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Hillsborough County Commercial Lease Sales Tax Rate Reduced by Recent Florida Supreme Court Decision [Lowndes Leasing Lawyers]

March 24, 2021

Shareholder Matt O'Kane and Associate Samantha Duran discuss how the recent Florida Supreme Court decision that the Hillsborough County 1% transportation sales surtax is unconstitutional affects commercial landlords and property managers.

A recent Florida Supreme Court decision1 found that the Hillsborough County 1% transportation sales surtax is unconstitutional. As a result, the decision reduced the sales tax rate on commercial lease payments in Hillsborough County to 7%.

In a 4-1 decision, the Court held that the Hillsborough County charter amendment imposing the additional 1% discretionary surtax was unconstitutional. The amendment contained an elaborate directive for allocating the tax proceeds which unconstitutionally stripped the county commissioners of the authority to decide how to allocate such funds. As a result, the court struck down the entire charter amendment thereby reducing the Hillsborough County sales tax rate by 1%.

Accordingly, the new sales tax rate on Hillsborough County commercial lease payments (including base rent and additional rent) is now 7%. The sales tax on other services commonly provided by commercial landlords, such as parking, janitorial, security, and pest control services, is reduced to 7.5%.  [Read more]

This is an excerpt from a blog post originally written on Lowndes Leasing Lawyers.

[1] Emerson v. Hillsborough County, SC19-1250 (Fla. 2021)

This article is informational only. You should consult an attorney before acting or failing to act. The law may change rapidly and no warranty is given. LOWNDES DISCLAIMS ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ALL ARTICLES ARE PROVIDED AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. Consult a Lowndes attorney if you wish to establish an attorney/client relationship.

Matt O’Kane has a broad background in federal tax, Florida state tax, estate planning and U.S. taxation of foreign investors. He counsels clients on a broad range of federal tax issues and business planning issues from entity selection and formation to dissolutions.

Matt advises clients on Florida state tax issues and represents clients in controversies involving the Florida Department of Revenue. He has lectured on Florida sales tax, documentary stamp tax and intangible tax.

He regularly counsels clients on a broad range of wealth transfer issues including estates, gift and generation skipping transfer tax planning, irrevocable trust planning, charitable planning, and family limited partnerships. He also advises nonresident clients with regard to their U.S. investments.


Samantha Duran is an attorney in the firm’s Real Estate Group. She focuses her practice in the areas of real estate development, finance and transactions, condominiums, property owners’ associations, commercial leasing, commercial lending and title insurance.

Samantha earned her juris doctorate from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where she graduated cum laude and was selected for Order of the Coif. She received her bachelor’s degree in legal studies and political science from the University of Central Florida and was a member of the Phi Delta Phi legal honor society.

Prior to joining Lowndes as an attorney, Samantha was a summer clerk with the firm. While at law school, she served as a legal extern for both the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and the University of Florida Self Insurance Program. She was also articles editor for The Florida Law Review, a research assistant for Professor William Page, and a teaching assistant for Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy classes, as well as a volunteer for the Restoration of Civil Rights Project.

In her free time, Samantha enjoys training at Orange Theory Fitness and hiking.

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