The Panhandle Professional Photographers Guild meeting for February was devoted to understanding the rules, regulation and requirements of operating a business in Florida and collection of Sales Tax for the Department of Revenue.
Joshua Allen, CFCA, MBTO, Director of Business Collections, Okalossa County
Mr. Allen spoke to the guild about the license requirements of doing business in Florida and the requirement of have a business license, occupational license or tax certificate which ever the county you are dealing with it happens to call their form of business regulation.
Basically you are required to obtain a "certificate" to work in any county in which you do business if that county requires you to do so. The definition of doing business is "providing a service". It does not matter where your "office" is located or where your "financial transactions" occur. If you photograph a client in that county, you are required to have a "certificate" to do so.
As and example, if you run your business out of your home or office located in Escambia County and you photograph clients on Okaloosa Island, you are then required to be registered/licensed to do business in both Escambia and Okaloosa counties. Walton county does not require an occupational license, however if you are located in the city limits of certain cities, you are then required by that city to obtain and occupational license.
Bottom line, pay the small fee for any county that you photograph clients in. It's better to pay the small fee yearly than to be fined if or when you get caught. If you are unclear as to what the requirements are for your county and city, call them and find out.
Department of Revenue, Sales and Usage Tax
Shirley Pridgen, DOR, Panama City Service Center
MS. Pridgen spoke to the Guild on the proper collecting and filing of Florida Sales tax. Below are the hand outs that she supplied us with during the meeting along with a few notes that I took. Sales tax is crazy and complicated and we all know that if you ask five people a question, you will get five different answers. So to protect yourself, get the answer you need in writing! You can call (850)617-8346 to get information to submit your questions in writing and get a written response that will cover you if/when you get audited.
For what it’s worth, here is my take on the information we received. As I said, get you own questions answered in writing and be protected.
Session fees are TAXED IF: you charge a session fee and a sale of products is produced from that session and the products are delivered to the client in the state of Florida
Session fees are NOT TAXED IF:you charge a session fee and all products are shipped outside of the state of Floirda
Session Fees are NOT TAXED IF: No sale of products occurs from the session.Example: your clients lives in Florida, you charge a session fee, however the client never orders a product, no sale occurs, the session fee is then non-taxableWhat amount do you charge for sales tax?
The Florida (FL) state sales tax rate is currently 6%. Depending on local municipalities, the total tax rate can be as high as 7.5% To determine the rate that you would charge your Florida clients, you have to find out what the tax rate is for the county in which you are DELIVERING THE PRODUCT, not the county in which your business resides. If you are unsure as to what you should be charging, again getting it in writing from the DOR!
Hope this information helps some of you and enables you to understand what questions you need to ask the DOR so that you know that you are running your business correctly.
Below are the hand outs that we received from at the meeting. You may need to increase the print size on your screen by pressing "cmd +" on Mac and "cant +" on PC
If anyone else who attended the meeting remembers something that I might have missed or left out, please feel free to add your information in the comment section below.