September 21, 2019
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The Florida Statutes

The 2008 Florida Statutes

Title XXXV
AGRICULTURE, HORTICULTURE, AND ANIMAL INDUSTRY
Chapter 601
FLORIDA CITRUS CODE
View Entire Chapter
Section 601.15, Florida Statutes 2008

601.15  Advertising campaign; methods of conducting; excise tax; emergency reserve fund; citrus research.--

(1)  The administration of this section shall be vested in the Department of Citrus, which shall prescribe suitable and reasonable rules and regulations for the enforcement hereof, and the Department of Citrus shall administer the taxes levied and imposed hereby. All funds collected under this section and the interest accrued on such funds are consideration for a social contract between the state and the citrus growers of the state whereby the state must hold such funds in trust and inviolate and use them only for the purposes prescribed in this chapter. The Department of Citrus shall have power to cause its duly authorized agent or representative to enter upon the premises of any handler of citrus fruits and to examine or cause to be examined any books, papers, records, or memoranda bearing on the amount of taxes payable and to secure other information directly or indirectly concerned in the enforcement hereof. Any person who is required to pay the taxes levied and imposed and who by any practice or evasion makes it difficult to enforce the provisions hereof by inspection, or any person who, after demand by the Department of Citrus or any agent or representative designated by it for that purpose, refuses to allow full inspection of the premises or any part thereof or any books, records, documents, or other instruments in any manner relating to the liability of the taxpayer for the tax imposed or hinders or in anywise delays or prevents such inspection, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(2)  The Department of Citrus shall plan and conduct campaigns for commodity advertising, publicity, and sales promotion, and may conduct campaigns to encourage noncommodity advertising, to increase the consumption of citrus fruits and may contract for any such advertising, publicity, and sales promotion service. To accomplish such purpose, the Department of Citrus shall have power, and it shall be its duty:

(a)  To disseminate information relating to:

1.  Citrus fruits and the importance thereof in preserving the public health, the economy thereof in the diet of the people, and the importance thereof in the nutrition of children;

2.  The manner, method, and means used and employed in the production and marketing of citrus fruits and information relating to laws of the state regulating and safeguarding such production and marketing;

3.  The added cost to the producer and dealer in producing and handling citrus fruits to meet the high standards imposed by the state that ensure a pure and wholesome product;

4.  The effect upon the public health which would result from a breakdown of the Florida citrus industry or any part thereof;

5.  The reasons why producers and dealers should receive a reasonable return on their labor and investment;

6.  The problem of furnishing the consumer at all times with an abundant supply of fine quality citrus fruits at reasonable prices;

7.  Factors of instability peculiar to the citrus fruit industry, such as unbalanced production, the effect of the weather, the influence of consumer purchasing power, and price relative to the cost of other items of food in the normal diet of people, all to the end that an intelligent and increasing consumer demand may be created;

8.  The possibilities with particular reference to increased consumption of citrus fruits; and

9.  Such other, further, and additional information which tends to promote increased consumption of citrus fruits and which fosters a better understanding and more efficient cooperation among producers, dealers, and the consuming public; and

(b)  To decide upon some distinctive and suggestive trade name and to promote its use in all ways to advertise Florida citrus fruit.

(3)(a)  There is hereby levied and imposed upon each standard-packed box of citrus fruit grown and placed into the primary channel of trade in this state an excise tax at maximum annual rates for each citrus season as determined from the tables in this paragraph and based upon the previous season's actual statewide production as reported in the United States Department of Agriculture Citrus Crop Production Forecast as of June 1. The rates may be set at any lower rate in any year pursuant to paragraph (e).

1.  The following maximum tax rates, expressed in cents per box, shall apply to grapefruit which enters the primary channel of trade for use in fresh form:
Previous season crop size (millions of boxes) 1995-1996 1996-1997 1997-1998 1998-1999 1999-2000 and thereafter
80 and greater 33 34 35 36 37
75-79.99 35 36 37 38 39
70-74.99 37 38 39 41 42
65-69.99 40 41 42 44 45
60-64.99 43 44 46 47 49
55-59.99 47 48 50 51 53
50-54.99 51 53 55 56 58
45-49.99 57 59 60 62 64
40-44.99 63 65 67 69 71
Less than 40 72 74 76 79 81

