Preventing victimization and providing a way for seniors to contribute to the safety of all Floridians

Rev 10/07 Form SVC11
1
“The Seniors vs. Crime project does not offer or provide legal services or legal representation. Any response provided
Is not legal advice, is not a definite statement of the law, and is not a complete analysis of this area of inquiry.” CaseAL00395


J. Caravella

Preventing victimization and providing a way for seniors to contribute to the safety of all Floridians
Rev 10/07 Form SVC11
2
“The Seniors vs. Crime project does not offer or provide legal services or legal representation. Any response provided
Is not legal advice, is not a definite statement of the law, and is not a complete analysis of this area of inquiry.” CaseAL00395
Activity Record

Folder Name: AL00395 Konish

Date Handled by Description of Action Taken
04/10/14 J. Caravella Mr. Konish (comp) reports and supplies documents
regarding two questionable taxing activities by
Gainesville Regional Utility (GRU), a municipal utility,
upon its residential and commercial customer bills;

1) the imposition of a 2.5641% Florida Gross Receipts
Tax compared to the statutory limit of 2.5%, and

2) the collection of a 10% Gainesville Electric Utility
Tax upon non-consumable items compared to the
statutory limit of such “municipal” tax applicable only
to the purchase of consumed electricity.

Regarding #1 above the comp references FL Statute
203.01:

203.01 Tax on gross receipts for utility and communications
services.—
(1)(a)1. A tax is imposed on gross receipts from utility services that are
delivered to a retail consumer in this state. The tax shall be levied as
provided in paragraphs (b)-(j).

(b)1. The rate applied to utility services shall be 2.5 percent.

Further research by the undersigned found that also
applicable is Florida Department of Revenue (FL DOR)
Administrative Rule 12B-6.0015:

12B-6.0015 Imposition of the Gross Receipts Tax.

(3) SEPARATELY ITEMIZED CHARGES.
(a) A distribution company may wholly or partially separately itemize
the gross receipts tax on the customer’s bill, invoice, statement, or other
evidence of sale. However, the gross receipts tax is imposed on the
privilege of doing business, and it is an item of cost to the distribution
company. The distribution company remains fully and completely liable for
the payment of the tax, even when the tax is wholly or partially separately
itemized on the customer’s bill, invoice, statement, or other evidence of
sale. When the tax is wholly or partially separately itemized, every person,
including governmental units and charitable and religious organizations, is
liable for the payment of the tax to the distribution company.
(b) Example: A distribution company bills its customer for both the
electricity and the transportation of the electricity. Tax is imposed at the
rate of 2.5 percent of the distribution company’s gross receipts for utility
services. When the distribution company separately itemizes “Florida gross
receipts tax” on a customer’s billing, the amount of gross receipts tax is

Preventing victimization and providing a way for seniors to contribute to the safety of all Floridians
Rev 10/07 Form SVC11
3
“The Seniors vs. Crime project does not offer or provide legal services or legal representation. Any response provided
Is not legal advice, is not a definite statement of the law, and is not a complete analysis of this area of inquiry.” CaseAL00395
calculated at the rate of 2.5 percent of the total amount billed for the
electric services, including the amount separately itemized as “Florida
gross receipts tax.”
Customer Billing:
Electric service amount $100.00
Florida gross receipts tax $ 2.56 *
Total amount of billing $102.56
* Calculation of separately itemized “Florida gross receipts tax”:
Total amount of billing $102.56
x Gross Receipts Tax Rate 2.5%
Total tax to be separately itemized $ 2.56

It therefore appears plausible that a factor of 2.56%
is recognized by the above FL DOR Rule example.
Applying 2.5641% to an aggregate, itemized subtotal,
results in the same Total tax ($2.56) as cited in the
above example; so no further action will be taken on #1.

- - - - - - - - -

In regard to comp’s #2, his Florida statutory reference
is Florida Statute (FS) 166.231(1)(a):

166.231 Municipalities; public service tax.—
(1)(a) A municipality may levy a tax on the purchase of electricity,
metered natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas either metered or bottled,
manufactured gas either metered or bottled, and water service. Except for
those municipalities in which paragraph (c) applies, the tax shall be levied
only upon purchases within the municipality and shall not exceed 10
percent of the payments received by the seller of the taxable item from the
purchaser for the purchase of such service. Municipalities imposing a tax
on the purchase of cable television service as of May 4, 1977, may continue
to levy such tax to the extent necessary to meet all obligations to or for the
benefit of holders of bonds or certificates which were issued prior to May
4, 1977. Purchase of electricity means the purchase of electric power by
a person who will consume it within the municipality.
(bold/color/underline for emphasis)

