2004 Florida Statutes
Simplified Sales and Use Tax Administration Act.
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) "Department" means the Department of Revenue.
(b) "Agreement" means the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement as amended and adopted on January 27, 2001, by the Executive Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
(c) "Certified automated system" means software certified jointly by the states that are signatories to the agreement to calculate the tax imposed by each jurisdiction on a transaction, determine the amount of tax to remit to the appropriate state, and maintain a record of the transaction.
(d) "Certified service provider" means an agent certified jointly by the states that are signatories to the agreement to perform all of the seller's sales tax functions.
(e) "Person" means an individual, trust, estate, fiduciary, partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, corporation, or any other legal entity.
(f) "Sales tax" means the tax levied under chapter 212.
(g) "Seller" means any person making sales, leases, or rentals of personal property or services.
(h) "State" means any state of the United States and the District of Columbia.
(i) "Use tax" means the tax levied under chapter 212.
(2)(a) The executive director of the department shall enter into the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement with one or more states to simplify and modernize sales and use tax administration in order to substantially reduce the burden of tax compliance for all sellers and for all types of commerce. In furtherance of the agreement, the executive director of the department or his or her designee shall act jointly with other states that are members of the agreement to establish standards for certification of a certified service provider and certified automated system and establish performance standards for multistate sellers.
(b) The executive director of the department or his or her designee shall take other actions reasonably required to administer this section. Other actions authorized by this section include, but are not limited to, the adoption of rules and the joint procurement, with other member states, of goods and services in furtherance of the cooperative agreement.
(c) The executive director of the department or his or her designee may represent this state before the other states that are signatories to the agreement.
(3) The executive director of the department may not enter into the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement unless the agreement requires each state to abide by the following requirements:
(a) The agreement must set restrictions to limit, over time, the number of state tax rates.
(b) The agreement must establish uniform standards for:
1. The sourcing of transactions to taxing jurisdictions.
2. The administration of exempt sales.
3. Sales and use tax returns and remittances.
(c) The agreement must provide a central electronic registration system that allows a seller to register to collect and remit sales and use taxes for all signatory states.
(d) The agreement must provide that registration with the central registration system and the collection of sales and use taxes in the signatory state will not be used as a factor in determining whether the seller has nexus with a state for any tax.
(e) The agreement must provide for reduction of the burdens of complying with local sales and use taxes through:
1. Restricting variances between the state and local tax bases.
2. Requiring states to administer any sales and use taxes levied by local jurisdictions within the state so that sellers who collect and remit these taxes will not have to register or file returns with, remit funds to, or be subject to independent audits from local taxing jurisdictions.
3. Restricting the frequency of changes in the local sales and use tax rates and setting effective dates for the application of local jurisdictional boundary changes to local sales and use taxes.
4. Providing notice of changes in local sales and use tax rates and of local changes in the boundaries of local taxing jurisdictions.
(f) The agreement must outline any monetary allowances that are to be provided by the states to sellers or certified service providers. The agreement must allow for a joint study by the public and private sectors, which must be completed by July 1, 2002, of the compliance cost to sellers and certified service providers of collecting sales and use taxes for state and local governments under various levels of complexity.
(g) The agreement must require each state to certify compliance with the terms of the agreement before joining and to maintain compliance, under the laws of the member state, with all provisions of the agreement while a member.
(h) The agreement must require each state to adopt a uniform policy for certified service providers which protects the privacy of consumers and maintains the confidentiality of tax information.
(i) The agreement must provide for the appointment of an advisory council of private sector representatives and an advisory council of nonmember state representatives to consult within the administration of the agreement.
(4) For the purposes of reviewing or amending the agreement to embody the simplification requirements as set forth in subsection (3), this state shall enter into multistate discussions. For purposes of such discussions, this state shall be represented by three delegates, one appointed by the President of the Senate, one appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the executive director of the department or his or her designee.
(5) No provision of the agreement authorized by this section in whole or in part invalidates or amends any provision of the laws of this state. Adoption of the agreement by this state does not amend or modify any law of the state. Implementation of any condition of the agreement in this state, whether adopted before, at, or after membership of this state in the agreement, must be by the action of the state.
(6) The agreement authorized by this section is an accord among individual cooperating sovereigns in furtherance of their governmental functions. The agreement provides a mechanism among the member states to establish and maintain a cooperative, simplified system for the application and administration of sales and use taxes under the duly adopted law of each member state.
(7)(a) The agreement authorized by this act binds and inures only to the benefit of this state and the other member states. No person, other than a member state, is an intended beneficiary of the agreement. Any benefit to a person other than a state is established by the laws of this state and of other member states and not by the terms of the agreement.
(b) Consistent with paragraph (a), no person has any cause of action or defense under the agreement or by virtue of this state's approval of the agreement. No person may challenge, in any action brought under any provision of law, any action or inaction by any department, agency, or other instrumentality of this state, or of any political subdivision of this state, on the ground that the action or inaction is inconsistent with the agreement.
(c) No law of this state, or the application thereof, may be declared invalid as to any person or circumstance on the ground that the provision or application is inconsistent with the agreement.
(8)(a) A certified service provider is the agent of a seller with whom the certified service provider has contracted for the collection and remittance of sales and use taxes. As the seller's agent, the certified service provider is liable for sales and use tax due each member state on all sales transactions it processes for the seller except as set out in this subsection.
(b) A seller that contracts with a certified service provider is not liable to the state for sales or use tax due on transactions processed by the certified service provider unless the seller has misrepresented the type of items it sells or has committed fraud. In the absence of probable cause to believe that the seller has committed fraud or made a material misrepresentation, the seller is not subject to audit on the transactions processed by the certified service provider. A seller is subject to audit for transactions that have not been processed by the certified service provider. The member states acting jointly may perform a system check of the seller and review the seller's procedures to determine if the certified service provider's system is functioning properly and to determine the extent to which the seller's transactions are being processed by the certified service provider.
(c) A person that provides a certified automated system is responsible for the proper functioning of that system and is liable to the state for underpayments of tax attributable to errors in the functioning of the certified automated system. A seller that uses a certified automated system remains responsible and is liable to the state for reporting and remitting tax.
(d) A seller that has a proprietary system for determining the amount of tax due on transactions and has signed an agreement establishing a performance standard for that system is liable for the failure of the system to meet the performance standard.
(9) Disclosure of information necessary under this section must be pursuant to a written agreement between the executive director of the department or his or her designee and the certified service provider. The certified service provider is bound by the same requirements of confidentiality as the department. Breach of confidentiality is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083
(10) On or before January 1 annually, the department shall provide recommendations to the President of the Senate, the Senate Minority Leader, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives for provisions to be adopted for inclusion within the system which are necessary to bring it into compliance with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.
History.--s. 3, ch. 2001-225.