Florida has established the new Florida Sales Tax Credit Scholarship Program, which authorizes tenants of a commercial rental property to receive a credit against the state sales tax due on rent, lease, or license fee payments due on or after October 1, 2018, for contributions paid to an eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization. Tenants of commercial rental property can apply to the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) to receive an allocation of the funds available for sales tax credits each state fiscal year (July 1 – June 30).
When program funds are available and a tenant is eligible to receive a credit, a letter indicating the amount of the approved credit will be issued by the DOR to the tenant. Before receiving a tax credit, the tenant must make a monetary contribution to the designated eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organization. The organization will then issue a certificate of contribution containing the amount of the contribution and the date received. Once a tenant receives a certificate of contribution, the tenant may take a credit against the state sales tax due on the rent, lease, or license fees paid to their landlord on or after October 1, 2018. The tenant must provide a copy of the credit allocation approval letter issued by the DOR and the certificate of contribution issued by the eligible organization to document the tax credit. Landlords will need to provide their federal employer identification number or sales tax registration number for the commercial rental property to any tenant wanting to participate in the program. Landlords may take the tax credit against the state sales tax due to the DOR. Any discretionary sales surtax due must be paid. If a tenant is unable to use the total amount of the tax credit on a single rent or license fee due to an insufficient amount of state tax due, they may take the credit against future rent or license fees due for up to 10 years. To receive the tax credit, Landlords must file an electronic Sales and Use Tax Return (Form DR-15) and pay the tax due electronically. Landlords may not amend a sales and use tax return to claim the tax credit, but they may report the tax credit on their next tax return. (Tax Information Publication, No. 18A01-15, Florida Department of Revenue, August 27, 2018)