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Driver License

LICENSE & REAL ID

Where can I get the latest information on the REAL ID requirements to obtain a Florida driver license or identification card?

  • Check out our Required documents page for a handy checklist
  • All identity documents must be the original government-issued item; no copies will be accepted.

 

What do I need to transfer my driver license or ID card from another state to Florida?

  • You will need to make an appointment at one of our offices
  • Be sure to bring your out-of-state driver license and all required documents
  • Applicants under the age of 18 must have signed parental consent. You must surrender any Florida and out-of-state driver licenses or ID cards.

 

Why have the license and ID card requirements changed to REAL ID?

  • The REAL ID Act of 2005 is a law passed by Congress that sets forth requirements for state driver licenses and ID cards that will be accepted by the federal government for “official purposes.”
    • The “official purposes” are boarding commercially operated airline flights, entering federal buildings, and entering protected areas such as nuclear facilities, airports, and other sensitive sites.
  • The REAL ID Act was passed in response to the 9/11 attacks. Florida was one of the first states to receive the Department of Homeland Security certification as a REAL ID State in 2013.

 

Where can I find additional information on the Real ID requirements?

 

I only have copies of my documents, not originals. What should I do?

  • You will need to request certified government-issued identification documents. If you need help determining how to get replacement documents, visit the CDC Vital Records Website.

 

My last name is different than what is on my primary identification document. What should I do?

  • You will need to provide proof of the name change
    • Original or certified name change documents for all name changes (marriage, divorce, adoption, legal name change, etc.) must be presented at the time of application (may require more than one and must show a continuous link from birth name to current legal name); church marriage documents are not acceptable
    • If you have not updated your current name with Social Security, you will need to do so before coming into one of our offices

 

How do I change my name on my Florida license or ID card?

  • First, you must legally change your name with a Social Security office. Then, schedule an appointment to come into one of our offices.
    • Make sure you bring:
      • Valid U.S. passport in current name – OR-
    • Original or certified name change documents for all name changes (marriage, divorce, adoption, legal name change, etc.)
    • You must be able to show a continuous link from birth name to current legal name
    • Church marriage documents are not acceptable

 

Can my child be issued a Florida ID card?

  • Children five years of age and older can obtain a Florida ID card.

 

I lost my driver license / ID card. How do I replace it?

  • Apply for a replacement online through MyDMV Portal
  • If your ID is not REAL ID compliant, you must make an appointment at one of our offices to obtain a REAL ID
  • You cannot change to a REAL ID online
  • Visit the required documents page for more info

Testing and Learner’s Permits

What is required to obtain a Florida learner’s permit?

  • One form of ID
  • Proof of social security
  • Two proofs of address
  • Be at least 15
  • Pass a vision test
  • Pass a knowledge exam
  • Complete a FLHSMV approved Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Course
  • Find more info on our Learner’s Permit page 

 

I am 18 years old and applying for my first driver license. What do I need to do?

  • Complete a FLHSMV approved Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Course
  • Pass the Vision and Class E General Knowledge tests (50 questions) at one of our offices to obtain a learner’s permit
  • Applicants who passed the road skills exam can be issued a regular operator’s license without delay
  • First-time applicants also must meet REAL ID requirements

 

 

My Class E Driver License is expired. Will I need to take any tests to renew?

  • All in-office renewals require a vision exam or bring in a completed FLHSMV Report of Eye Examination Form 72010
  • If your license is expired for 1 year or more, you will also be required to pass the Class E written examination

 

 

Can I take the written exam online?

 

How do I obtain a driver handbook for Florida?

 

 

Which offices offer driver license, road tests, or hazardous materials application services?

 

Suspensions

My driver license may be suspended. How can I find out without visiting an office?

  • You can check the status of your driver license online through MyDMV Portal

I received a letter asking for insurance information for my driver license. How do I update my insurance information?

 

I received a traffic citation. How can I keep the points off my Florida license?

  • You must contact the Clerk of Court in the county the citation was received in and arrange to attend a driving school prior to paying the citation
  • Only for citations received in FL
  • CDL drivers cannot attend driving school to avoid points on their license
  • Find more info online from the FL Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle’s website

 

 

I received a citation. How can I verify if I can attend a driver school to avoid points?

  • You can check this online using MyDMV Portal
  • This only applies to citations received in FL
  • CDL licensed drivers are not eligible

 

What courses are approved for driver improvement or DUI?

  • Find more info on the State’s website

Medical

How do I report someone who should no longer be driving?

  • Anyone can report a driver who may be unsafe to operate a motor vehicle because of a medical condition.
  • The report should be made in writing, giving the full name, date of birth, address, and a description of the alleged physical or mental disability that could affect the driving ability of any person over 15 years of age.
  • See more detailed information on the Medical Conditions & Driver Safety brochure provided by the FL Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
  • Form 72190 - Medical Referral Form -  may be used to report these concerns.
  • These reports are kept strictly confidential and shall be used only to determine the qualifications of the individual to operate a motor vehicle on Florida’s highways. No civil or criminal action may be brought against any physician, person, or agency for providing this information.

Military

I’m in the military stationed outside of Florida and my license/ID card is about to expire. How do I request an extension?

  • Military personnel and members of their immediate family residing with them (spouse, son, daughter, and stepchildren) may be granted an extension of their Class E license.
    • The military extension card is free of charge and will be a photo ID that you carry with your Florida license and Military ID
    • Find the extension application online
    • A Commercial Driver License (CDL) may not be extended. A CDL must be renewed in person
    • Military extension cards may not be accepted in some countries when serving overseas

 

I’m in the military stationed outside of Florida and my license/ID card was stolen/lost/destroyed. How do I get it replaced?

  • You can apply for a replacement license or ID card online if your citizenship has been established on your driving record

 

How do I get the VETERAN designation on my Florida License or Identification Card?

  • You will need to present your DD-214, which shows the honorable discharge from active duty
    • A Retired Military ID Card or a Veteran’s Affairs ID Card can be used in place of the DD-214
  • For original issuance and renewals, the designation is added at no additional cost (license fees apply)
  • For a replacement where we only add the designation and there are no other changes, all fees are waived
  • For a replacement where the previous license is lost or other changes are made, replacement license fees apply
  • Veterans who need to obtain a copy of their DD-214 may request it through the National Archives

 

I am a member of the armed forces and a Florida resident. How can I obtain a commercial driver license (CDL)?

