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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

New Florida gun law prompts tax refunds for Dunedin dealers




DUNEDIN -- The city will issue full refunds to gun dealers and gunsmiths who may have been taxed for several decades in violation of state law.

Commissioners voted 5-0 Thursday to return a total of $3,600 to three local businesses. Officials also voted to change city codes to tax the firearms businesses at the same rate as other merchants in the future, and to retroactively subtract the corrected tax amounts from the refunds.

For years, Dunedin has charged gun dealers $150 and gunsmiths $45 in annual business taxes. City attorney Tom Trask says the fees may have been illegal because a 1987 state law barred cities and counties from enacting any gun regulations other than those spelled out by state statute. A 2011 revision added heavy fines and other penalties for local governments that are in violation.

Trask said he disagrees with a Florida Attorney General advisory opinion that cities can indeed levy business taxes on gun dealers so long as the fees are on par with those for other merchants. He recommended capping refunds at the four years endorsed by Florida’s statute of limitations, but commissioners decided to reimburse folks for as many years as they could provide receipts.

Under the proposed city code change, gun dealers will be taxed the same $25 base fee and $3 for every $1,000 of inventory as other merchants.

-Keyonna Summers, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Sunday, October 23, 2011 11:22am]


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