When you collect Florida sales tax, you are an agent for the State. You are collecting sales tax on behalf of the State and then remitting the tax to the State. When you don’t pay the State the sales tax you collect on their behalf, you can be charged with theft of State funds. In essence, you are stealing money that was given to you to pay to the State.
BUT NOT SO FAST……
When you are a business owner and the sales tax went to pay rent and electricity and it did not go into your pocket……they cannot charge you with a crime. But the Florida Department of Revenue will not tell you this. It is important to have a CPA and Attorney handle this for you because the CPA has to be able to demonstrate that, although the State did not get paid, you have a right to shut the business down without being liable for the tax criminally.
The Florida Department of Revenue will take the following actions to collect their tax:
- Garnish your wages
- Freeze your bank account
- Revoke you business registration or license
- Seize and sell your property and assets
- The lien will remain on your credit report for 7 years
- Interest is paid until the debt is paid in full
- Penalties will be charged at 10% per month and 100% of the tax owed.
- Issue a warrant for your arrest
Understand the environment you are operating in when you receive a tax warrant and/or tax lien. Not everyone is your friend and wants to help you. In 2010, the Florida Legislature proposed a law and requested of the DOR to publish the names of taxpayers who had either Warrants or Liens issued against them. What do you Think? This is our business, and we don’t play around when it comes to working through tough sales tax issues.