  • Military members with a military equivalent CDL must pass all required written exams for the license class for which they are applying
  • Once the written exams are passed, the applicant can use a driving skills waiver signed by his/her military command to waive the driving exams

 

Commercial Driver Licenses

How do I apply for a commercial driver license (CDL)?

  • A CDL is a professional license that will require additional testing far beyond that of a regular license
  • Requirements for Real ID apply to all CDL applicants.
  • Visit the State (FLHSMV) site for more info on CDL requirements

 

My commercial driver license is expired. Will I need to take any tests to renew?

  • All in-office renewals require a vision exam or bring in a completed Report of Eye Examination - Form 72010
  • If your CDL is expired 1 year or more, you will also be required to pass the Class E written exam, any required knowledge CDL exams, and all applicable CDL skills tests

 

What are the residency requirements for a commercial driver license (CDL)?

  • Federal regulations require drivers to obtain a CDL license in their home state. This includes members of the armed forces.
  • Proof of Florida residency is required for all original applications.

 

 

I am a member of the armed forces and a Florida resident. How can I obtain a commercial driver license (CDL)?

  • Military members with a military equivalent CDL must pass all required written exams for the license class for which they are applying
  • Once the written exams are passed, the applicant can use a driving skills waiver signed by his/her military command to waive the driving exams

Does Florida require a valid medical card for CDL licensed drivers?

  • Yes, unless they are exempt
  • Find more info about CDL medicals from the FLHSMV (Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles)

 

I have passed the written commercial driver license exams. How do I contact a third-party tester for the driving exams?

  • Find FL State authorized testing sites online

 

 

How do I renew my Florida commercial driver license (CDL) with a hazardous materials endorsement?

  • In addition to all other CDL requirements, you must pass the hazardous materials written exam, submit a background check application, and be fingerprinted.
  • Find more info on the FLHSMV’s website

 

I have a Florida commercial driver license (CDL) with a hazardous materials endorsement. Will I still be allowed to carry hazardous materials while my renewal application is being processed?

  • Drivers renewing with at least one day left on their current CDL will receive a 90-day permit for hazardous materials. Once your background check is approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), you will receive a new CDL with the “H” endorsement via mail.

 

I am applying for a hazardous materials endorsement on my Florida CDL. When will I be able to haul hazardous materials?

  • The background check and fingerprint application can take up to 90 days to complete.
  • You will not be authorized to haul hazardous materials until your background check and fingerprint application have been approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the new license with the “H” endorsement is in your possession.

 

How long is a Florida CDL with hazardous materials endorsement valid?

  • Four years

 

I have to renew my Florida CDL in 15 months. If I add the hazardous materials endorsement now, will I have to pass the written exam, background check, and fingerprint application again when I renew?

  • The hazardous materials written exam, background check, and fingerprint application are required during every renewal.

 

How far in advance can I renew my Florida CDL with hazardous materials endorsement?

  • Up to 12 months in advance
  • To avoid possible loss of eligibility to haul hazardous materials while waiting for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to approve your background check, you are encouraged to make your application at least 30 days prior to the expiration of your license

Vehicle & Vessel

Vessels

Do I need a Florida registration for my vessel? 

  • All vessels operated on Florida waters must have a registration officially assigned to them and be displayed on the vessel.
  • The purchaser of a vessel has 30 days in which to apply for registration and title. During this 30-day grace period, the owner is required to have aboard the vessel a bill of sale with proof of the date of purchase.

 

How do I register my vessel? How much does it cost? 

  • Present acceptable proof of ownership (Certificate of Title, Bill of Sale) to the tax collector’s office.
  • The total cost of registration is determined by hull length of the vessel, use, whether a Certificate of Title must be created, and other factors. Visit our Vessels Fee page for more info.

 

How many days does a new owner have to register a vessel? 

  • The purchaser of a vessel has 30 days in which to apply for registration and title. During this 30-day grace period, the owner is required to have aboard the vessel a bill of sale with proof of the date of purchase. 

 

I will be on vacation in Florida this summer. Do I need to register my vessel there? 

  • Florida recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting boaters for a period of 90 days. An owner who intends to use a vessel in Florida longer than 90 days, must register it. However, the out-of-state registration number may be retained if the owner plans to return to his home state within a reasonable time. 

 

Is a non-motor-powered vessel required to be registered and titled? 

  • If your vessel is non-motor-powered AND less than 16 feet in length it does not need to be titled or registered.
  • Non-motor-powered canoes, kayaks, or racing shells/sculls regardless of length do not need to be titled or registered.

 

Who should I contact about safety equipment requirements for vessels? 

  • Information about safety equipment requirements can be obtained on the Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC)

 

Why do I need a certificate of title for my vessel? 

  • A certificate of title is the officially recognized proof of ownership. Ownership must be documented on a Florida Certificate of Title before a vessel may be registered in Florida.

 

Are Military Personnel exempt from registering their vessels in Florida? 

  • Out-of-state registration certificates and numbers for vessels owned by military personnel on active duty in Florida are valid in Florida until their expiration date. Then they must be registered and titled in Florida to be operated on state waters. 

Registration & License Plates

Do I have to turn my license plate in if I cancel my Insurance? 

  • Yes, if you cancel your insurance on your vehicle and it has a current registration. Turn in your license plate to prevent your driver license from being suspended. Find more info about surrendering a plate.

Do I pay the extra fee every year on my specialty plate? 

  • Each of the specialty license plates requires an annual use fee for the special designed plate. The purpose of specialty license plates is to raise funds for a particular cause.

 

How do I get a personalized plate? 

  • Personalized license plates may be ordered at any tax collector office. Simply schedule an appointment with us to begin the process.

 

How early can an individual renew their Florida registration? 

  • Florida registrations can be renewed up to 3 months in advance of the expiration date. 

 

I did not receive a renewal notice in the mail. How can I renew my plate? 

