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"I had no idea": Some businesses still charging expired sales tax in Collier County

Posted at 6:20 PM, Feb 01, 2024

NAPLES, Fla — Collier County's one percent infrastructure sales tax ended last year, but some local businesses are still charging extra at checkout. If you look at your sales receipt, the tax amount should read 6% instead of the 7% rate from last year.

In a statement to Fox 4, the county says it has received numerous complaints from customers claiming to have been overcharged. Businesses were supposed to have updated their systems, but some have struggled or forgotten to do so.

Maria Trupiano, the owner of a dessert shop called CAK'D, says they are still charging 7% tax to customers. She tells Fox 4 that's not because she wants but because the amount is already being deducted from a third-party company she deals with.

"I didn't receive a notice. I had no idea," Trupiano expressed, highlighting the lack of communication about the changes.

Trupiano believes her situation is not unique, suspecting that other small businesses in the area may be facing similar challenges.

"People automatically assume it's the business owners that want to defraud the customers but that's just not true," Trupiano said.

She says she is actively working to rectify the issue and will reach out to the third-party company managing her sales.

Other business owners echoed Trupiano's sentiment of the lack of communication from the county.

"It was easy to change, but I wished we would have gotten a notice," says Mirela Benez, the owner of an art and flower shop.

"The only reason I learned about the change was because of my landlord," Benez added.

In an email, Collier County reports having received at least 10 calls to their non-emergency line about overcharges.

In an email, Collier County said

Collier County declined Fox 4's video interview request.

"If the business submits the tax collected in error to the Department, the revenues are distributed to the county," Florida's department of revenue said in a statement.

"If the business has already remitted the tax to the Department of Revenue, it may submit an Application for Refundto the Department with supporting documentation showing the money was returned to the purchaser. The business may also sign an Assignment of Rightsfor the purchaser to apply directly to the Department for the refund," the statement added.

The Department said it will update Fox 4 about the number of complaints it has received so far this year.