Main Street Florida Looking for Sales Tax
- Aug 31, 2011 | Susan McLain
Stressing that “…all sales be treated the same—whether online or in person,” supporters of a new sales tax proposal that might go before the Florida state legislature in January 2012, want online retailers to collect and remit. The Florida Times-Union reports that “another push is coming in the January Florida legislative session to force retailers like Amazon and O.co (also known as Overstock.com) to collect the sales tax—just like businesses with physical locations in state are required to do whether people buy in the store or electronically.”
How is this received? A group of leaders in the business community called Main Street Florida say it’s time to do it! The Times-Union expresses, “…this is not a new tax, just one that technology has moved too quickly for.”
The backlash in Florida may be the same as in other locations. Both Amazon and O.co. have ended relationships with affiliates and advertisers in states that have implemented a nexus law expanding the definitions of nexus to include affiliates and other types of associations they might have with a state. But the concerns and ramifications may be broader than we think. Professor Bill Fox, director of the Center for Business and Economic Regulation at the University of Tennessee says “…the tax issue has unnatural effects on the economy when businesses are moving affiliates for sales tax reasons. There are logistical reasons businesses chose distribution centers in strategic places, and those forces should carry the day.”
Florida’s early strategies have been to improve the ability of consumers to pay the use tax owed on online purchases that did not collect sales tax. They have implemented an online payment option on their website and offered an amnesty program last year.
As for businesses, well, according to the Times-Union article, when it comes to audits, you can count on Florida being among the states who do them. “The state targets specific types of businesses, for example, dental and medical offices that buy large, expensive machines from out of state or online and not pay taxes on them.”
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