Department of Revenue v. Pelican Ship Corp., O--161

Decision Date06 January 1972
Docket NumberNo. O--161,O--161
Citation257 So.2d 56
PartiesDEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, an agency of the State of Florida, Appellant, v. PELICAN SHIP CORPORATION, a Florida corporation, and the Striker Corporation, a Florida corporation, Appellees.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Robert L. Shevin, Atty. Gen., Roger W. Foote, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Larry Levy, Department of Banking and Finance, Tallahassee, for appellant.

E. D. Cossaboom, Jr., of Hedman & Lawrence, Melbourne, for appellees.

SPECTOR, Chief Judge.

The appellant state agency seeks reversal of a judgment rendered in the court below holding that sums charged the public by appellees for transporting them some twenty to thirty miles into the Atlantic Ocean to a reef where patrons may engage in fishing are not subject to sales or admissions taxes. The judgment reviewed herein was rendered on authority of this court's decision in Straughn et al. v. Kelly Boat Service, Inc., 210 So.2d 266. The instant case is distinguishable from Kelly and the tax on the sums charged by appellees for the above purpose must be sustained.

Appellees are engaged in the business of operating 'party' fishing vessels out of Port Canaveral, Florida. Patrons pay $6.00 each to be taken out to the reef where they can fish. The vessels operate Saturdays and Sundays and, in addition, during holidays or peak tourist seasons run daily out of port.

The sole question presented is whether the $6.00 charge described above is an admissions charge under Section 212.04, Florida Statutes, as further defined by Section 212.02(16), Florida Statutes, F.S.A.

The former section provides:

'It is hereby declared to be the legislative intent that every person is exercising a taxable privilege who sells or Receives anything of value, by way of admissions. For the exercise of said privilege a tax is levied as follows:' (Emphasis supplied.)

Section 212.02(16), Florida Statutes, F.S.A., defines the word 'admissions' materially as follows:

'The term 'admissions' means and includes the net sum of money . . . for admitting a person . . . to any place of amusement, sport, or recreation Or for the privilege of entering or staying in any place of amusement, sport, or recreation, including but not limited to theatres, outdoor theatres, shows, exhibitions, games, races Or any place where charge is made by way of sale of tickets, gate charges, seat charges, . . . participation fees, entrance fees, . . . measured on an admission or entrance or length of stay . . . in any place where there is any exhibition, entertainment, . . . amusement, sport, or recreation, . . .' (Emphasis supplied.)

Appellant contends that the $6.00 fee charged to patrons of the fishing vessels is an admission fee or charge within the purview of the above cited statutory provisions. The fee is paid at dockside by the patrons prior to boarding the fishing vessels. Appellant correctly argues in the alternative that even if the $6.00 fee were not collected until after the vessel is on the high seas beyond the territorial limits of the State, nonetheless the obligation to pay such fee arises when the patron boards the vessel at dockside and thus the transaction is within the State's taxing jurisdiction.

Appellee's contention that the $6.00 charge for boarding the fishing vessel is not an admission for sporting or recreational purposes within the purview of the statute is without merit. The contention that the $6.00 fee is a charge for mere transportation to and from the fishing reef ignores the reality that the passengers taking the trip for purposes other than engaging in fishing sport do so for whatever recreational benefits the passenger experiences from the ride itself.

Appellees' reliance on the Kelly Boat Service case, supra, as authority for excluding their admission charges from the tax does not square with the holding of that case. As in the case at bar, Kelly Boat Service maintained a deep-sea fishing operation against which the State sought to collect taxes under Chapter 212, Florida Statutes. In Kelly, we said at page 266:

'The basic question presented for our determination in this appeal is whether the plaintiff's said operations were subject to the sales, use, and admission tax laws of the State of Florida. (Chapter 212, Florida Statutes, F.S.A.)'

In Kelly, we affirmed the trial court's holding that the taxpayer's fishing boat operations were not taxable. While it is true that in propounding the basic question presented, our decision referred not only to the sales...

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7 cases
  • Air Jamaica, Ltd. v. State, Dept. of Revenue
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • August 7, 1979
    ...District, in Department of Revenue v. Kelly Boat Service, Inc., 324 So.2d 651 (Fla. 1st DCA 1975); Department of Revenue v. Pelican Ship Corporation, 257 So.2d 56 (Fla. 1st DCA 1972); and see Department of Revenue v. Hobbs, 368 So.2d 367 (Fla. 1st DCA 1979). See also Commonwealth v. United ......
  • Scoville Service, Inc. v. Comptroller of Treasury
    • United States
    • Maryland Court of Appeals
    • July 5, 1973
    ...Revenue, 193 Kan. 605, 396 P.2d 260 (1964); Beach v. Livingston, 248 S.C. 135, 149 S.E.2d 328 (1966); Department of Revenue v. Pelican Ship Corporation, 257 So.2d 56 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1972); see also dissent of Musmanno, J., in Fierro v. City of Williamsport, 384 Pa. 568, 120 A.2d 889 (1956)......
  • Department of Revenue v. Anderson
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • September 25, 1980
    ...period from August 1, 1970, 2 to February 6, 1972, the date of issuance of the mandate of this court in Department of Revenue v. Pelican Ship Corp., 257 So.2d 56 (Fla. 1st DCA 1972), cert. den. 262 So.2d 682 (Fla. 1972), cert. dism. 287 So.2d 93 (Fla. 1974). 3 The trial judge also found tha......
  • Department of Revenue v. Hobbs
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • February 9, 1979
    ...through its actions had encouraged appellees not to collect the tax during the interim between the decision in Kelly I and the decision in Pelican. Id. at Appellees' position before the trial court was quite similar to that of the taxpayers in Kelly II. The entire thrust of appellees' origi......
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