Research by the undersigned with the FL DOR (Carla
Bruce 850-717-6315) found that the DOR has no Rule
regarding FS 166.231(1)(a) because it deals with a
municipal tax, not a state tax. As noted in the above
statute;

“…the tax shall be levied only upon purchases within the municipality
and shall not exceed 10 percent of the payments received by the seller of
the taxable item from the purchaser for the purchase of such service….”
(bold for emphasis)
“Purchase of electricity” is defined in this statute as;

“Purchase of electricity means the purchase of electric power by a person
who will consume it within the municipality.” (bold for emphasis)


Preventing victimization and providing a way for seniors to contribute to the safety of all Floridians
Rev 10/07 Form SVC11
4
“The Seniors vs. Crime project does not offer or provide legal services or legal representation. Any response provided
Is not legal advice, is not a definite statement of the law, and is not a complete analysis of this area of inquiry.” CaseAL00395
City of Gainesville ordinance provides for the tax;
http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=10819
Sec. 25-16. Definitions.
Purchaser shall include any person, firm, corporation, partnership, society,
club or association of persons acting together as a unit who purchase or
cause to be purchased for consumption utility service within the corporate
limits of the city.
Sec. 25-17. Levy.
(a) There is hereby levied by the city on each and every purchase in the city
of electricity, metered or bottled gas (natural, liquefied petroleum gas, or
manufactured), and water service, a tax of ten percent of the charge made
by the seller of such service or commodity. … .

as does Alachua County ordinance;

http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=10343
Sec. 39.6.02. Imposition of tax.
There is hereby levied by the county, within the unincorporated area of
Alachua County, a public service tax upon each purchase of electricity,
metered or bottled gas (natural, liquified petroleum gas or manufactured),
telecommunications service as provided herein, and water service. The tax
upon each purchase of electricity, metered or bottled gas (natural, liquified
petroleum or manufactured), and water service shall be in an amount equal
to ten percent of the payments received by the seller of the tangible item or
service from the purchaser for the purchase of such item or service. … .

and both mostly reflect controlling FS 166.231(1)(a).

On bills, within Gainesville the 10% municipal tax is
known as “Gainesville Util Tax.” Outside Gainesville
this 10% tax is known as “County Elec Util Tax.”

GRU collects 10% municipal tax for electric purchase
upon its customers inside the city. GRU also collects
a 10% Alachua County tax for electric purchase upon its
customers outside the city. Included in the aggregate
upon which the 10% tax is charged are non-electric
purchases such as an “Electric Customer Charge”,
which appears to have begun in November 2010
(itemized as and 1 below).

The complaint regarding GRU’s 10% tax upon electricity
purchased for consumption, as articulated by the
complainant, is that GRU is improperly applying the
10% tax to non-consumable electric charges; therefore,
GRU is collecting money it is not entitled to have:
Research of residential electric bills and GRU found
that the 10% monthly tax has been and is applied to:

1 “Electric Customer Charge” [non-consumable]
2,3,4 “Energy Use Tier(s)” [consumable]
6 “Florida Gross Receipts Tax” [non-consumable]
7 “Electric (County) Surcharge” [non-consumable]



GRU's BILL CALCULA1ION OI J0° 1AX
8OURCE:
https://www.gru.com/Portals/0/Legacy/Pdf/calcul
atingElectric.pdf
1

Preventing victimization and providing a way for seniors to contribute to the safety of all Floridians
Rev 10/07 Form SVC11
5
“The Seniors vs. Crime project does not offer or provide legal services or legal representation. Any response provided
Is not legal advice, is not a definite statement of the law, and is not a complete analysis of this area of inquiry.” CaseAL00395
1 The “Electric Customer Charge” (ECC) is a fixed
monthly fee described by GRU as:

“Each utility service has a fixed customer charge to recover those
costs that GRU must incur to provide service whether or not any
consumption is used. Meter repair and replacement expenses,
monthly meter reading expenses and the costs of producing and
mailing the utility bill are examples of such costs.”
Source:http://www.gru.com/MyHome/Content/BillDefinitionsforRe
sidentialCustomers.aspx4