  • Even if you do not receive a renewal notice, you are still responsible for renewing your registration on time. Renewal notices are sent as a courtesy and failing to receive one will not entitle you to any late fees being waived. 
  • Skip the trip to an office! Easily renew online or use one of our self-service kiosks.

 

I moved to Pinellas from another county. Does it matter that my license plate has a different county listed at the bottom? 

  • No, the county that appears at the bottom of your license plate indicates the county in which the license plate was issued, not the county of residence. You are not required to replace the license plate.

 

Someone has stolen my plate or decal, what do I do? 

 

What are the insurance requirements for Florida? 

  • Proof of insurance is legally required in order to have a registered vehicle in Florida. The insurance must be issued by a Florida agent with an insurance company licensed to do business in Florida.
  • The law also requires $ 10,000 Personal Injury Protection and $10,000 Personal Damage Liability be carried. 

 

When will I be charged a late fee on my renewal? 

  • The delinquent registration fee is imposed on the 11th day of the month following the renewal month. Example: If a registration expires in February, a delinquent fee will be assessed beginning March 11th.
  • Please remember that although the late fee will not be assessed until this date, for law enforcement purposes, the registration is expired, and you could be issued a citation. 

 

When will I be issued a new plate? 

  • Florida plates will be replaced automatically at no additional charge after 10 years to ensure visibility for law enforcement purposes. However, you can replace your plate at any time for an additional fee.

 

Why do all my other vehicles expire on my birthday, but my truck registration expires in December? 

  • Florida law requires all trucks with an empty weight over 5,000 pounds AND a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 8,000 or more to expire in December. The GVW is the empty weight of the vehicle, plus anything that is carried inside of the vehicle (including any passengers).
  • The registered owner is required to declare the GVW and registration fees are determined by what the GVW is set at. If the GVW is set below 8,000 pounds, the registration will expire on the registered owner’s birthday. If the GVW is set above 8,000 pounds, the registration will expire on December 31st. 

Titles

Am I supposed to wait and complete everything on the title transfer at your office? 

No, the title should be completed before you arrive, or you will be required to obtain a bill of sale. Make sure the following are complete: 

  • Odometer reading and date read
    • Required for vehicles model year 2011 or newer
  • Selling price (write gift if applicable) 
  • Date sold 
  • Signature and printed name of purchaser(s) or receiver of gift
  • Signature and printed name of seller(s) or person giving vehicle 
  • All applicants (purchasers or giftees) must be present with government issued photo ID and proof of Florida insurance

 

Do I pay sales tax on a gift? 

No, sales tax is not applicable on a gift; however, a bill of sale or an affidavit with the full description of the vehicle (including vehicle identification number, title number, make, model, year, etc.) should be completed by both parties to verify this information for the Department of Revenue. 

 

I am titling and registering my vehicle in joint ownership, do both owners need to be present to register and title the vehicle? 

If you are applying for title in two names, each applicant, or their appointed power of attorney with an original power of attorney form must be present to sign the application for Florida title. 

 

If I just moved to Florida, when must I obtain my Florida registration and license plate? 

In the State of Florida, a motor vehicle is required by law to be registered within ten days of the owner either becoming employed, placing children in public school, or establishing residency. 

 

What is an electronic title? 

  • An electronic title or e-title is proof of ownership for motor vehicle, motorcycle, mobile home, or vessel titles held in an electronic form. This electronic status gives you the same proof of ownership as a paper title. By maintaining the title electronically, the owner eliminates the possibility of losing the title and protects it from theft. 

 

What is the cost for titling and registering my vehicle the first time? 

  • This is dependent on several factors. Visit our title fees page for more info.

 

What should I bring when I come in to transfer an out-of-state title? 

  • If you are new to Florida, please visit our New FL Resident page for full details
  • All applicants must be present with a valid photo ID
  • Vehicle must be present so we may complete a VIN verification OR
  • Proof of Florida insurance
  • Valid out-of-state title 
    • If a bank/lien holder has the title:
      • Valid out-of-state registration (cannot be more than 180 days expired) and the lien holder’s information, including the lien holder’s name, address, fax number, and your account number.
    • For a leased vehicle, you need to bring the lease agreement and registration
  • If the vehicle is owned less than six months:
    • Proof of purchase price in the form of an invoice or bill of sale showing the amount of sales tax paid.

 

Why do I have to pay a $225 initial registration fee? 

  • Florida law requires a $225 initial registration fee be collected when the owner does not have a license plate to transfer to a newly acquired vehicle unless exempt.
  • If you have a plate to transfer or meet other initial registration fee exemption requirements, you must complete an initial registration fee exemption affidavit

Military Service Members

Are non-resident service members who are stationed in Florida exempt from the initial registration fee? 

 

How can I sell my vehicle or make any changes to my motor vehicle records if I’m out of the state/country?

  • You can give a general or a limited power of attorney to a family member or a trusted friend to handle your motor vehicle needs and registration. You must complete & sign a limited Power of Attorney form (HSMV 82053)

 

How do I purchase a military license plate? 

  • All military license plates, except Medal of Honor, are available in our offices by appointment.

 

 

I’m going to be deployed when my registration expires, how soon can I renew it? 

  • You can renew up to three months prior to your birth month. You can also choose the biennial (2-year) option when you renew. 

 

I’m stationed in Florida, but I’m a resident of another state. Do I have to register my vehicle here? 

  • Non-resident service members are not required to register their vehicles in Florida. Check with your state of residence for other requirements. 

 

Is there a package of forms for active-duty military members to assist them with titling and registering their vehicles? 

New Florida Residents

If I just moved to Florida, when must I obtain my Florida registration and license plate? 

  • In the State of Florida, a motor vehicle is required by law to be registered within ten days of the owner either becoming employed, placing children in public school, or establishing residency. 

 

What are the insurance requirements in Florida? 

  • Florida law requires insurance must be issued by a Florida agent with an insurance company licensed to do business in Florida. The law also requires $10,000 Personal Injury Protection and $10,000 Personal Damage Liability to be carried if you have a valid Florida license plate. 

 

What is the cost for titling and registering my vehicle in Florida for the first time? 

  • The estimated cost to register and title a vehicle for the first time is $420.00, plus any sales tax due.

 

What should I bring when I come in to transfer an out-of-state title?

