Florida extends filing deadline, waives penalties for businesses impacted by COVID-19

Florida extends filing deadline, waives penalties for businesses impacted by COVID-19

In hopes of slowing the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has temporarily closed or restricted operations of bars, restaurants, gyms, and other businesses deemed nonessential. To help impacted businesses, the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) is providing a short filing and payment extension, and waiving certain penalties and interest.

Applicable taxes

This tax relief applies to the following taxes:

  • Dry-cleaning gross receipts (Solid Waste and Surcharge Return)
  • Lead acid battery fees (Solid Waste and Surcharge Return)
  • New tire fees (Solid Waste and Surcharge Return)
  • Prepaid wireless E-911 fee
  • Rental car surcharge (Solid Waste and Surcharge Return)
  • Sales and use tax, including discretionary sales surtax
  • Tourist development tax for counties administered by the Department of Revenue

Businesses having difficulty paying other taxes (e.g., communications services tax or fuel tax) should call the DOR at 850-488-6800 or email COVID19TAXHELP@floridarevenue.com. You’ll need to provide your name, email, business address, account information, and relationship to the business. 

“Adversely affected” businesses

Only businesses deemed “adversely affected” by COVID-19 qualify for tax relief. To be considered adversely affected, a business must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • The business closed in March 2020 in compliance with a state or local government order issued in response to COVID-19 (provided the business subsequently had no taxable transactions for the above taxes); or
  • The business collected less than 75% of March 2019 sales tax collections; or
  • The business registered with the department to file quarterly; or
  • The business was established after March 2019.

Businesses that don’t qualify as adversely affected must file and pay taxes on time. Returns and payments for February were due March 20, while returns and payments for March are due April 20, 2020. Note that electronic returns and payments due April 20 must be initiated by 5:00 p.m. ET on April 17.

Extension for adversely affected businesses

For adversely affected businesses:

  • The March 20 filing and payment due date is extended to March 31, 2020
  • The April 20 filing and payment due date is extended to April 30, 2020

To meet the due date, electronic payments must be initiated by 5:00 p.m. on the previous business day.

Adversely affected businesses should file the return by the extended due dates (March 31 for February taxes and April 30 for March taxes) even if you can’t pay the tax due. The DOR needs that information to keep accounts accurate. Contact the DOR if you subsequently receive a delinquency notice or tax bill.

Penalties and interest waived

Penalties and interest will be waived for businesses adversely affected by COVID-19 that report and remit the taxes due by the extended due dates (March 31 for February taxes and April 30 for March taxes).

Penalties and interest won’t be waived for late returns or payments by businesses not deemed adversely affected by COVID-19.

Additional information is available at COVID-19 – Order of Emergency Waiver Sales and Use Tax Due Dates.

File and remit on time if you can

Although offering this short extension and penalty relief, the Department of Revenue encourages all businesses to file and pay on time if they can. The tax dollars businesses collected from customers belong to the state or local governments and should be remitted as soon as possible. Florida is heavily reliant on sales tax revenue, and it primarily collects revenue from the brick-and-mortar stores most impacted by COVID-19.

For more information about tax relief in other states, see our COVID-19 tax relief roundup.

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