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2020 How Florida Compares: Taxes

Key Figures & Findings

  • Florida continues to be a relatively low tax state, with extremely low per capita state taxation but considerably higher local taxes; however, its combined state and local rankings are rising.
  • For the third year in a row, Floridians’ “Per Capita State and Local Own Source Revenue**” ranking rose slightly, reaching 38th in FY2017-18, totaling $6,352 per capita. This ranking is up one spot from the previous year and four spots from FY2014-15 (see p. 8).
  • Floridians’ “Per Capita State and Local Tax Collections” ranking (a narrower measure of how much taxpayers pay for their government) rose to 40th in FY2017-18 (see p. 12).
  • Florida’s “Per Capita State Tax Collections” ranking is the lowest among the 50 states—ranking 50th in FY 2018-19.  When all state government own source general revenue is included, Florida’s ranking is a bit higher: 48th (see pp. 22-23).
  • While Florida’s state tax and revenue burdens are very low compared to the other states, local tax burdens are much higher. Florida’s “Per Capita State Own Source Revenue” and “Per Capita State Tax Collections” rank 48th and 50th, respectively, whereas “Per Capita Local Own Source Revenue” and “Per Capita Local Tax Collections” rank 16th and 28th, respectfully (see pp. 40-41).  
  • Florida relies more heavily on local revenue to fund government than almost any other state. Florida local governments account for 52.6 percent of Florida’s total state and local revenue, the 2nd highest percentage in the nation (see p. 15).
  • Florida’s state and local revenue rankings reached their all-time high in 2006 (22nd for both), fueled by skyrocketing local property taxes and rapidly increasing sales and documentary stamp tax collections at the state level.  As the economy soured, so did revenue collections, as they fell dramatically from their windfall levels.  Florida’s ranking dropped 20 spots to 42nd in FY2013-14. 
  • Florida’s per capita property tax ranking is right at the median—25th (see page 41). While state revenue collections began to improve in 2011, it took longer for local property taxes to recover. In 2014, property taxes finally began to reverse a trend of five straight years of declining collections. 
  • Florida also classifies 37.3 percent of its state and local own-source general revenue as non-tax revenue, the 11th largest percentage in the nation (see p. 17).  Nearly half (46.0 percent) of Florida’s local own-source revenue is classified as non-tax.
  • Florida relies more heavily on transaction taxes than most states.  Transaction taxes (general and selective sales taxes) account for 81.4 percent of all Florida’s state tax collections, compared to the national average of 46.5 percent (see p. 24).
  • Florida has the highest state and local selective sales (excise) taxes on utilities in the nation. Florida also taxes motor fuels higher than the average state, ranking 17th (see p. 14).
  • After the 2015 Legislature reduced the communications services tax, Florida’s “State & Local Cell Phone Tax Rate” fell from 4th highest in 2015 to 8th in 2016.  Florida’s ranking is now 12th—at 14.86 percent—higher than both the U.S. average of 12.60 percent and Florida’s average state and local general sales tax rate of 7.05 percent (see p. 19).
  • Florida’s housing sector also produces significant revenue for the state. Florida’s documentary stamp taxes are rising rapidly again after falling sharply during the recession. Florida collected $276 of these taxes per capita in 2006, but that amount fell to $72 in 2009. Housing is improving again, and per capita collections have risen to $142 in 2018, the nation’s third largest burden (see p. 33).
  • Florida is one of seven states without a personal income tax. The average state relies on personal income taxes for 37.9 percent of its tax revenue (see p. 24 and 28).
  • Businesses pay more than half (53.3 percent) of all state and local taxes in Florida. This is the 9th highest percentage in the nation and higher than the national average of 43.5 percent (see p. 18)

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