999), the tax (C1 which refers to the income tax), and the specific publication within the year (number 1). 



Department of Revenue 

Most Florida tax laws are administered by the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR). The DOR is responsible for the Florida corporate income tax, intangible tax, estate tax, and sales and use taxes. CPAs may practice before the Department of Revenue.  

Certain fees and taxes are administered by other state agencies. These include the annual report and fee for corporations and limited partnerships (Department of State) motor vehicle licenses and fees (Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles), other licenses (State Comptroller), and alcohol and tobacco taxes (Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco). Also, real and personal property tax assessments and collections are handled by counties.  

Following audits, Department of Revenue auditors issue "Notices of Intent to Make Audit Changes" if they believe additional amounts are owed. Taxpayers have 30 days to respond. Requests for relief will ordinarily result in a field conference with the auditor. If matters are unresolved after the conference, taxpayers have 60 days to file a written protest requesting a hearing with the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals. After hearings, the Bureau issues "Notices of Decisions". Taxpayers have 30 days to request reconsideration. Requests must be in writing.  

Florida Courts 
The trial court for Florida tax cases is the Florida Circuit Court. Circuit Court cases are reported in the Florida Supplements (Fla Supp). Taxpayers may file in county of residence or in Leon County (where the DOR's head office is located). Nonresident taxpayers must file in Leon County. Taxpayers must first pay the disputed amount unless the DOR gives a written waiver. Alternatively, taxpayers may file cash bond. Appeals are to the District Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court of Florida. District Court of Appeals cases are reported in the Southern Reporter (So) and Southern Reporter, 2d Series (So 2d). Supreme Court of Florida cases are reported in the Southern Reporter and Florida Reports (Fla).  

No one publishes Florida tax cases separately. As a result, Florida tax cases must be cited to the principal reporters (Fla Supp, So, So 2d, and Fla). These reporters contain tax cases along with other cases decided by Florida courts.  

Sample citations: 

Roberts v. American National Bank, 94 Fla 427, 115 So 261 (Fla. Sup. Ct., 1927).  

Shell Oil Co. v. Department of Revenue, 461 So 2d 959 (Fla. Ct. Appl., 1984).  

Sherry Frontenac, Inc. v. Tax Assessor, 35 Fla Supp 140 (Fla. Circuit Ct., 1971).