Bill dies to phase out commercial-lease tax

Bill dies to phase out commercial-lease tax

April 28, 2013 – Reposting from an earlier story

By Mary Shanklin, Orlando Sentinel

Legislation that would have phased out the longstanding sales tax charged on commercial leases has died in committee during the current session of the state Legislature.

The International Council of Shopping Centers and Florida Realtors were among the groups pushing for bills that would have phased out the tax by 2019. They had been introduced by Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, and Rep. H. Marlene O’Toole, R-Lady Lake. A spokeswoman for Hukill’s office said the measures did not have the support necessary to get either to the full House or Senate.

The tax generates about $1.2 billion a year in revenue for the state. Retailers had championed the bills, saying they would have freed up more money to invest in properties and offer out-of-state companies more incentives to move to Florida.

Florida is the only state that taxes commercial rents, according to Florida Realtors. Commercial tenants pay 6 percent sales tax on rent, and local governments may charge an additional discretionary sales surtax.

The sales tax applies to the “total rent charged,” which covers a wide range of lease-related charges. Businesses often pay sales tax on insurance premiums, property taxes and common-area maintenance fees for such things as landscaping, janitorial services and building repairs.

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