A possible bookkeeping error by the state of Florida may have caused revenue collected near the University Parkway retail area to go to the wrong county. The Manatee County Commission was notified of the surprising news during a budget meeting on Tuesday. The Florida Department of Revenue notified Manatee County finance officials that the county may owe Sarasota County $4 million in sales tax.
Some sales tax that was collected in the retail area around University Parkway, which is located on the county line, may have inadvertently been paid to the wrong county. The money was diverted to the wrong county over a number of years and is estimated in the range of about $4 million.
The Florida Department of Revenue fully admitted to making the mistake. The Manatee County Administrator intends to argue that the state should compensate Sarasota County for the mistake. Manatee officials have cited several similar errors in past years that resulted in Sarasota County's favor. In those years, sales tax collected in the Sarasota County zip codes by Manatee County businesses was diverted to Sarasota County.
The Manatee County Commission was unable to clarify the matter on Tuesday, and the large mistake held up the county on finalizing details and ratifying their $722.2 million operating budget for the coming year.