  • To complete an out-of-state title transfer, you will need the following: 
    • Proof of Florida insurance(must state it is a Florida Policy)  
      • The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) does not require proof of insurance for:  
        • Motorcycles  
        • Trailers  
        • Boats  
        • Mobile Homes  
        • Off-Highway Vehicles  
    • Valid ID for all vehicle owners. Examples include: 
      • State issued driver license / ID card (includes US Territories)  
      • Passport from any country  
      • Canadian driver license / ID card  
    • VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) Verification 
      • Either bring your vehicle for verification or
      • Bring in Form HSMV 82042, VIN Verification Form, filled out by a notary or other approved person as outlined on the form
    • Title
      • If you do not have the title, you will need to provide one of the following: 
      • Out of state registration or renewal notice (can be up to six months after expiration) 
      • Verification from the Department of Motor Vehicles
      • A copy of the out of state title 
      • A letter/fax from the lienholder  

 

 

Why do I have to pay a $225 initial registration fee?

  • Florida law requires a $225 initial registration fee be collected when the owner does not have a license plate to transfer to a newly acquired vehicle unless exempt.
  • If you have a plate to transfer that is already exempt or was on a vehicle that the initial registration fee was paid for previously, you will be exempt from paying the $225 Initial Registration Fee. Certain exemptions will apply.
  • To see if you meet other initial registration fee exemption requirements, please see the Initial Registration Fee Exemption Affidavit

Parking Permits

How do I get a disabled parking permit? 

You will need an Application for Disabled Person Parking Permit completed by a licensed physician, physician assistant, advanced registered nurse practitioner, osteopath, podiatrist, chiropractor, or optometrist dated within the last 12 months.

Skip the trip to an office! Mail your completed application to: 

Charles Thomas Pinellas County Tax Collector 

P.O. Box 6288 

Clearwater, Fl. 33758 

 

How do I renew my permanent disabled parking permit? 

You must provide an Application for Disabled Person Parking Permit completed by a licensed physician, physician assistant, advanced registered nurse practitioner, osteopath, podiatrist, chiropractor, or optometrist dated within the last 12 months.

Skip the trip to an office! Mail your completed application to: 

Charles Thomas Pinellas County Tax Collector 

P.O. Box 6288 

Clearwater, Fl. 33758 

 

What do I do if my parking permit was lost or stolen? 

 

Why is a temporary disabled parking placard good for only 6 months when my Doctor has certified me for a year? 

  • Florida law requires a temporary disabled parking permit be issued to any person who has a temporary mobility impairment not to exceed 6 months.
  • One additional parking permit may be issued at no additional fee after the first 6-month permit expires.
    • An Application for Disabled Person Parking Permit must be completed and the disability must be certified by a licensed physician, physician assistant, advanced registered nurse practitioner, osteopath, podiatrist, chiropractor, or optometrist. 

Mobile Homes

Do mobile homes have a title like a car? 

  • Florida is a titling state; therefore, all mobile homes have a title.
  • Each unit of a mobile home must have its own title – for example, a triple-wide is considered three units and would have three titles.

 

I own the land on which my mobile/manufactured home is parked. Do I have to purchase a registration for my mobile/manufactured home each year? 

  • Mobile/manufactured homes located on your property may qualify to be taxed as real property.
    • Contact the Property Appraiser’s office at (727) 464-3207 for an application for a real property decal.
    • Then, submit the completed application and mobile home title or registration to the tax collector’s office for the issuance of a real property decal.
    • Real property decals do not have to be renewed annually as the mobile home & property will be assessed on your annual property tax notice.

 

If I pay delinquent taxes, does that entitle me to take ownership of the mobile home? 

  • If the mobile home has been abandoned, only the park can apply for the title. There are only limited circumstances that would allow an individual to take title to the mobile home. 

 

There is a current registration decal on the mobile home I am purchasing. Do I need to buy a new one? 

  • Decals are not transferable from owner to owner. Each new owner must purchase their own decal(s).  
    • Exception: If the decal is a black “real property” decal, it will be transferred with the purchase of the mobile home. 

 

Why do I get multiple bills on my mobile home every year? 

  • Florida law requires a current registration and decal for each section of a double-wide or triple-wide mobile home.

Kiosks

How does the kiosk work?  

  • They’re easy! Just use the touchscreen to enter in your license plate number and the first registered owner’s date of birth, or PIN from your registration renewal notice.
  • Follow the directions to review your vehicle information and pay for your new decal.
  • The kiosk will print your receipt and registration immediately. Then take your document(s) and go!  

 

What forms of payment are accepted?  

  • Credit and debit cards are accepted at the kiosk – AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa accepted.
  • Only one form of  payment is allowed per transaction. 

 

Is there a fee to use the kiosk?  

  • There is a 2.3% fee to pay by credit or debit card in addition to your renewal cost.  

When can I use a kiosk to renew?  

  • You can renew at a kiosk up to three months early.  A late fee may be added if your registration has expired.  

 

What types of license plates can be renewed at a kiosk?  

  • A kiosk can be used to renew personal automobiles, pickup trucks, motorcycles, utility trailers, and camper trailers. 
  • It will NOT renew a mobile home or vessel/boat.
  • Vehicle registrations that don’t have insurance, driver license, or toll suspensions are not eligible for kiosk renewals.
  • You cannot renew using the kiosk if your license plate is being replaced.  

 

What do I do if proof of auto insurance is needed?  

  • You will not be able to renew at the kiosk if proof of auto insurance is needed.
  • Please wait 2-4 days after updating your auto insurance before attempting to renew at the kiosk. This allows time for the statewide vehicle registration to received updated information from your insurance provider. The kiosk is unable to accept paper proof. 
  • Check your renewal notice to see if proof of insurance is needed.  You may have to bring your proof of insurance to one of our offices if so. Please keep in mind, an appointment is required.  

 

Can the kiosk process other transactions?  

  • No, the kiosk will only process a registration renewal. It cannot provide replacements or change the name or address on your motor vehicle registration. Please make an appointment for these services.  

 

Who do I contact with questions about my renewal transaction through the kiosk?  

  • Please call the kiosk vendor, ITI Solutions, at 866-955-5258.  