2.  The following maximum tax rates, expressed in cents per box, shall apply to grapefruit which enters the primary channel of trade for use in processed forms:
Previous season crop size (millions of boxes) 1995-1996 1996-1997 1997-1998 1998-1999 1999-2000 and thereafter
80 and greater 23 24 25 25 26
75-79.99 25 25 26 27 28
70-74.99 26 27 28 29 30
65-69.99 28 29 30 31 32
60-64.99 31 32 32 33 34
55-59.99 33 34 35 36 37
50-54.99 36 38 39 40 41
45-49.99 40 41 43 44 45
40-44.99 45 46 48 49 51
Less than 40 51 53 54 56 57

3.  The following maximum tax rates, expressed in cents per box, shall apply to oranges which enter the primary channel of trade for use in fresh form:
Previous season crop size (millions of boxes) 1995-1996 1996-1997 1997-1998 1998-1999 1999-2000 and thereafter
255 and greater 23 24 25 26 26
245-254.9 24 25 26 27 27
235-244.9 25 26 27 28 28
225-234.9 26 27 28 29 30
215-224.9 28 28 29 30 31
205-214.9 29 30 31 32 33
195-204.9 30 31 32 33 34
185-194.9 32 33 34 35 36
175-184.9 34 35 36 37 38
165-174.9 36 37 38 39 40
155-164.9 38 39 40 41 43
Less than 155 41 42 43 44 46

4.  The following maximum tax rates, expressed in cents per box, shall apply to oranges which enter the primary channel of trade for use in processed form:
Previous season crop size (millions of boxes) 1995-1996 1996-1997 1997-1998 1998-1999 1999-2000 and thereafter
255 and greater 15 16 16 17 17
245-254.9 16 16 17 17 18
235-244.9 17 17 18 18 19
225-234.9 17 18 18 19 19
215-224.9 18 19 19 20 20
205-214.9 19 20 20 21 21
195-204.9 20 21 21 22 22
185-194.9 21 22 22 23 24
175-184.9 22 23 23 24 25
165-174.9 23 24 25 26 26
155-164.9 25 26 26 27 28
Less than 155 27 27 28 29 30

5.  The actual tax rate levied each year upon oranges which enter the primary channel of trade for use in processed form, pursuant to this paragraph, paragraph (e), and subsection (4), shall also apply in that year to tangerines and citrus hybrids regulated by the Department of Citrus which enter the primary channel of trade for use in processed form.

6.  The following maximum tax rates, expressed in cents per box, shall apply to tangerines and citrus hybrids regulated by the Department of Citrus which enter the primary channel of trade for use in fresh form:
Previous season crop size (millions of boxes) 1995-1996 1996-1997 1997-1998 1998-1999 1999-2000 and thereafter
13 and greater 24 24 25 26 27
12 - 12.99 26 26 27 28 29
11 - 11.99 28 29 30 30 31
10 - 10.99 31 31 32 33 34
9 - 9.99 34 35 36 37 38
8 - 8.99 38 39 40 41 42
7 - 7.99 43 44 45 47 48
Less than 7 49 51 52 54 56

(b)  Whenever citrus fruit is purchased, acquired, or handled on a weight basis, the following weights shall be deemed the equivalent of one standard-packed box for tax purposes under this section:

1.  Grapefruit, 85 pounds.

2.  Oranges, 90 pounds.

3.  Tangerines, 95 pounds.

4.  Citrus hybrids, 90 pounds.

(c)  The excise taxes imposed by this section do not apply to citrus fruit used for noncommercial domestic consumption on the premises where produced.

(d)  For purposes of this subsection, a citrus season begins on August 1 of a year and ends on July 31 of the following year.

(e)  The commission, upon an affirmative vote of a majority of its members and by an order entered by it prior to November 1 of any year, may set the tax rates up to the maximum rates specified in this subsection. The tax rate shall apply only to the citrus season which began on August 1 of the same calendar year. Such tax rate may be applied by variety and on the basis of whether the fruit enters the primary channel of trade for use in fresh or processed form. If the commission cannot agree on a box tax rate, the tax rate for the previous year shall remain in effect until the commission approves a new rate.

(4)  Every handler shall keep a complete and accurate record of all citrus fruit handled by her or him. Such record shall be in such form and contain such other information as the Department of Citrus shall by rule or regulation prescribe. Such records shall be preserved by such handlers for a period of 1 year and shall be offered for inspection at any time upon oral or written demand by the Department of Citrus or its duly authorized agents or representatives.

