Overview of Documentary Stamp Tax in Florida

By Harry M. Wilson, IV, Esq.

Documentary stamp tax is levied on documents as provided under Chapter 201, Florida Statutes. Documents subject to the tax include deeds, bonds, notes and written obligations to pay money and mortgages, liens, and other evidences of indebtedness. The rate of the tax differs depending on the kind of document subject to the tax. Documentary stamp tax is levied at the rate of $.70 per $100 (or portion thereof) on documents that transfer interest in Florida real property, such as warranty deeds and quit claim deeds. The tax rate on a written obligation to pay money is $.35 for each $100 (or portion thereof) of the obligation evidenced by the document. Tax is due on a document that contains a promise to pay a specific amount of money and is signed, executed, or delivered in Florida. The maximum amount of documentary stamp tax due on unsecured notes or other written obligations to pay money is $2,450. However there is no limit on the documentary stamp tax due for mortgages or liens filed or recorded in Florida. Tax is paid to the Clerk of Court if the document is recorded, or sent directly to the Department of Revenue if the document is not recorded. Any party to the transaction may pay the documentary stamp tax. However, certain parties are exempt from paying the tax; they include United States government agencies; Florida government agencies and Florida’s counties, municipalities and political subdivisions. If one party is exempt from paying the tax, the non-exempt party must pay.

Businesses or individuals with five (5) or more documentary stamp transactions per month must register with the Department of Revenue through its website www.myflorida.com/dor. Registered taxpayers must use their personalized Documentary Stamp Tax Return for Registered Taxpayers’ Unrecorded Documents (Form DR-225) to pay tax. If a party enters into less than five (5) promissory notes per month, it is considered a non-registered person and must use Form DR-228, Documentary Stamp Tax Return for Nonregistered Taxpayers’ Unrecorded Documents, to pay tax. A copy of Form DR-228 is enclosed.

A penalty of 10 percent per month, of the amount of tax owed, not to exceed 50 percent and a floating rate of interest is imposed on any document upon which proper tax is not timely paid. A minimum penalty is assessed on late returns, even if no tax is due. The rate of interest is updated January 1 and July 1 of each year by using the formula established in section 213.235, Florida Statutes. Current and prior period interest rates are posted on the Florida Department of Revenue Internet site, or you may contact Taxpayer Services at 800-352-3671.

Tags: Doc Stamps; Documentary Stamp Tax

Practice Area: Corporate Formation, Transactions and Operation

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