Local Business Tax

The local business tax grants the privilege of engaging in or managing a business, profession, or occupation. It is in addition to any other fees paid to operate a business. In 2007, the name was changed from occupational license tax to local business tax.

How are the funds used? The funds are used by Charlotte County for economic development. An Economic Development Board comprised of business representatives from various areas of the county develops a plan which is submitted to the Board of County Commissioners for final action. The cities within the county also receive a small portion of the proceeds, based upon population. For more information contact the Charlotte County Board of Commissioners at (941)743-1300 or email them at bcs@charlottefl.com.

Who must pay the tax? Most businesses and professions operating in Charlotte County must pay the tax. Paying the tax does not regulate a business and it does not ensure the quality of the work of a business.

When is the tax required? A local business tax is required to be paid when a business begins operation. The business tax renewal period is from July 1 to September 30 each year. Applications are available in any of the Tax Collector offices or in the Business Tax Forms Section.

Can I open a business anywhere? Prior to paying the local business tax, contact the zoning department in either the city or county where your business is located to ensure the business is allowed in that location.

Who is exempt? A business tax receipt is not required of any charitable, religious, fraternal, youth, civic, service, or other similar organization that makes occasional sales or engages in fundraising projects that are performed exclusively by the members, and the proceeds derived from the activities are used exclusively in the charitable, religious, fraternal, youth, civic, and service activities of the organization.

Other Exemptions from payment include; but still require a copy of Business Tax Receipt: individuals 65 years of age or older, widow(er)s with dependent children, and physically disabled persons incapable of manual labor. The owner's capital investment must not exceed $1000 and there must be only one employee. If you think you qualify for an exemption, please call the Tax Collector's Office to discuss the specific requirements and the amount of the exemption. A local business tax receipt is required to conduct business and will be issued free or at a reduced fee.

If I am required to have a state license, do I need to do anything special? Yes. You must include a copy of your current state license with your application.

I have multiple locations in Charlotte County, do I need to pay the local business tax for each location? Yes. Business with multiple locations in Charlotte County must pay the local business tax for each location.

What happens if I do not pay the local business tax by October 1st? The law provides that late renewal must include a delinquency penalty of 10% for the month of October, plus an additional 5% penalty for each month of delinquency thereafter until paid, not to exceed 25% of the local business tax. If you are doing business without having paid the local business tax, you are subject to a penalty of 25% of the tax plus other penalties. Also, operating without having paid the local business tax is a misdemeanor punishable by a $100 minimum fine plus a daily fine of 25% of the total annual license tax due. The total fine may not exceed five times the value of the tax or $500, whichever is greater.

What do I need to do if I change my location or purchase an existing business? If you change locations or if you purchase an existing business, you will need to turn in the current local business tax receipt. If you purchase a business you must reapply for a new business tax receipt. A nominal fee and a corrected receipt will be issued.

Am I required to register a fictitious name? Effective October 1, 1994, a new business paying the local business tax under a fictitious name must show a copy of the fictitious name registration. Fictitious name applications are available at our offices or in the Business Tax Forms Section.

If I have a rental property, do I need to pay the local business tax? If your rental property is available to rent for periods of less than six months, you are required to pay the local business tax.

Do I need to notify any other government office? If you own rental property or operate a business you may be required to pay a Tangible Personal Property Tax. Contact the Property Appraiser at (941)743-1476 for more information.

If your business is in a non-residential building, you may be required to get a certificate of occupancy. In addition, make sure your business is in compliance with zoning regulations and, if located in the unincorporated county, you will also need to comply with recycling regulations.