FL Sales Tax 101 Shipping States

Is Shipping in Florida Taxable?

by Mark Faggiano

Florida shipping taxability

Last updated July 11, 2017

Congrats! You just made a sale in Florida. Maybe you live in the Sunshine State, or perhaps you sell through Amazon FBA and now have sales tax nexus. No matter what, you know you have to collect sales tax from your customer.

But are the shipping and handling charges you collect from the buyer also taxable? We took a look:

Sales Tax on Shipping in Florida? It Depends…

Unfortunately, there is no straight answer when it comes to shipping in Florida. Most of the time, shipping IS taxable, and you must collect sales tax on this charge and figure it into your calculations.

There are exceptions, though, which complicate things. In fact, if your order meets two separate criteria, then shipping is NOT taxable. These two criteria are:

  • The charge is separately stated on a bill or invoice
  • The charge can be avoided by a decision or action solely on the part of the purchaser

In other words, if your customer decides to take matters into their own hands and drive to pick up the item AND you had already listed the shipping charge separately on the invoice, the charge is not taxable. On top of that, though, if you even PRESENT the option for them to come pick it up, it’s not taxable.

So let’s say you have a business that sells Halloween decorations in Jacksonville. A customer who lives in Jacksonville buys a spooky skeleton. You give them the option to pick the item up and list the shipping separately. Whether or not they actually pick it up, the shipping cost is NOT taxable.

However, another customer from Miami also buys a spooky skeleton. There is no real way for them to pick it up so you don’t give them the option. Even though you listed the shipping cost separately, it IS taxable.

Further, in our understanding, if you sell through a fulfillment service like FBA, the shipping and handling charges aren’t separated out and there’s no way for your customer to pick up the item, so shipping in Florida is taxable for FBA sellers.

Here it is straight from the horse’s mouth:

Florida Shipping Taxability

Summary of Sales Tax on Shipping in Florida

So to simplify, for the vast majority of sales when you have nexus in Florida, you should collect sales tax on shipping. There are a few exceptions, though, and you must meet two criteria: list the shipping separately on the bill, and you must give the purchaser the chance to pick the item up themselves. Whether or not they actually pick it up is irrelevant; if there’s a way for them to pick it up, shipping is not taxable. If there’s no way you could pick it up and you don’t offer them the chance, shipping is taxable and must be collected.

Have questions or comments about taxable shipping in Florida? Leave a comment and start the discussion! And to learn more about TaxJar and get started, visit TaxJar.com/how-it-works.

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  • Traci Walters

    It sure is refreshing to get a real/clear/concise answer to a question. Thank you so much!!!

    • You are quite welcome!

  • Daniel D

    Hey so I have a question! do I have to charge tax on shipping if I am already paying tax for the shipping when I purchase the shipping from the provider and ship the item? If so than I am being taxed for shipping twice (once for sales and use and once at time of purchase of shipping). For instance, we charge a $5 flat rate on shipping and tax on that amount is technically different from the actual shipping charge amount ( between $3-$6) and tax I am being charged by the shipping company. So If I don’t charge at point of sale, I am still paying for the shipping taxes when the shipping provider charges me, but I am paying only enough tax on the purchase of the shipping to get the product to the customer (plus the product tax), the remainder of the “shipping charge” (that goes towards shipping supplies in my method) would technically be untaxed.

    • Even though you’ve already paid sales taxes on those items you’re selling, as a seller, you’ll still need to to collect sales tax on a taxable items you sell to customers in states where you have nexus…regardless of whether you (the seller) paid tax to buy or ship the item. The taxes you paid when you purchased the item have no bearing on this; it’s a myth that sellers wouldn’t need to collect taxes because they’ve already paid taxes. Think of it as the state cares about the tax on the transaction, not the actual item. I hope this helps!

  • Pamela

    My question is I buy something from a catalog and they don’t include sales tax for shipping,but if I buy that same item on their online store and they are allowed to charge me sales tax for shipping. I do not understand. They are calling it a tax for handling the merchandise. Can you please explain. Thank you

    • Hi Pamela,

      I can’t speak for the particular company, but I’ve looked at the sales tax on shipping in many different states and some states consider all shipping taxable, others don’t consider shipping taxable if some conditions are met, but others consider “shipping and handling” combined to be taxable. This could be for any number of reasons. I suggest you just ask them, especially if you think you were charged in error!

      • Pamela

        I asked that question and what they told me was,I can charge it for handling your merchandise. So I think I will give up their card. it is not something I want to pay. The merchandise I bought was about the same price as the shipping and tax charge so I don’t believe it is worth the extra. Thank you for your help.

  • Michael Cone

    Mark, I find these taxation of shipping articles very useful in my job and you are often the first place I turn. I was wondering how many states have laws similar to Florida’s law prohibiting sales tax if the customer can pick up the item?

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