Becoming a Legally Established Professional Photographer
Selling photographs without charging sales tax or collecting sales tax without sending it to the Dept of Revenue in Tallahassee is illegal. The DOR conducts periodic audits within the photographic industry and you don’t want to be caught without the necessary legal documentation.
This page is here to protect and assist you in taking the next step in becoming an FPP PROFESSIONAL photographer. Many folks, when first starting out, don’t know how or what to do. They have no clue who to call, what is required, or how much it’s going to cost. Outlined here is the information that will help take some of the mystery out of it.
Sales Tax Certificate
To sell a tangible product (such as photographs) in the state of Florida, you’ll need a Sales Tax Certificate from the Department of Revenue in Tallahassee. Their toll free number in Tallahassee is 800-352-3671, however the easiest and cheapest way to obtain one is to go to their website and fill out an application on line. This service is free. Prepare to answer several questions on the application, the biggest being if you’ll be operating as an Individual, Partnership, or Corporation. If you’re going to be an Individual (most of you will), you’ll only need your Social Security Number. If you’ll be registering as a Partnership or a Corporation, you’ll need to provide a Federal Employer Identification Number.
Not all counties require an Occupational License or Business License and not all cities require one either, however, nearly everywhere in the state of Florida, one or the other does. There are only a few areas in Florida where neither may be required.
To find the requirements governing your specific area, contact both the county government offices and city or municipality offices your business resides in. You can easily find the number via the Internet by Googling “Occupational License” followed by your particular “city” or “county”.
Federal Employer ID Number
The Federal Employer Identification Number (or EIN) can be obtained easily by calling 800-829-4933 or by going to their website and filling out an on-line application. There is no charge for the EIN.
Fictitious Name Registration
The last step you might consider is Fictitious Name Registration. This is only required if you name your business something other than your own name (ex: PICTURES R US). To do this call 850-250-6058 or go online at www.sunbiz.org. The cost is $50 and it’s good for 5 years. If you are registered with the state as a corporation, you may skip this process.
These small steps can be completed in a single day and by doing so you’ll protect yourself from the missteps that lead to heavy penalties, or even worse – jail time! Remember, failing to pay in sales tax to the Department of Revenue can be a 3rd degree felony punishable by five to fifteen years in prison.