2012 Florida Statutes
Equalizing assessment; credit; exemption.
Equalizing assessment; credit; exemption.
601.155 Equalizing assessment; credit; exemption.—
(1) The first person who exercises in this state the privilege of processing, reprocessing, blending, or mixing processed orange products or processed grapefruit products or the privilege of packaging or repackaging processed orange products or processed grapefruit products into retail or institutional size containers or, except as provided in subsection (9) or except if an assessment is levied and collected on the exercise of one of the foregoing privileges, the first person having title to or possession of any processed orange product or any processed grapefruit product who exercises the privilege in this state of storing such product or removing any portion of such product from the original container in which it arrived in this state for purposes other than official inspection or direct consumption by the consumer and not for resale shall be assessed and shall pay an assessment upon the exercise of such privilege at the rate described in subsection (2).
(2) Upon the exercise of any privilege described in subsection (1), the assessment levied by this section shall be at the same rate per box of oranges or grapefruit utilized in the initial production of the processed citrus products so handled as that imposed, at the time of exercise of the assessable privilege, by s. 601.15 per box of oranges.
(3) For the purposes of this section, the number of boxes of oranges or grapefruit utilized in the initial production of processed citrus products subject to the assessable privilege shall be:
(a) The actual number of boxes so utilized, if known and verified in accordance with department rules; or
(b) An equivalent number established by department rule which, on the basis of existing data, reasonably equates to the quantity of citrus contained in the product, when the actual number of boxes so utilized is not known or properly verified.
(4) For purposes of this section:
(a) “Processed orange products” means products for human consumption consisting of 20 percent or more single strength equivalent orange juice; orange sections, segments, or edible components; or whole peeled fruit.
(b) “Processed grapefruit products” means products for human consumption consisting of 20 percent or more single strength equivalent grapefruit juice; grapefruit sections, segments, or edible components; or whole peeled fruit.
(c) “Original container” includes any vessel, tanker or tank car, or other transport vehicle.
(d) “Retail or institutional container” means a container having a capacity of 10 gallons or less.
(5) Products made in whole or in part from citrus fruit on which an equivalent assessment is levied pursuant to s. 601.15 are exempt from the assessment imposed by this section. In the case of products made in part from citrus fruit exempt from the assessment imposed by this section, it shall be the burden of the persons liable for the assessment to show the department, through competent evidence, proof of that part which is not subject to an assessable privilege.
(6) Every person liable for the assessment imposed by this section shall keep a complete and accurate record of the receipt, storage, handling, exercise of any assessable privilege under this section, and shipment of all products subject to the assessment imposed by this section. Such record shall be preserved for a period of 1 year and shall be offered for inspection upon oral or written request by the department or its duly authorized agent.
(7) Every person liable for the assessment imposed by this section shall, at such times and in such manner as the department may by rule require, file with the department a return, certified as true and correct, on forms to be prescribed and furnished by the department, stating, in addition to other information reasonably required by the department, the number of units of processed orange or grapefruit products subject to this section upon which any assessable privilege under this section was exercised during the period of time covered by the return. Full payment of assessments due for the period reported shall accompany each return.
(8) All assessments levied and imposed by this section shall be due and payable within 61 days after the first of the assessable privileges is exercised in this state. Periodic payment of the assessments imposed by this section by the person first exercising the assessable privileges and liable for such payment shall be permitted only in accordance with department rules, and the payment thereof shall be guaranteed by the posting of an appropriate certificate of deposit, approved surety bond, letter of credit from an issuing financial institution located in the United States, or cash deposit in an amount and manner as prescribed by the department.
(9) When any processed orange or grapefruit product is stored or removed from its original container as provided in subsection (1), the equalizing assessment is levied on such storage or removal, and such product is subsequently shipped out of the state in a vessel, tanker or tank car, or container having a capacity greater than 10 gallons, the person who is liable for the assessment shall be entitled to an assessment refund, if such assessment has been paid, or to an assessment credit, provided she or he can provide satisfactory proof that such product has been shipped out of the state and that no privilege assessable under subsection (1) other than storage or removal from the original container was exercised before such shipment out of the state.
(10) Notwithstanding any provision of law, the department shall develop a process by which any person liable for the assessment imposed under this section may annually object to payment of the assessment. Any such objection must be allowed without discretion as to the validity thereof, and that person shall be granted the immediate right to elect not to pay two-thirds of the applicable assessment. The department may not expend any of the remaining one-third of the applicable assessment on any advertising, marketing, or public relations activities to which any person liable for the assessment imposed under this section objects; however, such funds may be used for research, administrative, and regulatory activities. Effective July 1, 2004, upon any necessary legislative appropriation of moneys due under the settlement agreement of Consolidated Case No. 2002-CA-4686 in the Circuit Court of the Tenth Judicial Circuit in Polk County, the plaintiffs shall agree to the dismissal of their claim under the foreign commerce clause with prejudice.
(11) All assessments levied and collected under this section, including penalties, shall be paid into the State Treasury to be made a part of the Florida Citrus Advertising Trust Fund in the same manner, for the same purposes, and in the same proportions as set forth in s. 601.15(7). Any person failing to file a return or pay any assessment within the time required shall thereby forfeit to the department a penalty of 5 percent of the amount of assessment then due, but the department, on good cause shown, may waive all or any part of such penalty.
(12) This section shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes set forth and as additional and supplemental powers vested in the department under the police power of this state.
History.—s. 1, ch. 70-142; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 22, ch. 71-186; s. 1, ch. 73-29; s. 1, ch. 78-99; s. 1, ch. 83-143; s. 3, ch. 85-170; s. 4, ch. 87-44; s. 971, ch. 97-103; s. 79, ch. 2000-154; s. 2, ch. 2002-26; s. 1, ch. 2004-36; s. 20, ch. 2012-182.