 

Who do I contact with questions relating to my motor vehicle registration that is not able to be renewed at a kiosk?  

 

Do I have to be a Pinellas County resident to use these kiosks?  

  • No, the kiosks are open to all Florida residents! 

Property & Tourist Development Tax

General Questions

When are tax bills mailed?

  • The last business day of October every year.
  • Taxes can be paid from Nov. 1 through March 31.
  • They become delinquent on April 1, at which time interest and other applicable costs are added to the gross tax amount.

 

How do I sign up to receive my tax bill by email?

  • You can do that online!
  • When you sign up, you have the option of receiving only an email bill or receiving both a mailed bill and an email bill.
  • If you do not sign up for emailed billing, you will continue to receive your bill by regular mail.

 

How do I change my mailing address for my tax bill?

  • This is handled by the property appraiser’s office, not the tax collector’s office.
  • Please visit the Property Appraiser’s website or call them at 727-464-3207.

 

Why aren’t all property owners listed on the bill?

 

My mortgage company pays my taxes. Why did I receive a bill?

  • If your taxes are escrowed, they should be included in your mortgage payments and your mortgage company would pay them in November. Check your bill to see if it indicates that it is an informational notice and it was also sent to the mortgage company to be paid.
  • If you received the actual tax bill, then the mortgage company/escrow agent did not request the bill for payment.
    • Check with your mortgage company/escrow agent to ensure they received a copy of the tax bill and that they will be paying the bill.
    • You can send a copy of your tax bill to the mortgage company/escrow agent, or they can print a duplicate bill from our website.

 

What does “Prior Year Taxes Due” mean?

  • There are delinquent taxes on the property.
  • Delinquent taxes continue to accrue interest each month until paid.

I have declared bankruptcy. Am I responsible for my property taxes?

  • Consult your bankruptcy attorney for advice on your situation.
  • In many cases, if you still own the property and do not surrender it to the trustee or the court, you remain responsible for the taxes. 

Delinquent Taxes

How can I pay my delinquent taxes?

  • Cash, cashier’s check, money order, credit card, or wire transfer made payable to Pinellas County Tax Collector.
  • Personal checks are not accepted.

 

Can I make payment arrangements?

  • Florida law prohibits partial payments of delinquent real estate taxes.

 

Do you honor the postmark for delinquent taxes?

  • The law mandates that delinquent real estate tax payments must be received in our office by the last working day of the month for which interest is being paid.

Installment Payment Plan

What are the qualifications for the installment payment plan?

  • Florida Law requires that your estimated taxes be more than $100 per tax notice to participate in the installment payment plan.

 

How do I get on the installment payment plan?

  • Installment payment plan applications for 2022 property taxes are closed. Applications for 2023 will be accepted from November 1, 2022, through April 30, 2023.

 

I’m on the installment payment plan. Do I have to reapply every year?

  • After submission of an initial application, additional annual applications are not required, as long as the first quarterly payment is made each year.

 

How can I obtain an application?

  • Installment payment plan applications for 2022 property taxes are closed. Applications for 2023 will be accepted from November 1, 2022, through April 30, 2023.

Tangible Personal Property Taxes

What happens when tangible taxes are not paid?

  • Beginning April 1, unpaid accounts accrue interest at 1.5 % a month, plus additional costs.
  • According to Florida law, the names of people or businesses with unpaid tangible personal property taxes are advertised in the newspaper. The cost of advertising is added to the delinquent tax bill.
  • A written lien (also called a warrant) is then issued on all unpaid accounts, and a certified notice is sent to the owner named on the tax roll. 
  • If taxes are still not paid, the tax collector must petition the Circuit Court to have a judge “confirm” the warrant that authorizes the tax collector to seize and sell the personal property to pay the taxes. The court costs are added to the delinquent tax bill, along with a delinquent collection fee of 15%.
  • If the property cannot be located or is sold for less than the amount due, all other personal property of the taxpayer is subject to seizure and sale.

 

Who is responsible for the tax if the property is bought or sold?

  • The tangible personal property tax bill is issued to the owner of the property as of January 1 of the tax year assessed. The owner is responsible for the tax bill for that year
  • Any proration of the taxes must be handled between the buyer and seller.
  • Even though the warrant is issued in the owner’s name, it is important to note that the “lien” attaches to the tangible property.
  • If taxes remain unpaid, this lien survives the sale or transfer of the property. Therefore, it is very important to verify that tangible taxes are paid prior to the purchase of a business or rental property.

Tax Certificate Sale

What are tax certificates?

  • Interest-bearing first liens representing unpaid delinquent real estate property taxes that are offered for sale by the tax collector.
  • Tax certificates are not recorded liens nor are they reported to any credit bureaus. They are a priority lien.
  • A tax certificate sale is a public auction for investors to earn interest on paying other people’s property taxes.
    • A certificate is auctioned off to the bidder who is willing to accept the lowest interest rate.

 

How can a tax certificate be sold on my property?

  • Florida law requires that the tax collector sell tax certificates on properties with unpaid taxes on or before June 1.
  • A tax certificate sale is a public auction for investors to earn interest on paying other people’s property taxes.
    • A certificate is auctioned off to the bidder who is willing to accept the lowest interest rate.
    • If there are no bids on a particular certificate, it is “struck off” to the county at 18%, the highest interest rate allowed by Florida law.

 

If I buy a certificate, can I pay the taxes and own the property?

  • You have not purchased property. A tax certificate is an investment.
    • This investment does not convey any property rights or ownership to the certificate holder.
    • A certificate holder is an investor and the purpose of purchasing certificates is to earn interest on your investment, not buy the property.

 

Who can participate in the tax certificate sale?

  • To participate in the sale, a bidder must register with the tax Collector’s office via lienhub.com.
  • A bidder number is assigned for identification purposes during the sale.
    • Bidders are required to make a deposit via Automated Clearing House (ACH) debit on lienhub.com.
    • Registered bidders must provide their federal taxpayer identification number or Social Security number.
    • Only one bidder per taxpayer ID/Social Security number will be allowed to register.
    • All interest earned will be reported to the IRS on form 1099-int.

 

What is the life of a tax certificate?

