What is the purpose of the division?
What are the responsibilities of the division?
The division receives and processes license applications, collects and audits taxes, surcharges, and fees paid by licensees, and enforces laws and regulations governing the sale of these products.
How does the division accomplish its purpose?
The division is organized into three bureaus.
- Bureau of Licensing issues all licenses, permits, registrations, and approvals related to alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
- Bureau of Law Enforcement fulfills the investigative and enforcement functions of the division, including investigation of license applicants and premises and undercover surveys for determining license compliance with minimum age of purchase laws. The bureau also investigates alleged criminal and administrative violations of Florida law when the violations correspond with activity occurring at the premises licensed by the division or without a license as required by law.
- Bureau of Auditing collects and audits excise taxes levied on alcohol and tobacco products. They also collect the surcharge on cigarettes and other tobacco products sold in Florida and conduct compliance audits.
What taxes are collected by the division?
The division is responsible for administering several taxes owed by businesses involved in the alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries.
The division generates approximately $1.4 billion in alcoholic beverage and tobacco related taxes, surcharges, and fees. The division transfers most funds to the General Revenue Fund, but retains funds for division operations and distribution to other programs as required by statute.
- Alcoholic Beverage Excise Tax is levied on each gallon or fraction thereof of beverage sold during the previous month. The tax is based on alcohol by volume.
- Cigarette Excise and Surcharge Taxes are levied on a per pack basis with a tax and surcharge stamp placed on cigarette packages as evidence that the taxes were paid.
- Other Tobacco Products Excise Tax and Surcharge is levied as a percentage of the wholesale price for any tobacco products other than cigarettes and cigars.
Does the division effectively enforce underage alcoholic beverage and tobacco laws?
According to Fiscal Year 2021-22 performance data, of the 33% of retail alcohol and tobacco licensees and permit holders who were inspected, 85% of the alcoholic beverage retailers and 86% of the tobacco retailers were found to comply with restrictions on access by underage persons. These metrics exceeded the legislative standard for retailers found to be in compliance with regulations preventing underage person's access to alcohol (80%) and tobacco (85%) products. The percentage of retailers inspected (33%) fell short of the standard (40%).
How are these activities funded?
Issuance of Special Beverage Licenses. The 2023 Legislature enacted Ch. 2023-65, Laws of Florida, which lowers the requirements for certain food service establishments to qualify for a special food service license. Special licenses are exceptions to the quota licensing scheme under which Florida limits by county the number of alcoholic beverage licenses that may be issued to one license per 7,500 residents. The special food service license previously applied to a food service establishment that had 2,500 square feet, was equipped to serve 150 people at a time, and was deriving at least 51% of its gross food and beverage revenue from the sale of food and nonalcoholic beverages. The new law reduces the minimum service area to 2,000 square feet and the service capacity to 120 people. The 51% revenue derivation requirement was not changed.
Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?
A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website
Where can I get more information?
What are the applicable statutes?
Chapters 210, 386 Part II, 561, 562, 563, 564, 565, 567, 568, and 569, and ss. 322.212, 559.791, 768.125, and 877.18, Florida Statutes
Whom do I contact for help?
Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, 850-487-1395