Bill would require online sellers to collect Florida sales taxes

A proposal that would require more online sellers to collect Florida sales taxes and turn the money over to the state appeared before the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Monday.

The measure has gained support as state revenue projections have fallen, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Legislative leaders have repeatedly rejected similar proposals in the past, but now see the issue as one of the ways to offset a projected $2.75-billion shortfall. In years past, many out-of-state online retailers have not collected and remitted the taxes, instead of shifting the burden to buyers. 

By law, customers are still required to submit the tax to the state, but very few do. It’s estimated that collection of the tax would generate around 600 million dollars in state and local tax revenue.

Dominic Colabro is president of the business-backed nonprofit group Florida TaxWatch.

"They are invading our markets, and we are not collecting the sales and use tax. We are putting our own employers at a clear competitive disadvantage," Calabro said.

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For years, Florida retailers have complained about being forced to pay taxes, while internet-based companies with few to no employees in the state have not.

A similar measure was filed for the 2020 legislative session, but it did not get through Senate or House committees.

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