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2017 How Florida Compares: Taxes

Key Findings

  • Florida continues to be a relatively low tax state. Floridians’ per capita state and local own source revenue collections total $5,516, the 42th highest amount among the 50 states (see p. 8).
  • Prior to the Great Recession, fueled by skyrocketing local property taxes and rapidly increasing sales and documentary stamp tax collections at the state level, Florida’s state and local revenue ranking climbed to its all-time high (22nd). As the economy soured, so did revenue collections, as they fell dramatically from their windfall levels. Florida’s ranking has dropped 20 spots to 42nd in FY 2014 (latest available 50-state data).
  • While state revenue collections began to improve in 2011, it took longer for local property taxes to recover. In 2014, property taxes nally began to reverse a trend of ve straight years of declining collections. From 2006 to 2014, Florida’s state and local own-source revenue collections grew by only 5.8 percent, representing the second smallest growth in the nation (See p. 9).
  • Florida’s state government collects significantly less revenue per capita than the average state. “Per Capita State Own Source Revenue” is 69.0 percent of the U.S. average (Florida per capita is $2,585 compared to the U.S. average of $3,747, a difference of $1,162); “Per Capita State Tax Collections” are 65.1 percent of the U.S. average (Florida per capita is $1,885 compared to the U.S. Average of $2,850, a difference of $995) (See pp. 20-21).
  • While Florida’s state tax burden is very low compared to the other states, its local tax burden is much higher. Florida’s “Per Capita State Own Source Revenue” and “Per Capita State Tax Collections” rank 48th and 49th, respectively (see pp. 20-21), whereas “Per Capita Local Own Source Revenue” and “Per Capita Local Tax Collections” rank 16th and 27th, respectfully (see pp. 40-41).
  • Florida relies more heavily on local revenue to fund government than almost all other states. Florida’s local governments account for 53.1 percent of Florida’s total state and local revenue, the second highest percentage in the nation (see p. 14).
  • Florida also classifies 39.3 percent of its state and local own-source revenue as non-tax revenue, the 7th largest percentage in the nation (see p. 16). Nearly half (47 percent) of local own-source revenue is classified as non-tax.
  • State revenues equal 6.0 percent of Floridians’ personal income, and local revenues take out 6.8 percent. This compares to the national average of 8.1 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.
  • Florida relies more heavily on transaction taxes than most states. Transaction taxes (general and selective sales taxes) account for 81.5 percent of all of Florida’s state tax collections, compared to the national average of 47.2 percent (see p. 23). 
  • Florida has the highest state and local selective sales (excise) taxes on utilities in the nation. Florida also taxes motor fuels and alcoholic beverages higher than average, ranking 15th and 18th, respectively (see p. 13).
  • Thanks to the 2015 Legislature reducing the communications services tax, Florida’s ranking for “State & Local Cell Phone Tax Rates” has fallen from 4th to 8th highest in the nation. Still, at 14.7 percent, our cell phone tax rate is significantly higher than both the U.S. average of 10.7% percent and the state’s general sales tax (See p. 18).
  • Florida’s housing sector also produces significant revenue for the state. However, documentary stamp and real estate transfer taxes fell sharply during the recession. Florida collected $276 of these taxes per capita in 2006, but that amount fell to $76 in 2012. Housing is improving again, and per capita collections have risen to $123 in 2015, the nation’s 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 percent of its tax revenue (See p. 23).
  • Businesses pay more than half (51.6 percent) of all state and local taxes in Florida. This is the 13th highest percentage in the nation, and higher than the national average of 44.1 percent (See p. 17). 

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