Florida’s Tobacco Tax and Sale Permit Requirements


Florida’s Tobacco Tax and Sale Permit Requirements

Florida closely regulates the transfer and sale of tobacco products within the geographic boundary of the state. If you participate in the tobacco business in Florida (including online retailers), you need to understand your tax and permitting obligations. Failure to comply with these requirements can have a host of outcomes adverse to your business and its bottom line. Our Florida tobacco tax and permit guide explains Florida’s rules at all levels for distributors, wholesalers, and retailers alike.

What Permit Do You Need to Sell Tobacco Products in Florida?

The Florida tobacco permit that your business needs will depend entirely on the nature of its sales and activities. Generally, you will need to apply for one or more of the following permit types with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation:

  • Retail Tobacco Products Dealer (Form 6028): The permit for businesses that sell directly to consumers of OTP. The application fee is $50, and you need a permit for each unique location where you sell OTP (including vending machines). You must timely renew your permit and submit payment of the application fee on or before January 15 of each year.
  • Tobacco Wholesale Dealer/Distributor (Form 6005): The permit for businesses that are responsible for bringing OTP into Florida for a first sale to retailers or other wholesalers/distributors. The application fee is $25, and you need a permit for each unique business location.
  • Tobacco Cigar Wholesale Dealer/Distributor (Form 6006): Florida has a separate permit for businesses that solely sell cigars and no other tobacco products. This permit is not necessary if you already have a tobacco wholesale dealer permit.

Bond Requirement for Tobacco Wholesale Dealer or Distributor Licensees

In addition to appropriate wholesale dealer/distributor application(s), an OTP business will need to provide a corporate surety bond (Form ABT-6032) as security for payment of taxes, penalties, or interest. The bond amount is generally $1000. However, the Department has the authority to increase the bond amount to a level it thinks is sufficient. This may be the case for tobacco businesses with a history of noncompliance or that have a large volume of sales.

Florida Taxes and Fees That Apply to Tobacco Product Sale or Storage

Florida imposes two levels of tax on the sale, transfers, or storage of tobacco products. The first is an excise tax on the wholesale price of the tobacco products that distributors are responsible for collecting and remitting to the state. The Florida tobacco excise tax totals 85%, which includes a 60% surcharge and a 25% tax, and is payable when a distributor:

  • Brings OTP into Florida from outside the state for sale.
  • Manufactures or fabricates OTP in the state for its sale in Florida.
  • Ships or transfers OTP to retailers in Florida.

When retailers sell tobacco products to end-users or consumers, the transaction will be subject to Florida’s sales tax that is 6% of the sale price.

Reporting Requirements for Tobacco Businesses in Florida

Along with payment of applicable excise or sales tax for your tobacco sales, your business will need to comply with Florida’s reporting requirements. The Department relies on these reports to monitor the movement of OTP and confirm proper remittance of tax to the state. The reporting you complete will depend on if you are a distributor or retailer and whether you sell products inside or outside of Florida. You’ll submit your reports via the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco’s Electronic Data Submission (EDS) reporting system.

  • In-State Tobacco Products Wholesale Dealer’s Report (ABT4000A-300)
  • Out-of-State Tobacco Products Distributor’s Monthly Report (ABT4000A-305)
  • Tobacco Products Manufacturers and Importers Report (ABT4000A-310)
  • Manufacturer’s Monthly Report for Distribution of Samples (ABT4000A-245T)
  • For Tobacco Retailers – Sales and Use Tax Return (Form DR-15)

Why Your Florida Licensing and Tax Compliance Matters

Compliance with Florida’s permitting, taxing, and reporting of tobacco products sales is essential for avoiding unnecessary civil or criminal penalties and for protecting the continuance of your business. Businesses that accidentally or unintentionally violate Florida’s rules surrounding OTP risk the following negative consequences:

  • Revocation or suspension of their license.
  • Civil penalties up to $1,000 per offense.
  • Accrual of tax penalties and interest.
  • Conviction of a first-degree misdemeanor in cases of tax evasion.

Your compliance with Florida’s regulations for tobacco sales can also provide important benefits to your business in the form of refunds. If you’ve been overpaying your taxes and other fees, you may have options available to claim a refund and save your business some money.

Your Compliance Guide for Florida’s Tobacco Product Regulations

Tobacco Tax Refund, Inc. is a consulting firm committed to helping tobacco businesses like yours when it comes to regulatory compliance matters such as taxation or licensing. We help tobacco distributors and retailers resolve their issues with Florida’s tax and licensing authorities. Our services extend to preparing refund claims, managing audits, appealing wrongful determinations, and other related issues. If you’ve received concerning correspondence from a Florida tobacco agency or have questions about your compliance, our consultants are here to help.

Schedule a consultation with Tobacco Tax Refund, Inc. about your Florida tobacco compliance matter.