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The business tax is required if you are engaging in or managing a business, profession or occupation. It is in addition to any other fees paid to operate a business. Sarasota County has levied a business tax since 1992.  The County uses the taxes for economic development.

Tax Tipline - Report potential business tax evaders
(Click here to make a report)

bullet Payment procedures in 2013-14
bullet How do I renew?
bullet How do I change my business mailing address?
bulletHow are the funds used?
bulletWho must pay the tax?
bulletWhen is the business tax required?
bulletCan I open a business anywhere?
bulletWho is exempt?
bulletIf I am presently located in the city, do I still have to pay the county business tax?
bulletIf I am required to have a state license, do I need to do anything special?
bulletI have multiple locations in Sarasota County.  Do I need to pay more than one business tax?
bulletWhat happens if I do not pay the tax by October 1st?
bulletDo I just pay one fee for a business?
bulletAm I required to register a fictitious name?
City Business Tax:
bulletIf I have a rental property do I need to pay the business tax?
Longboat Key
North Port
Sarasota
Venice
bulletDo I need to notify any other government office?
 
 
 
 
 
   
   

Chambers of

 

Commerce:

 
Englewood/Cape Haze
LBK/Lido/St. Armands
North Port Area
Greater Sarasota
Siesta Key
Venice Area
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Links:  
Div. of Corporations Economic Devel. Corp. Fictitious Name Florida Sales Tax
 
 
 
 
 
 
   

Home Business Tax Driver's License Hunting & Fishing Motor Vehicles Property Taxes Tourist Tax Vessels

   
   
Payment Procedures in 2013-14

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bulletBusiness Tax Receipts - You will no longer receive your business tax receipt by mail.  If you pay your tax online you will be able to print your receipt immediately.  If you pay by any other method and you would like a receipt, it will be available from our website 2 business days after we have received the payment. 
   
bulletEmail Addresses - Future renewal notices will be sent electronically to your email address.  If you are paying online, the email address you provide during your payment process will be used.  If you are paying by mail, write your email address in the space provided on the renewal form.  If you are not paying online and would like to provide your email address now, click here.
 
   
How do I renew?

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bulletOn or about July 1st, renewal notices are mailed for all known existing businesses.  The renewal period is July 1 - September 30.

EASIEST & QUICKEST WAY TO PAY - No password, no registration
Internet
– Electronic Check or Credit Cards accepted.  Note:  For credit card payments there is an additional $1.50 convenience fee.  We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.  There is no convenience fee for payment by electronic check. Click Pay Business Tax to proceed to online renewal.

Electronic Banking/Bill Pay - If you use an online banking system, you can pay your business tax the same way you pay other bills. Please include your account #.  If you have multiple notices, complete a separate payment for each account # identifying the account you are renewing.  The name should appear on your bank’s payee listing as “Sarasota Tax Collect Ford-Coates”. 

By Mail - Please return the notice in the self-addressed envelope you received by mail.  Include your check, in U.S. Funds only, made payable to Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates for the amount due.  You may send one check for multiple licenses.

In Person - You can pay at any of our Service Centers.

   
   
   
How do I change my business mailing address?

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bulletTo change your business mailing address simply return to the top of this page, click on the Address Change button on the left side and complete the address change form.  Your address will be updated in our system within a few days.
   
   
   
How are the funds used?

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bullet
Funds that Sarasota County Government receives from the business taxes are used for economic development.  The county's economic development strategy is coordinated by the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County (EDC), a non-profit, private-public partnership.  The cities within the county also receive a small portion of the municipal proceeds, based upon population.  For more information contact the EDC at (941) 309-1200 or visit www.edcsarasotacounty.com.
   
bullet Sarasota County Economic Development 2013 Update
   
   
   
Who must pay the tax?

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bulletMost businesses and professions operating in Sarasota County must pay the tax. The business tax does not regulate the business and it does not guarantee the quality of the work of the business.
   
   
   
When is the business tax required?