  • Certificates are null and void seven years from the date of issuance, and they continue to accrue interest until they are redeemed.
  • If the certificate has not been redeemed after two years, the certificate holder may apply for a tax deed sale to have the property sold at auction.

Tax Deed Sales

What is a tax deed application?

  • The first step in the process of bringing a property to sale at a public auction due to unpaid delinquent real estate taxes.

Who/When can I initiate a tax deed application?

  • Certificate holders can initiate the tax deed application after two years from April 1 of the year the tax certificate was issued, as required by Florida law.

 

I have allowed the two-year redemption period. How do I initiate a tax deed application?

  • Please log on to LienHub to obtain an estimate and initiate tax deed on your eligible certificates.

 

What is a warning letter?

  • This is a courtesy letter our office mails to the property owner.
  • These letters are mailed every February to taxpayers that are in jeopardy of their property going to tax deed sale.
  • The warning letter gives a deadline of the last business day in March. Once that deadline passes and taxes remain unpaid, the certificate holder may go forward with the tax deed application.

 

I have received a warning letter. Can the date be extended?

  • Once the deadline in the letter passes, the certificate holder may start the tax deed process anytime.
  • Once tax deed begins, all outstanding taxes are rolled into one amount, plus any accrued interest, cost, and charges. This combination will become the new amount due.

 

A tax deed has started on my property. Can I stop it by making payments?

  • No, once the tax deed action has started, all outstanding taxes at the time of application are rolled into one amount due.
  • This must be paid in full, along with any accrued interest, cost, and charges to stop the tax deed action.

 

I am not the current owner of the property, but if I pay the required tax amount before the auction, does that give me ownership?

  • Paying the required amount – also known as redeeming the tax deed – satisfies the lien and allows the current owner to retain ownership.
  • If you are interested in owning the property, you need to contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court about becoming a bidder in the auction.

 

What are the accepted forms of payment to redeem a tax deed?

  • Payment must be made in cash, wire transfer, or certified funds, payable to Charles W. Thomas, Pinellas County Tax Collector.
  • If you wish to make a payment by wire transfer, please follow these instructions. If you have questions or need assistance with your wire transfer, please email deedsupport@taxcollect.com.
  • We do not accept personal checks or credit cards for tax deed payments.

 

My property is in tax deed, and I just filed for bankruptcy, what do I need to do?

  • Please contact us immediately at 727-464-3409 or deedsupport@taxcollect.com for guidance. If you have a case number, please provide us with that information.

 

My property is in tax deed. What is the latest date I can pay to stop the sale from taking place?

  • To stop the sale, payment can be made in full any time before the sale. Payment must be made with cash or certified funds made payable to Charles W. Thomas, Pinellas County Tax Collector.

Bankruptcy

What is a bankruptcy discharge?

  • It releases you from personal liability for discharged debts. Thus, it prevents the creditors owed those debts from taking any action against you to collect the debts.
  • Most, but not all, types of debts are discharged if they existed on the date the bankruptcy case was filed and were listed on the schedules.
  • Bankruptcy law regarding the scope of a discharge is complex, and you should consult competent legal counsel prior to filing.

 

Does a discharge in bankruptcy discharge my real estate or tangible personal property taxes?

  • Your bankruptcy is personal to you while the lien for real property and tangible personal property taxes is a “first and superior lien” on the property assessed (a secured debt collateralized by property).
  • If your homestead under the bankruptcy code is claimed as exempt, then you will still be responsible for the taxes plus accrued interest and if the property becomes part of the bankruptcy estate, then the tax collector will look to the trustee or the debtor’s plan for payment of taxes.
  • If the trustee abandons the property, then the tax collector will look to the property itself to satisfy the outstanding taxes in accordance with state statutes.

 

Can my homestead be sold for back taxes while my bankruptcy case is pending?

  • No, provided that the property was listed on your schedule at the time of the bankruptcy filing.
  • The automatic stay provisions of the bankruptcy code prevent any actions to collect taxes during the bankruptcy proceedings. However, interest on the unpaid taxes will continue to accrue during the bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Once a discharge is entered on real property claimed as homestead the taxes will become due and payable and state law applies.

 

My Chapter 13 plan is supposed to cover my taxes. How is the tax collector paid?

  • The Court Order confirming your Chapter 13 plan will indicate if the tax collector is to be paid for outstanding real or tangible personal property taxes.
  • If the tax collector’s claim is covered by your confirmation order, then the tax collector should be receiving payment from the Chapter 13 Trustee in accordance with the court order.
  • You should check with your bankruptcy attorney to ascertain whether real and/or tangible personal property taxes are covered by your Chapter 13 plan.

 

Does filing of a bankruptcy petition stop a tax deed auction that has been scheduled for delinquent real property taxes?

  • Yes, provided that the property was listed on your schedule at the time of your bankruptcy filing and the tax collector’s office has been noticed by the court, your attorney, or yourself with the bankruptcy case number.
  • The filing of a bankruptcy petition invokes the automatic stay prescribed by the bankruptcy code and no collection or enforcement efforts can continue from the time of filing until the automatic stay is lifted or discharge or dismissal of the bankruptcy proceedings.

Millage Rates

What are millage rates?

  • A Florida Homeowner's Guide: Millage
  • The amount per $1,000 used to calculate property taxes
  • Millage rates are set by the Board of County Commissioners, School Board, cities in Pinellas County, and other taxing authorities
  • The tax collector’s office does not set millage rates
  • View past years’ millage rates below:
  •  

Tourist Development

What is the tourist development (TD) tax?

  • A 6% tax charged on the total rental amount from any person who rents, leases, or lets any living quarter or sleeping or housekeeping accommodation.
  • These taxes are regulated by State Law (Florida Statute 125.0104).
  • In Pinellas County, the Board of County Commissioners determines the distribution of revenue from the tourist development tax.
  • One of the primary recipients of the revenue is the  St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, which works to promote and advertise tourism for Pinellas County.

 

Are there any other taxes and/or fees?

 

Who is required to pay?

  • Any renter staying for a period of six months or less in Pinellas County.

 

How do I sign up?

 

How often do I have to file a return?