(5)  Every handler shall, at such times and in such manner as the Department of Citrus may by rule require, file with the Department of Citrus a return certified as true and correct, on forms furnished by the Department of Citrus, stating, in addition to other information, the number of standard-packed boxes of each kind of citrus fruit handled by such handler in the primary channel of trade during the period of time covered by the return. Full payment of all excise taxes due for the period reported shall accompany each handler's return.

(6)(a)  All excise taxes levied and imposed pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be due and payable and shall be paid, or the amount thereof guaranteed as hereinafter provided, at the time the citrus fruit is first handled in the primary channels of trade. All such taxes shall be paid, or the payment thereof shall be guaranteed, to the Department of Citrus by the person first handling the fruit in the primary channel of trade, except that payment of taxes on fruit delivered or sold for processing in this state shall be paid, or payment thereof shall be guaranteed in accordance with Department of Citrus rules, by the person processing such fruit.

(b)  Periodic payment of excise taxes upon citrus fruit by the person liable for such payment shall be permitted only in accordance with Department of Citrus rules; and the payment thereof shall be guaranteed by the posting of a good and sufficient cash bond, an appropriate certificate of deposit, or an approved surety bond in an amount and manner as prescribed by Department of Citrus rule. Evidence of such guarantee of payment of excise taxes shall be made on the grade certificate in such manner and form as may be prescribed by Department of Citrus rule.

(c)  All taxes collected by the Department of Citrus shall be delivered to the State Treasury for payment into the proper advertising fund.

(7)  All excise taxes levied and collected under the provisions of this chapter shall be paid into the State Treasury on or before the 15th day of each month; such moneys shall be accounted for in a special fund to be designated as the Florida Citrus Advertising Trust Fund, and all moneys in such fund are hereby appropriated to the Department of Citrus for the following purposes:

(a)  Three percent of all income of a revenue nature deposited in this fund, including transfers from any subsidiary accounts thereof and any interest income, shall be deposited in the General Revenue Fund pursuant to chapter 215.

(b)  Moneys in the Florida Citrus Advertising Trust Fund shall be expended for the activities authorized by s. 601.13 and for the cost of those general overhead, research and development, maintenance, salaries, professional fees, enforcement costs, and other such expenses which are not related to advertising, merchandising, public relations, trade luncheons, publicity, and other associated activities. The cost of general overhead, maintenance, salaries, professional fees, enforcement costs, and other such expenses which are related to advertising, merchandising, public relations, trade luncheons, publicity, and associated activities shall be paid from the balance of the Florida Citrus Advertising Trust Fund.

(c)  Moneys in the Florida Citrus Advertising Trust Fund shall also be used by the Department of Citrus for defraying those expenses not included in paragraph (b). After payment of such expenses, the money levied and collected under the provisions of subsection (3) shall be used exclusively for commodity and noncommodity advertising, merchandising, publicity, or sales promotion of citrus products in both fresh form and processed form, including citrus cattle feed and all other products of citrus fruits, produced in the state, in such equitable manner and proration as the Department of Citrus may determine, but funds expended for commodity advertising thereunder shall be expended through an established advertising agency. A proration of moneys between commodity programs and noncommodity programs, and among types of citrus products, shall be made on or before November 1 of each shipping season and may not thereafter be modified for that shipping season unless the department finds such action necessary to preserve the economic welfare of the citrus industry.

(d)  The pro rata portion of moneys allocated to each type of citrus product in noncommodity programs shall be used by the department to encourage substantial increases in the effectiveness, frequency, and volume of noncommodity advertising, merchandising, publicity, and sales promotion of such citrus products through rebates and incentive payments to handlers and trade customers for these activities. The Department of Citrus is authorized and directed to adopt rules providing for the use of such moneys. The rules shall establish alternate incentive programs, including at least one incentive program for product sold under advertised brands, one incentive program for product sold under private label brands, and one incentive program for product sold in bulk. For each incentive program, the rules shall establish eligibility and performance requirements and shall provide appropriate limitations on amounts payable to a handler or trade customer for a particular season. Such limitations may relate to the amount of citrus excise taxes levied and collected on the citrus product handled by such handler or trade customer during a 12-month representative period. The department may require from participants in noncommodity advertising and promotional programs commercial information necessary to determine eligibility for and performance in such programs. Any information so required which constitutes a "trade secret" as defined in s. 812.081 is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1).