The 2010 residential ECC was $8.45 10% tax = $.84/mth
The 2011 residential ECC was $8.67 10% tax = $.87/mth
The 2012 residential ECC was $8.67 10% tax = $.87/mth
The 2013 residential ECC was $11.90 10% tax = $1.19mth
The 2014 residential ECC is $11.90 10% tax = $1.19mth
Source:http://www.gru.com/MyHome/Content/BillDefinitionsforRe
sidentialCustomers.aspx4
GRU serves approximately 82,000 residential customers.
(82,128 for 2012 as cited in “GRU Storm Hardening Report to the
Florida Public Service Commission Pursuant to Rule 25-6.0343,
F.A.C. Calendar Year 2012”)

Non-residential ECC for 2013 varies with consumption /demand;
set at $30.00, $100.00, or $350.00.
Source:http://www.gru.com/MyHome/Content/BillDefinitionsforRe
sidentialCustomers.aspx4
GRU serves approximately 10,000 non-residential customers.
(10,428 for 2012 as cited in “GRU Storm Hardening Report to the
Florida Public Service Commission Pursuant to Rule 25-6.0343,
F.A.C. Calendar Year 2012”)

Based upon the 10% municipal tax collected only
from residential customers and only on the fixed,
non-consumable “Electric Customer Charge” (ECC),
the amount collected in
2010 from 82,000 customers = $ 137,760.00 (Nov & Dec)
2011 from 82,000 customers = $ 856,080.00
2012 from 82,000 customers = $ 856,080.00
2013 from 82,000 customers = $1,170,960.00
2014 from 82,000 customers = $ 292,740.00 (Jan – Mar)
Total = $3,313,620.00

This Total does not account for the 10% municipal tax
collected on the variable monthly non-consumable
residential charges for 6 Florida Gross Receipts Tax or
7 Electric Surcharge. Nor does this Total account for
the 10% municipal tax upon non-residential 1ECC, 6
Florida Gross Receipts Tax or 7 Electric Surcharge.

It would appear the complainant may be due a
minimum refund of $40.41 from November 2010

Preventing victimization and providing a way for seniors to contribute to the safety of all Floridians
Rev 10/07 Form SVC11
6
“The Seniors vs. Crime project does not offer or provide legal services or legal representation. Any response provided
Is not legal advice, is not a definite statement of the law, and is not a complete analysis of this area of inquiry.” CaseAL00395
through March 2014 from just the 10% municipal tax
upon his ECC. A query letter to GRU will be sent by
the undersigned. This proposed refund does not
take into account the 10% tax paid on his other
monthly taxed non-consumables described in detail
hereafter:

7 The “Electric Surcharge” is a variable monthly fee
described by GRU as:

“The Florida Public Service Commission has authorized an electric
surcharge be levied on electric charges to customers receiving electric
service outside the city limits and equal to the utility tax (10%) levied
on electric charges to customers receiving electric service inside the
city limits. [Sec. 27-27(c), Gainesville Code of Ordinances]”
a

Source:http://www.gru.com/MyHome/Content/BillDefinitionsforRe
sidentialCustomers.aspx4
or
https://www.gru.com/MyBusiness/Content/BillDefinitionsforNonres
identialCustomers.aspx4surcharges

For out-of-municipality customers this Surcharge is part
of an aggregate (+ 1 & 6 non-consumables) taxed at 10%
becoming GRU’s “County Elec Util Tax” upon a GRU bill.

a
Sec. 27-27. Base rates for retail service.
(a) Rates. The rates to be charged and collected for electric energy furnished by the
city to retail consumers shall be in accordance with the schedule set out in Appendix A.
(b) Taxes. An amount equal to all applicable taxes imposed against the sale or
consumption of electric energy shall be added to the rates hereinabove set forth. The
United States of America, the State of Florida, and all political subdivisions,
agencies, boards, commissions, and instrumentalities thereof, and all recognized
places of religious assembly of the State of Florida are exempt from the city's utility tax.
(c) Surcharge for consumers outside city limits. The rates to be charged and
collected by the city for electric energy furnished by the city outside of its corporate
limits to consumers of retail electric service shall be the base rates as set forth
above, plus a surcharge equal the amount of the city utility tax charged consumers
inside the city limits; provided, however, that the United States of America, the
State of Florida, and all political subdivisions, agencies, boards, commissions, and
instrumentalities thereof and all recognized places of religious assembly of the State
of Florida are exempt from the payment of the surcharge imposed and levied thereby.
(d) Availability. This service is available to consumers both within and outside the
corporate limits of the city.
* * * * * * * * *
APPENDIX A SCHEDULE OF FEES, RATES AND CHARGES
UTILITIES:
(1)Electricity:
f.1. Base rate. The rates to be charged and collected for electric energy furnished by
the city to consumers for residential service are hereby fixed as follows:
(i) Non-time-differentiated rate. All residential customers may elect service at this rate:
(A) Customer charge, per month .....8.67
(B) First 250 kilowatt hours per month, per kWh
. . .


