Corporate income tax exemption increase clears Senate panel

Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster, (@Jenna_Buzzacco)

RickScottHealth_t350_233A top priority for Gov. Rick Scott is on the move in the state Legislature.

On Tuesday, a Senate panel approved a proposal (SB 134) which increases the corporate income tax exemption from $50,000 to $75,000.

Florida imposes a 5.5 percent tax on the net income of corporations doing business in Florida. Under current state law, the first $50,000 is exempt from the corporate income tax. The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, would increase that to $75,000.

According to a staff report, more than 11,500 corporate taxpayers have a net income over the $50,000 exemption. It is expected more than 2,100 taxpayers will be completely exempt from the corporate income tax; while more than 9,300 would see a tax reduction.

“This affects a lot of businesses,” said Hukill. “It’s a good bill.”

The state’s coffers would take a hit, though, if the measure is approved. The state Revenue Estimating Conference said the measure would reduce general revenue receipts by $8.8 million in fiscal 2014-15.

The same increase to the corporate income tax exemption is in a wide-ranging economic development package released by the state House finance and tax subcommittee last week. That package was discussed on the House floor on Wednesday. The House is scheduled to vote on the package Thursday.

Scott, a Naples Republican, has pushed for the corporate income tax exemption increase, and included the proposal in the budget he released earlier this year.

SB 134 now heads to the Senate appropriations committee.

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