157 bills approved by the Florida Legislature and signed by Governor Rick Scott went into effect at 12:01 yesterday morning. Included among them are laws that will better track sexual offenders, allow children of illegal immigrants to get in-state tuition at state universities, ban e-cigarette sales to minors, allow local school boards to choose which textbooks are used in their classrooms and redefine the state’s ban on late-term abortions.
Many of the laws that kicked in on July 1st, like the “Florida GI Bill”, the sales tax free holidays, or the bills that lower college costs and reduce the cost of motor vehicle registration fees (effective 9/1/14) may affect your pocketbook!
Concurrently, the $77 billion “election-year” budget adds new money to public schools, state colleges and universities, environmental projects and child welfare, while leaving room for about $500 million in tax and fee cuts just in time for the Governor’s re-election campaign.
HB 732 should reduce the cost of college by revamping the formula for determining what families pay for the Florida Prepaid College Program, and HB 851 rolls back the ability of state universities to increase tuition without the approval of the Florida Legislature.
This is good news because both the 4-Year Florida University Plan and “2 + 2” Florida Plan prices will drop. The lump sum price of the 4-Year plan for a newborn is anticipated to drop nearly $20,000 from the current price-tag of $54,000 to around $35,000. Monthly payments should fall to at least $100, from $350 to about $250. Approximately 50,000 existing Prepaid Plans purchased from contract year 2011 to 2014 will see refunds and/or payment reductions because of the new law. Eligible account owners will receive notification in September regarding their specific refund and/or payment reduction information. Click HERE for more information.
HB 629 gives consumers more information about what charities are doing with their contributions, especially those that raise large amounts of money. The law increases reporting requirements for larger charities as well.
The “Florida GI Bill,” provides university tuition waivers for veterans, and is expected to help increase employment opportunities for veterans.
The Florida state sales tax rate on charges for electricity is dropping a bit, effective July 1, 2014. The tax rate for bills dated on or after that date will be 6.95%. Currently, the rate is 7%, and in some counties it is 7.5%.
On July 1st, Major League Soccer was been added to the list of sports exempt from admissions tax. Likewise, all-star events produced by the National Basketball Association and held at a facility such as an arena or convention center are exempt from Florida admissions tax.
Effective July 1, 2014, the following items will be exempt from Florida sales and use tax:
• Bicycle helmets for youth;
• Child restraint systems and booster seats for use in motor vehicles; and
• Prepaid meal plans purchased from a college or other institution of higher learning by currently enrolled students.
The good news continues! Don’t forget about the upcoming 3-day back-to-school sales tax holiday on August 1st-3rd during which shoppers will not have to pay 6% sales taxes on any clothes worth $100 or less, school supplies worth $15 or less, or on the first $750 of a personal computer. There will also be a 3-day sales tax holiday on September 19th-21st for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances. Click HERE for more information.
Contact Colleen Tobiasson, CPA, Tax Senior, with any questions or if you need advice regarding tax planning for 2014/2015. Colleen can be reached at 954-236-8600 or email@example.com.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be:
56 cents per mile for business miles;
23.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes;
14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.
Taxpayers can also calculate actual costs of using their vehicle, rather than using the standard mileage rates. They may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle.
In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.
If you or your business have tax planning or compliance questions, please contact Crystal Burnett, Fiske and Company Tax Accountant, at 954-236-8600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For tax year 2014, the IRS announced yesterday annual inflation adjustments for more than 40 tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules, and other tax changes.
The tax items for tax year 2014 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include the following dollar amounts.
Contact Ron Michelson, CPA, Tax Partner, or Howard Hammer, CPA, Tax Principal, at 954-236-8600, for more details on these inflation adjustments and others not listed in this release .