In Florida any sale, admission, rental lease, or license to use goods, services, commercial real property and living sleeping or housekeeping accommodations triggers the requirement to register as a sales and use tax dealer in order to pay the appropriate tax to the State of Florida. Florida Department of Revenue, Business Owner’s Guide for Sales and Use Tax.
The intentional failure to pay collected taxes is considered stolen revenue, is labeled Theft of State Funds, and is broken down as follows:
- If the amount of collected sales tax that is not sent to the State of Florida is less than $300.00, then this is a 2⁰ Misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in the County Jail for a first offense,
- A Second Offense less than $300.00 is considered a 1⁰ Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in the County Jail,
- If there is a third offense of not forwarding collected sales tax amount of $300.00 or less, this is considered a 3⁰ Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in Florida State Prison.
- If the amount of sales tax collected but not forwarded to the State of Florida is more than $300.00, but less than $20,000.00 this is also considered a 3⁰ Felony punishable by up to 5 years in Florida State Prison,
- If the amount of sales tax collected, but not forwarded to the State of Florida is more than $20,000.00, but less than $100,000.00, this is considered a 2⁰ Felony, punishable by up to 15 years in Florida State Prison, and
- If the amount of sales tax collected, but not forwarded to the State of Florida is $100,000.00, or more, this is considered a 1⁰ Felony, punishable by up to 30 years in Florida State Prison. Fla. Stat. §212.15
Due to the harshness of these potential penalties, if you are under investigation by the Department of Revenue for not paying collected sales tax, the need to consult with an experienced Tampa Criminal Tax Attorney cannot be more important. The experienced Criminal Attorneys at Taracks & Associates are experienced in handling the investigation and the defense of Florida Sales Tax Theft cases, and will provide a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss your sales tax issue. So call today at 813-281-2897 to discuss your criminal tax issues and begin to chart a path to protect your business, livelihood and reputation.
The need to speak with an attorney is important particularly if you have just been contacted by the Department of Revenue regarding a sales tax issue. If the Florida Department of Revenue has contacted you, an investigation into the alleged failure to collect or pay collected sales tax has already begun. While this investigation can be lengthy and very invasive while the department puts your business under their microscope, intervention rather than inattention increases the prospect of a beneficial result.
During this investigation, if an amount due can be determined and an approved payment plan to pay in full is approved, criminal prosecutions are more likely to be averted. Remember payment in full of the agreed amount of sales tax due is the best option to avoid a criminal prosecution.
So why do you need an attorney for the investigation? Every statement that you make to an investigator with the Department of Revenue will be recorded and part of the investigative file. If you and the investigator do not agree on the amount of taxes due, or the amount of taxes are too high for you to pay in full, your file will be sent to a prosecutor to determine whether to file a criminal charge against you. If you have stated that you collected and did not forward those taxes, then prosecutor’s case is made by your own words, even if you don’t agree on the amount.
The experienced Tampa Tax Fraud Attorneys at Taracks & Associates know how to provide any information that can clear you of the charge, lessen the amount of taxes due, or provide other information that benefits you, without needlessly providing information that can be used against you in the future.
If the investigator with the Department of Revenue forwards your case to the prosecutor for criminal charges to be filed, all is not lost. The prosecutor will also review, investigate and double-check the case brought by the Department of Revenue. While this review is pending, we can continue to present beneficial information to the prosecutor.
Even if charges will be filed, you may be eligible for a diversion program (Pre Trial Intervention), that once an agreed upon amount of unpaid sales taxes are paid will result in the criminal charges being dropped. Whether or not you are eligible to enter into this type of plea negotiation will often depend on the amount that is due, what are the prospects that this amount can be paid in full back to the State of Florida, and whether you have been in criminal trouble for this type of allegation or some other criminal charges
With all of these potential outcomes of an investigation conducted by the Department of Revenue, if you want to protect your business, your livelihood, and your reputation; your best option is to contact an experienced Florida Sales Tax Attorney today. So call 813-281-2897 today to speak with an experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney at Taracks & Associates who will provide a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss your Florida Sales Tax Investigation. This will be your first step to achieving a fair result, and have the best chance of making a good result out of a bad situation.