(1) If any dealer of communications services who is liable for any tax, interest, or penalty under this chapter sells his or her business or substantially all of his or her assets, the dealer shall make a final return and payment within 15 days thereafter. The dealer’s successors or assigns shall withhold a sufficient portion of the purchase money to safely cover the amount of such taxes, interest, and penalties due and unpaid until the former owner produces a receipt from the department showing that they have been paid or a certificate stating that no taxes, interest, or penalties are due. If the purchaser of a business or the purchaser of substantially all of the assets of a business fails to withhold a sufficient amount of the purchase money as required by this subsection, he or she is personally liable for the payment of the taxes, interest, and penalties accruing and unpaid on account of the operation of the business by any former owners or assigns. Any receipt or certificate from the department does not, without an audit of the selling dealer’s books and records by the department, guarantee that there is not a tax deficiency owed the state from operation of the seller’s business. To secure protection from the transferee’s liability under this section, the seller or purchaser may request an audit of the seller’s books and records. The department may contract with private auditors pursuant to s. 213.28 to perform the audit. The department may charge the cost of the audit to the person requesting the audit.
(2) If any dealer who is liable for any tax, interest, or penalty quits the business without the benefit of a purchaser and there are no successors or assigns, he or she shall make a final return and payment within 15 days. Any person who fails to file such final return and make payment is prohibited from engaging in any business in this state until the person has filed such final return and paid any moneys due. The Department of Legal Affairs may seek an injunction, at the request of the department, to prevent any activity in the performance of further business activity until such tax is paid. A temporary injunction enjoining further business activity may be granted by a court without notice.
(3) If a dealer is delinquent in the payment of the taxes imposed or administered by this chapter, the department may give notice of the amount of such delinquency by registered mail to all persons having in their possession or under their control any credits or other personal property belonging to such dealer or owing any debts to such dealer at the time of receipt by them of such notice. All persons so notified shall within 5 days after receipt of the notice advise the department of all such credits, other personal property, or debts in their possession, under their control, or owing by them. After receiving the notice, the persons so notified may not transfer or make any other disposition of the credits, other personal property, or debts in their possession or under their control at the time they receive the notice until the department consents to a transfer or disposition or until 60 days elapse after the receipt of the notice, whichever occurs first, except that the credits, other personal property, or debts that exceed the delinquent amount stipulated in the notice are not subject to the provisions of this section, wherever held, if such dealer does not have a prior history of tax delinquencies under this chapter. All persons notified must, within 5 days, advise the department of any credits or other personal property belonging to such dealer or any debts incurred and owing to such dealer which subsequently come into their possession or under their control during the time prescribed by the notice or until the department consents to a transfer or disposition, whichever occurs first. If the notice seeks to prevent the transfer or other disposition of a deposit in a bank or other credits or personal property in the possession or under the control of a bank, the notice is ineffective unless it is delivered or mailed to the office of the bank at which the deposit is carried or at which the credits or personal property are held. If, during the effective period of the notice to withhold, any person so notified makes any transfer or disposition of the property or debts required to be withheld, he or she is liable to the state for any indebtedness due under this chapter from the person with respect to whose obligation the notice was given to the extent of the value of the property or the amount of the debts thus transferred or paid if, solely by reason of such transfer or disposition, the state is unable to recover the indebtedness of the person with respect to whose obligation the notice was given. All such credits or other personal property or debts are subject to garnishment by the department for satisfaction of the delinquent taxes due.
(4) After notice by the department of a transferee’s liability under this section, the dealer shall have 60 days within which to file an action as provided in chapter 72.
(5) Any violation of this section is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.