Florida policy allows specified government, religious and nonprofit organizations to obtain a consumer’s certificate of exemption for sales and use tax. Organizations obtaining Florida tax-exempt status do not have to pay the normal 6 percent Florida sales tax and use tax to the state. Some organizations also do not have to collect taxes from customers. Organizations interested in qualifying for a tax exemption in Florida must learn which organizations qualify for the exemption. They can then set up their business organization to qualify for the exemption and apply for the exemption certificate.
Access the “Application for Consumer’s Certificate of Exemption” form (see Sources). Organizations that qualify must submit the form to the Florida Department of Revenue. Florida has no filing fee for this tax-exempt certificate.
Review the types of organizations that qualify for a certificate. All 501(c)(3) organizations can receive an exemption. Other nonprofits, such as community cemeteries and organizations that benefit minors, can obtain a certificate even without 501(c)(3) status. Veterans’ organizations, volunteer fire departments, credit unions, and government political subdivisions also qualify.
Determine how to qualify. Organizations seeking to qualify under 501(c)(3) status that do not qualify for a Florida tax exemption in another category must obtain a determination letter from the IRS. Speak to a business lawyer about how to obtain a determination letter. Other organizations that do not currently have nonprofit status generally incorporate as a nonprofit corporation through the state’s Secretary of State. Florida businesses register a nonprofit corporation through the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations. Fill out the Articles of Incorporation form to register a Florida nonprofit (see Sources). Religious organizations also generally file as a nonprofit corporation to obtain tax-exempt status.
Refer to the certificate application for the individual requirements for other qualifying organizations. Some entities can only apply if they register as a chapter of a national organization (such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars). Speak to the national chapter for guidance on these organizations.
Fill out the application for a Florida certificate of exemption. Send the form and all documentation to the following address:
Florida Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 6480
Tallahassee, FL 32314-6480
Note: After obtaining your tax-exempt status from the Florida Department of Revenue, make sure that you know which tax exemptions apply to your organization. The rules differ for each organization. Ensure that personnel who purchase things on behalf of the organization use the certificate to avoid paying sales taxes on items bought by the organization.
Florida Application for Consumer’s Certificate of Exemption
Florida Articles of Incorporation for a Nonprofit Corporation