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bulletA business tax receipt is required before a business begins operation. The business tax year is from October through September. Click here for an application.
   
   
   
Can I open a business anywhere?

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bulletPrior to paying the business tax, contact the zoning department in either the city or county where your business is located to ensure the business is allowed in that location.
   
   
   
Who is exempt?

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bulletCharitable, educational and religious institutions, individual persons selling self-grown farm products, certain disabled honorably discharged veterans and their unremarried widow(er)s are exempt from paying a fee, but are still required to obtain a business tax receipt.
   
bulletIf the owner’s capital investment does not exceed $1,000, if there is no other source of income, AND there is only one employee, these other exemptions may apply:
 
bulletIndividuals 65 or older
 
bulletWidow(er)s with dependent children
 
bulletPhysically disabled persons incapable of manual labor
   
bulletIf you think you qualify for an exemption, please call the Tax Collector's office to discuss the specific requirements and the amount of the exemption. A business tax receipt is still required to conduct business and will be issued free or at a reduced fee.
   
   
   
If I am presently licensed in the city, do I still have to pay a county  business tax?

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bulletYes.  The county business tax is in addition to any city business tax.
   
bulletA business tax is required for most businesses within the city limits of any city in Sarasota County.  For more information about city business tax:
  City of North Port   (941) 429-7000
  City of Sarasota   (941) 954-4186
  City of Venice   (941) 486-2626
  Town of Longboat Key   (941) 316-1999
   
   
   
If I am required to have a state license, do I need to do anything special?

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bulletYes.  You must include a copy of your current state license with your application.
   
   
   
I have multiple locations in Sarasota County.  Do I need to pay  more than one business tax?

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bulletYes.  Businesses with multiple locations in Sarasota County need to have a business tax receipt for each location.
   
   
   
What happens if I do not pay the business tax by October 1st?

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bulletThe law provides that late payment must include a delinquency penalty of 10% for the month of October, plus an additional 5% penalty for each month of delinquency thereafter until paid, not to exceed 25% of the business tax. If you are doing business without a business tax receipt, you are subject to a penalty of 25% of the tax determined to be due plus other penalties. Also, operating without having paid the business tax is a misdemeanor punishable by a $100 minimum fine plus a daily fine of 25% of the total annual tax due. The total fine may not exceed five times the value of the tax or $500, whichever is greater.
   
   
   
Do I just pay one fee for a business?

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bulletBusinesses need just one business tax receipt per location for their primary business activity. If you have any questions about which categories apply to your business, please contact the Tax Collector's office.
   
   
   
Am I required to register a fictitious name?

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bulletEffective October 1, 1994, a new business paying the business tax under a fictitious name must show a copy of the fictitious name registration.  You can apply online for a fictitious name at the Florida Department of State's website (click here).
   
   
   
If I have a rental property do I need to pay the business tax?

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bulletIf your rental property is available to rent for periods of less than one month, you are required to pay the business tax.
   
   
   
Do I need to notify any other government office?

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bulletIf you own rental property or operate a business, you may be required to pay a Tangible Personal Property Tax.  Please contact the Property Appraiser at (941) 861-8200 for more information.
 
bulletIf your business is in a non-residential building, you may be required to get a certificate of occupancy.  In addition, make sure your business is in compliance with zoning regulations and, if located in the unincorporated county, you will also need to comply with recycling regulations. 
   
bulletIf your business is located within city limits, you may also be required to pay a business tax to the city.
  City of North Port   (941) 429-7000
  City of Sarasota   (941) 954-4186
  City of Venice   (941) 486-2626
  Town of Longboat Key   (941) 316-1999
   
   
   
.This list is only the most commonly contacted government offices relating to business taxes; it is not inclusive of all agencies which affect a business:
bulletFlorida Sales Tax   (941) 361-6001
bullet Recycling     (941) 861-6795
bulletFictitious Name Registration     (850) 245-6058
bulletCorporation Filing     (850) 245-6058