‘Virtual currency’ tax holiday would cost state coffers $1.4B, economists project
Close up shot of customer paying money by tapping credit card to swiping machine at grocery shop - concept of digital payment, contact less transaction, and safety.

Close up shot of customer paying money by tapping credit card to swiping machine at grocery shop - concept of digital payment, contact less transaction, and safety
'The definitions provided for virtual currency don’t strongly exclude credit cards, debit cards, checks, ACH transfers, things like that.'

A plan to grant a two-month sales tax holiday on select items purchased with “virtual currency” would save consumers boatloads of cash, but it’s not because Floridians would flock to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

State economists analyzing SB 352, sponsored by Sen. Jason Brodeur, a Sanford Republican, determined the measure would cost state coffers nearly $1.4 billion. The bill would give a sales tax holiday from June 1, 2025, to July 31, 2025, at gas stations, grocery stores, salons, barbershops, bars, nightclubs and spas if consumers paid using virtual currency.

But because the definition of “virtual currency” in state law is broad enough to include credit and debit card transactions, purchases using them would be included in the sales tax holiday by state administrators.

“The definitions provided for virtual currency don’t strongly exclude credit cards, debit cards, checks, ACH transfers, things like that, so the impact is very large as a result of that,” said Devlin Irwin, research economist for the Department of Revenue, during a meeting Friday by economists to score the proposal.

A report summarizing economists’ conclusions backs that up.

“As the definition of digital currency is vague to the inclusion of credit and debit cards, the Department of Revenue feels there is little recourse to prevent their inclusion, administratively,” the report from the Office of Economic and Demographic Research issued Friday states.

The bill passed unanimously through the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee last week, but the House version of the bill (HB 369) hasn’t received a hearing. Even though the $1.4 billion price tag could decrease its chances of making it into the final tax cut package bill, the revenue impact would fall during the 2025-2026 fiscal year because sales tax collections lag the actual economic activity, giving lawmakers more leeway to include it.

The House is poised to unveil its tax cut package later this week, while the Senate will release their version later in the Regular Session. The chambers will then negotiate over the final product, usually in tandem with formal budget talks. The 60-day Session is scheduled to end March 8.

Gray Rohrer


One comment

  • defund florida

    February 12, 2024 at 4:15 pm

    Barbara Corcoran says ‘forget about Florida’ and look elsewhere in the U.S. to buy a home

    While previous generations looked forward to moving and retiring to Florida, the younger population is setting their sights on other places. Gen Zers and millennials are relocating to different cities and states across the U.S. and it’s a decision that real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran supports.

    In a 2023 “Elvis Duran Show” interview, Corcoran was asked if she thought Florida was still a good place to move and buy a house. Corcoran suggested looking outside of the Sunshine State.
    With over 40 years of experience in the business and as a multi-property owner, the “Shark Tank” star knows a thing or two about buying a home.

    “Go anywhere that has a poor school district where prices are really low,” she said. Though Corcoran did note that strategy is best for people who aren’t looking for a place to raise a family and want a cheaper property with potentially high value.

    “Go anywhere in the South other than the hot spots. There’s always a cheap house to buy, always. But not Florida, forget about Florida,” she added.

    One Southern state that is growing in popularity is Texas. The state was the No. 1 state Americans moved to in 2023, according to U-Haul.

    The Southern state has become a growing base for different industries, including tech and aerospace. As of 2022, Texas leads the nation as home to the most Fortune 500 companies.

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