Florida TaxWatch Advises Increased Audits and SST
- Jan 3, 2012 | Susan McLain
Florida’s TaxWatch and Government Cost Savings Task Force report that “The State of Florida is expected to collect nearly $40 billion in taxes and fees during FY2011-12, with almost half - $19.8 billion – coming from the state sales and use tax.”*
According to the report, a concern that many states face is what is known as the tax gap. In order to deal with the tax gap, the committee recommends that Florida improve “… collections of remote sales tax and implementing a tobacco audit compliance system.”
The report includes recommendations for changes to:
- The criminal and juvenile justice system
- Procurement processes
- General government operations
- Medicaid and Pension
- The way the government works—optimizing workforce and productivity
In addition to this list is a list of improvements to enhance revenue. That list includes sales tax changes such as:
- Improved collection of sales tax on remote sales – Streamlined Sales Tax (SST).
- Increased tax compliance by adding Department of Revenue tax auditors.
- Lowering the required threshold to file tax returns electronically.
In further recommendations to the state, the task force identifies the tax gap as an area that can be improved upon by reducing the gap. The tax gap is the difference between what should be collected and what is actually collected. The task force feels “The tax gap can be minimized by providing DOR with the tools and legislative changes necessary to both increase voluntary compliance, and to pick up where voluntary compliance ends: auditing and enforcement.”
To continue, the task force states, “[m]odernizing the state’s tax laws can also be of tremendous help. Technological changes, especially the internet, were not contemplated when the state’s tax laws were developed.” This means, dealing with “…the most significant tax compliance and collection issues facing Florida…the application of sales and use taxes to sales by remote vendors.”
According to Tax Analysts, Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) “…says he would support legislation that would help the state collect taxes on remote sales.” Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro, is quoted as telling Tax Analysts that “Florida needs to modernize its tax system to maintain the future viability of its sales tax.”
As Florida moves into reformation of policies and ways of doing business, they are mindful of reduced funding from the Federal government but continued needs within their state.
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*Note: the full report is a very large file and the Florida TaxWatch website may take a minute to load the report.