Florida Senate - 2020                                    SB 1778
       By Senator Gruters
       23-00609B-20                                          20201778__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to taxation of real property; amending
    3         s. 212.031, F.S.; exempting from the sales and use tax
    4         certain property that is rented, leased, subleased, or
    5         licensed to a specified small business; providing
    6         definitions; providing application procedures;
    7         requiring the Department of Revenue to approve or deny
    8         such application within a specified time period;
    9         providing requirements for the department and the
   10         small business; providing for expiration of the
   11         approval letter; providing renewal procedures;
   12         providing an effective date.
   14  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   16         Section 1. Subsection (10) is added to section 212.031,
   17  Florida Statutes, to read:
   18         212.031 Tax on rental or license fee for use of real
   19  property.—
   20         (10)(a)The rental, lease, sublease, or license of real
   21  property to a small business is exempt from the tax imposed by
   22  this section.
   23         (b)For purposes of this subsection, the term:
   24         1.“Small business” means a business that employs nine or
   25  fewer total employees at all of its business locations which are
   26  related through common ownership and whose business activities
   27  are integrated with, dependent upon, or contribute to the flow
   28  of value among such locations.
   29         2.“Total employees” means all full-time and part-time
   30  employees currently employed by a small business at all of its
   31  business locations, wherever they are located, and includes any
   32  person performing services for the small business under an
   33  employee leasing arrangement as defined in s. 468.520(4).
   34         (c)To receive an exemption under paragraph (a), a small
   35  business must submit a completed application to the department
   36  containing the following information:
   37         1.A statement that the small business is seeking the
   38  exemption provided in this subsection.
   39         2.The name, mailing address, and, if applicable, the
   40  federal employment identification number and business partner
   41  number of the small business.
   42         3.A list of the physical addresses of each of the small
   43  business’s business locations in the state.
   44         4.A copy of the small business’s most recently signed and
   45  filed Florida Department of Revenue Employer’s Quarterly Report
   46  (RT-6) documenting that nine or fewer employees were employed
   47  during each of the months within the most recently filed RT-6,
   48  if such small business was required to file the RT-6.
   49         5.A sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, executed by
   50  a duly authorized officer or agent of the small business
   51  certifying the number of total employees employed by the small
   52  business and attesting to the accuracy of the information
   53  included in the application.
   54         (d)1.The department must review each application to
   55  determine whether it is complete. If it is not complete, the
   56  department must notify the small business and specify the
   57  additional information necessary to complete the application.
   58         2.The department must approve or deny each complete
   59  application within 30 days after receiving it. The department
   60  shall review and verify the small business’s eligibility for the
   61  exemption by confirming that the number of total employees in
   62  the certification statement and the number of total employees
   63  listed in the RT-6 is nine or fewer, if the RT-6 was required to
   64  be submitted.
   65         3.If the department determines that the small business is
   66  eligible for the exemption, it must issue an approval letter to
   67  the small business that includes the name of the small business,
   68  a list of all of the small business’s business locations in the
   69  state, a statement that the small business qualifies for the
   70  exemption under this subsection, and an expiration date that is
   71  1 year after the last day of the month in which the approval
   72  letter was issued.
   73         4.If the department is unable to verify the eligibility of
   74  the small business, the department must issue a denial letter to
   75  the small business explaining the reasons for denial.
   76         (e)To obtain the exemption under this subsection, the
   77  small business must submit the approval letter to the landlord,
   78  lessor, or licensor. The exemption applies only during the time
   79  that the small business occupies, uses, or is entitled to occupy
   80  or use the real property regardless of when a rent or license
   81  fee payment is due or paid. The applicable tax under this
   82  chapter may not be avoided by delaying or accelerating rent or
   83  license fee payments so that they are paid during a period
   84  covered by the approval letter.
   85         (f)1.An approval letter is valid for 1 year after the last
   86  day of the month in which it was issued. To continue receiving
   87  the tax exemption without interruption, the small business must
   88  submit a new application to the department at least 45 days
   89  before the approval letter is scheduled to expire.
   90         2.A small business that does not reapply within the
   91  timeframe specified in subparagraph 1. may submit a new
   92  application to the department at any time. Any rental, lease,
   93  sublease, or license of real property to the small business
   94  after a previously issued approval letter has expired is subject
   95  to the applicable tax under this chapter unless it is otherwise
   96  exempt.
   97         Section 2. This act shall take effect January 1, 2021.