(8)(a)  On certification by any employee of the Department of Citrus that her or his actual and necessary expenses on any particular day while traveling outside the state exceeded the per diem provided by law, such employee shall show such excess on her or his regular expense voucher and support the same by the proof required pursuant to rules and regulations to be promulgated by the Department of Citrus.

(b)  The Department of Citrus is authorized to spend such amount as it deems advisable for guests involved in promotional activities in the sale of Florida citrus fruits and products.

(c)  All obligations, expenses, and costs incurred under the provisions of this section shall be paid out of the Citrus Advertising Fund upon warrant of the Chief Financial Officer when vouchers thereof, approved by the Department of Citrus, are exhibited.

(9)(a)  Any handler who fails to file a return or to pay any tax within the time required shall thereby forfeit to the Department of Citrus a penalty of 5 percent of the amount of tax determined to be due; but the Department of Citrus, if satisfied that the delay was excusable, may remit all or any part of such penalty. Such penalty shall be paid to the Department of Citrus and disposed of as provided with respect to moneys derived from the taxes levied and imposed by subsection (3).

(b)  The Department of Citrus may collect any taxes levied and assessed by this chapter in any or all of the following methods:

1.  By the voluntary payment by the person liable therefor.

2.  By a suit at law.

3.  By a suit in equity to enjoin and restrain any handler, citrus fruit dealer, or other person owing such taxes from operating her or his business or engaging in business as a citrus fruit dealer until the delinquent taxes are paid. Such action may include an accounting to determine the amount of taxes plus delinquencies due. In any such proceeding, it is not necessary to allege or prove that an adequate remedy at law does not exist.

(10)  The powers and duties of the Department of Citrus include the following:

(a)  To adopt and from time to time alter, rescind, modify, and amend all proper and necessary rules, regulations, and orders for the exercise of its powers and the performance of its duties under this chapter.

(b)  To employ and at its pleasure discharge an advertising manager, agents, advertising agencies, and such clerical and other help as it deems necessary and to outline their powers and duties and fix their compensation.

(c)  To make in the name of the Department of Citrus such advertising contracts and other agreements as may be necessary.

(d)  To keep books, records, and accounts of all of its activities, which books, records, and accounts shall be open to inspection, audit, and examination by the Auditor General and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.

(e)  To purchase or authorize the purchase of all office equipment and supplies and to incur all other reasonable and necessary expenses and obligations in connection with and required for the proper carrying out of the provisions of this chapter.

(f)  To conduct, and pay out of the Florida Citrus Advertising Trust Fund, premium and prize promotions designed to increase the use of citrus in any form.

(g)  To advertise citrus cattle feed and promote its use.

(h)  To conduct marketing activities in foreign countries and other programs designed to develop and protect domestic and international markets.

History.--s. 15, ch. 25149, 1949; s. 10, ch. 26484, 1951; ss. 9-11, ch. 26492, 1951; s. 2, ch. 29737, 1955; ss. 3, 6, ch. 29757, 1955; ss. 1-3, ch. 57-31; ss. 1-4, ch. 57-49; ss. 1-3, ch. 59-5; s. 1, ch. 59-10; s. 5, ch. 59-20; s. 2, ch. 61-119; s. 1, ch. 61-297; s. 1, ch. 62-2; s. 1, ch. 63-78; s. 1, ch. 63-79; ss. 1, 2, ch. 63-320; ss. 1, 2, ch. 65-62; s. 1, ch. 65-69; s. 1, ch. 65-91; s. 1, ch. 67-103; s. 8, ch. 69-82; ss. 12, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 70-161; s. 621, ch. 71-136; ss. 5, 6, 22, ch. 71-186; s. 5, ch. 71-187; s. 1, ch. 76-98; s. 1, ch. 78-392; s. 1, ch. 80-7; s. 1, ch. 80-89; s. 1, ch. 82-29; s. 1, ch. 82-35; s. 1, ch. 83-233; s. 10, ch. 83-339; s. 1, ch. 84-81; s. 1, ch. 85-171; s. 2, ch. 87-44; s. 3, ch. 88-199; s. 97, ch. 90-201; s. 40, ch. 91-5; s. 10, ch. 92-4; s. 1, ch. 95-358; s. 356, ch. 96-406; s. 1192, ch. 97-103; s. 2, ch. 97-118; s. 124, ch. 2001-266; s. 743, ch. 2003-261; s. 53, ch. 2003-399; s. 21, ch. 2005-3; s. 10, ch. 2006-45; s. 10, ch. 2008-107.

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