6 The “Florida Gross Receipts Tax” is a variable
monthly tax described by GRU as:

“Chapter 12B-6 of the Florida Administrative Code levies a 2.5%
tax on the gross receipts of electric and gas industries in the State of
Florida and allows this amount to be recovered from all customers

Preventing victimization and providing a way for seniors to contribute to the safety of all Floridians
Rev 10/07 Form SVC11
7
“The Seniors vs. Crime project does not offer or provide legal services or legal representation. Any response provided
Is not legal advice, is not a definite statement of the law, and is not a complete analysis of this area of inquiry.” CaseAL00395
regardless of tax exempt status. These tax revenues are passed
directly to the State and are used for Public Education Capital
Outlay funding. The DOR factor for the Florida Gross Receipts Tax
Adjustment is determined by the Department of Revenue and may
be revised periodically.”
Source:http://www.gru.com/MyHome/Content/BillDefinitionsforRe
sidentialCustomers.aspx4
or
https://www.gru.com/MyBusiness/Content/BillDefinitionsforNonres
identialCustomers.aspx4surcharges
(see FL Admin Code 12B-6 above at p.2)

There were approximately 51,000 residential
households within the City of Gainesville in 2010.
Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gainesville,_Ilorida

Having insufficient data, no dollar amounts can be
attributed to the 10% municipal tax collected from
non-residential electric customers upon their ECC,
Florida Gross Receipts Tax and Electric Surcharge.

John Caravella
Seniors vs. Crime, Office Manager
jcaravella@alachuasheriff.org



























Preventing victimization and providing a way for seniors to contribute to the safety of all Floridians
Rev 10/07 Form SVC11
8
“The Seniors vs. Crime project does not offer or provide legal services or legal representation. Any response provided
Is not legal advice, is not a definite statement of the law, and is not a complete analysis of this area of inquiry.” CaseAL00395
04-18-14 J. Caravella GRU may reply to SVC that the complainant must
apply for a credit or refund personally as stated in FS
166.234:

166.234 Public service tax; administrative provisions; rights
and remedies.—
(6) Any purchaser of a service may request from a seller a refund
of, or credit for, taxes collected from the purchaser upon the ground
that the amounts collected were not due to any municipality. The
seller shall issue the refund or allow a credit to the purchaser entitled
thereto, if the request is made within 3 years following collection of
the tax from the purchaser. In any event, a seller shall issue a refund
or credit to a purchaser within 45 days following the seller’s
determination of the amount of taxes collected from the purchaser
within the preceding 3 years that were not due to any municipality.
(also see FS 166.235)
Related to the “purchase of electricity” as defined at
the bottom of p.3 above, the prior three years of the
comp’s ECC equals approximately $33.01. As part of
the “Gainesville Elect Util Tax” the municipality also
taxes the “Florida Gross Receipts Tax” as part of the
“Gainesville Elect Util Tax” for city residents. In
addition to the ECC, the “Florida Gross Receipts
Tax” is also a non-consumable item. Minimum
calculations for the “Florida Gross Receipts Tax” for
municipal residential accounts could add ~ $7.00 -
$14.00 to the $33.01; however, the complainant
would have to calculate the exact amount from his
own monthly bills. GRU serves approximately 51,000
residential customers with the municipality.

In addition to the $33.01 above and the $7.00 - $14.00
above for the “Florida Gross Receipts Tax”, Alachua
County residential accounts are also taxed upon an
“Electric Surcharge” at 10% becoming part of the
“County Elec Util Tax.” Portions of this Surcharge are
non-consumable items that may add ~ $8.00 - $17.00
to a county resident’s potential claim. GRU serves
approximately 31,000 County residential accounts.

In addition, both municipal and County residential
accounts are taxed the 10% rate upon gas and water
consumption plus Customer Charges for both
commodities. County residential accounts are also
charged the 10% rate on a non-consumable “Gas
Surcharge” and “Water Surcharge.” FS 166.231(1)(a)
defines the purchase of electricity, but not the
purchase of gas or water; however the statute still
appears to limit the 10% tax to only the “purchases”
of electricity, metered natural gas and water service.