  • You can file on a monthly or quarterly basis.
    • Monthly filing is useful for rentals available throughout the year
    • For monthly rentals, tax returns are required each month
    • Quarterly filing requires tax returns four times a year, however, the total of each quarter cannot exceed $300
    • Even if you have zero rentals for a month or quarter, a zero-tax return must be submitted to avoid a late charge

 

What is a collection allowance?

  • Owners who file their tax return in a timely manner and pay online are entitled to keep 2.5% of the tax collected (maximum of $30) as compensation.
  • If you would like to file and pay online, please contact us at 727-464-5007 or touristtax@taxcollect.com.

 

Are any renters exempt from the tax?

  • Anyone who is exempt from paying sales tax will also be exempt from paying tourist development tax.
  • Visit our exemptions page for a full list of exemptions <<link to page>>
  • Please contact 727-464-5007 or touristtax@taxcollect.com for more details.

 

 

What if I have a long-term renter – do I still have to pay?

  • Renters who have signed a bona fide written lease for over six months are exempt.
  • Renters who have paid the tourist development tax for the first six months (without a lease) will become exempt on the seventh month and remain exempt if they continue to reside at the same place.

 

If I rent to a resident of Florida or to a Pinellas County resident, do I have to collect the tourist development tax?

  • Yes – this tax is applicable to all guests who rent accommodations for six months or less, whether they are Florida or Pinellas residents or not.

 

I allow friends and relatives to use my property during the year. Am I required to collect the tourist development tax from them?

  • If you collect rent or accept any other form of compensation in place of rent, you are required to register with our office and collect and turn over the tax.

 

 

A rental agent always handles my rental property. Do I still need to apply for an account and submit monthly tax returns?

  • The rental agent should have an account to report and remit the taxes. However, as the property owner, you are ultimately responsible for the required tax to be in paid if the rental agent fails to do so.

 

 

If I use a rental agent but also rent periodically on my own, do I need my own account – or can I give the taxes to my rental agent?

  • No – you cannot give the taxes you collected to a third party. If you are collecting taxes, you must have a registered account of your own.

 

 

How do I close an account or update account info?

  • All account request must be made in writing and submitted to our office:
    • By mail:
      • Charles W. Thomas, CFC
        Pinellas County Tax Collector
        P.O. Box 6440
        Clearwater, FL 33758-6440
    • By fax:
      • 727-453-3193
    • By email: 

 

When is a Power of Attorney necessary?

  • A signed Power of Attorney form is necessary if you would like our offices to discuss your account with someone who is not an owner, officer, or partner (like an accountant, attorney, or bookkeeper).

 

Do I have to file a tax return even if I don’t owe any tax?

  • Yes – Florida law requires a tax return to be filed based on the collection period, regardless of amount due.
  • Remember – a late tax return is subject to a $50 minimum penalty – even if there is no tax due.

 

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

  • Penalties can become costly if the taxes are not remitted properly and on time
  • If the tax return is delinquent, the following penalties apply:
    • A flat 10% penalty or $50 minimum penalty due on the total tax collected each month
    • A floating rate of interest is added for each day of delinquency
    • Charges for returned checks range from $25 - $50, depending on the amount of the check

 

What are the penalties for not collecting and remitting the tax as required?

  • Penalties may include and are not limited to a warrant being issued and filed – creating a lien against the owner’s real and/or personal property in Pinellas County.

Concealed Weapons License

Are there discounts for active or retired Florida law enforcement employees? 

 

Can I change my address on my concealed weapons license at your office? 

  • No, you will need to contact the FDACS (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) directly to notify them of your change of address.

 

Can I get a duplicate of my concealed weapons license at your office? 

 

Can I renew my concealed weapon license at your office? 

  • Yes, schedule an appointment to renew your CWL license with us.
    • You may renew up to 95 days prior to your expiration or up to 180 days after your expiration with a $15.00 late fee.
  • A concealed weapons license that has been expired more than 180 days cannot be renewed; an application for a new license must be made.  

 

Can I use an expired passport or picture ID to apply for a concealed weapons license? 

  • No, documents must be valid at the time of your application. 

 

Can I use my fingerprint card when I visit your office to apply for a concealed weapons license? 

  • No, fingerprint cards may only be used when applying by mail. 

 

When I come into an office for my appointment, can I bring my own passport photo to use for my concealed weapons license?

  • No, passport photos may only be used when applying by mail. We will take your photo at during your appointment.  

 

How does the concealed weapons license renewal process work at your office? 

  • First, make sure you bring the required documents:
    • Concealed weapon license number or renewal notice
    • State-issued photo ID (must have date of birth and full name)
    • If applicable – any legal name change documentation (however, we cannot print the renewal in office if you have a name change – your renewal will be sent by mail)
  • Next, we help you with the application, take your photo, and submit everything to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for electronic approval
  • If there are no issues name changes needed, you walk out of our office with your renewal card!

 

How long will it take for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) to process my concealed weapon license application? 

  • By Law, FDACS has 90 days from the date your application is submitted to process it. 
  • You can check the status of your completed application by calling (850) 245-5691 and selecting option 1 or check the status online

 

How long will it take to complete the concealed weapons license application process? 

  • The entire process should be completed in an hour or less. 

 

Is my personal information protected and exempt from public record if I apply for a concealed weapons license in person at your office? 

  • Due to Florida laws, all personal identifying information of applicants and licensees will continue to be confidential and exempt from disclosure as public records. 

 

Is your office responsible for determining who is eligible to receive a concealed weapon license? 

  • No, our office acts as agents for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and we are not responsible for determining eligibility. Visit the FDACS website for more info on eligibility requirements.

 

How does the in-office concealed weapons application work?

  • A representative will confirm your appointment and direct you to a computer station where you will complete an online application form – you do not need to complete this form in advance
  • Once completed we will assist in scanning your training documents, take your photograph, and electronically scan your fingerprints. 
  • Then, we submit your application to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for review. If there are no issues, your original license will be sent via mail or a renewal will be issued in office that day.

Hunting & Fishing License

Can I obtain a Lifetime or 5-Year License hunting and fishing license? 

  • Yes, only Florida Residents are eligible for these licenses. They can be purchased online by visiting myfwc.com or by visiting our office by appointment

 

I need to renew my fishing license. Where do I go? 

