Agricultural Inspection Stations

Every truck entering Florida is inspected at stations like this one on Interstate Ten in Live Oak. In additional to looking for food, plant products that might be bad, agents are inspecting bills of lading.

"We're inspecting and making sure, see where it's coming from," said Agricultural Agent Joshua Glass.

Under state law, items brought into the state are subject to the sales and use tax.

"This truck company is probably hauling some building materials that's coming in from out of state," said Capt. John Boatwright with the Department of Agriculture.

There is no shortage of people skirting the law. 800 to a thousand times a week, information on cargo is sent to the Department of Revenue.

"There is a lot of furniture, they have two specialists dedicated only to furniture," said Boatwright.

The program started as a pilot in 1991. Collections last year were 12 million dollars.

"We have collected 203 million 844 thousand dollars," said Boatwright.

The taxes collected as a result of these inspection means Floridians didn't have to pay higher taxes somewhere else, or see programs cut.

In additional to collecting money the state is owed, agents here also feel like they are helping Florida businesses compete.

"Keep these out of state companies from coming in and under cutting them by the six percent sales tax, you know, when they bid on a job," said Boatwright.

The Department of Revenue says when it contacts people and the law is explained, more than 99% pay the tax they owe without a fight.

Collection of the taxes lagged during the recession, but says an increase from ten to twelve million dollars this year over last.


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