 

 

I would like to go fishing and have never been before, what do I need to do? 

  • Florida residents and visitors need a Florida freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing license unless they are a member of an exempt group. 
  • A fishing license is required to attempt to take fish.
    • If you cast your line, catch nothing, catch and release, or catch and keep and you are not a member of one the exempted groups, you need a license.
  • A saltwater fishing license is also required to attempt to take any native or nonnative marine organisms, such as crabs, lobsters, and marine plants.
  • Licenses and permits are required to help or assist in the take.
    • Someone who is passively participating (baiting hooks), whether actively fishing or not, must have a license.
  • For more info, visit the FWC online.

 

If I am a Florida resident and 65 years or older, am I required to obtain a Fishing license? 

  • No – residents 65 and older are exempt from a fishing license as long as they have an ID or driver license showing proof of age and residency. 

 

If I own property in Florida can I purchase a resident fishing license? 

  • Only if you give up your out-of-state driver license and purchase a valid Florida driver license or show you have homestead exemption on your property.  

 

What are the different license fees for a vessel license so I can take passengers out to fish? 

  • Eleven or more customers – $801.50
  • Five to ten customers – $401.50 
  • Four or fewer customers – $201.50 
  • These licenses can only be obtained at a tax collector’s office – schedule an

 

What is required to obtain a vessel license for vessels charging a fee to take passengers out to catch marine fish? 

  • County business tax receipt
  • Captain license from the Coast Guard
  • Registration for a commercial vessel
  • Driver license

 

Where can I obtain a fishing license? 

 

Who is required to have a salt and freshwater fishing license? 

  • Any non-resident or Florida resident fishing from a boat and/or the shoreline.
  • View license exemptions

 

Can I obtain a lifetime or 5-year license? 

  • Yes, only Florida Residents are eligible for these licenses. They can be purchased online by visiting myfwc.com or you can make an appointment to come into one of our offices. 

 

I would like to go hunting and have never been before, what do I need to do? 

  • Florida residents and visitors need a Florida hunting license unless they are a member of one of the exempt groups
  • A hunting license is required to attempt to take wildlife.
    • Licenses and permits are required to help or assist in the take.
    • Someone who is passively participating (i.e. setting decoys or calling birds), whether actively hunting or not, must have a license.
  • Find more info on the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website

 

I am a Florida resident and 65 years or older, am I required to obtain a hunting license? 

  • No – residents 65 and older are exempt from a hunting license as long as they have an ID or driver license showing proof of age and residency.  

 

Where can I find maps of wildlife management areas in Florida? 

  • These can be found on the FWC’s website.

 

Who is required to pass a hunter’s safety course? 

  • Any person born on or after June 1, 1975 must have passed an approved hunter education course before he or she can purchase a hunting license. 

 

Active Military & Veterans

TITLE & REGISTRATION

Are Military Personnel exempt from registering their vessels in Florida? 

  • Out-of-state registration certificates and numbers for vessels owned by military personnel on active duty in Florida are valid in Florida until their expiration date. Then they must be registered and titled in Florida to be operated on state waters. 

 

Are non-resident service members who are stationed in Florida exempt from the initial registration fee? 

 

How can I sell my vehicle or make any changes to my motor vehicle records if I’m out of the state/country?

  • You can give a general or a limited power of attorney to a family member or a trusted friend to handle your motor vehicle needs and registration. You must complete & sign a limited Power of Attorney form (HSMV 82053)

 

How do I purchase a military license plate? 

  • All military license plates, except Medal of Honor, are available in our offices by appointment.

 

I’m going to be deployed when my registration expires, how soon can I renew it? 

  • You can renew up to three months prior to your birth month. You can also choose the biennial (2-year) option when you renew. 

 

I’m stationed in Florida, but I’m a resident of another state. Do I have to register my vehicle here? 

  • Non-resident service members are not required to register their vehicles in Florida. Check with your state of residence for other requirements. 

 

Is there a package of forms for active-duty military members to assist them with titling and registering their vehicles? 

  • The package can be found on the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle's website.

DRIVER LICENSE & ID CARDS

How do I get the VETERAN designation on my Florida License or Identification Card?

  • You will need to present your DD-214, which shows the honorable discharge from active duty.
    • A Retired Military ID Card or a Veteran’s Affairs ID Card can be used in place of the DD-214.
  • For original issuance and renewals, the designation is added at no additional cost (license fees apply).
  • For a replacement where we only add the designation and there are no other changes, all fees are waived.
  • For a replacement where the previous license is lost or other changes are made, replacement license fees apply.
  • Veterans who need to obtain a copy of their DD-214 may request it through the National Archives, which provides information on how to make the request online.

 

I’m in the military stationed outside of Florida and my license/ID card was stolen/lost/destroyed. How do I get it replaced?

  • You can apply for a replacement license or ID card online if your citizenship has been established on your driving record.
  • Military personnel whose driver license or ID card have been lost or stolen may receive a replacement license through the mail, or a 90-day temporary permit will be mailed to you along with duplicate license instructions. Please contact DHSMV’s Customer Service Center at (850) 617-2000.

 

I’m in the military stationed outside of Florida and my license/ID card is about to expire. How do I request an extension?

  • If your driver license or ID card is scheduled to expire when you are deployed or stationed outside Florida, you are encouraged to renew before you deploy or move (Florida drivers may renew a driver license up to 18 months prior to the expiration and an ID card holder may renew up to 12 months prior to the expiration date printed on the card).
  • Military personnel and members of their immediate family residing with them (spouse, son, daughter, and stepchildren) may be granted an extension of their Class E license. The military extension card is free of charge and will be a photo ID that you carry with your Florida license and Military ID. You can find the application online.
  • A Commercial Driver License may not be extended. A CDL must be renewed in person.
  • Military extension cards may not be accepted in some countries when serving overseas.

 

I am a member of the armed forces and a Florida resident. How can I obtain a commercial driver license (CDL)?

  • Military members with a military equivalent CDL must pass all required written exams for the license class for which they are applying.
  • Once the written exams are passed, the applicant can use a driving skills waiver signed by his/her military command to waive the driving exams.
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