Amazon to Create Jobs, Collect Sales Tax in Florida
- Jun 17, 2013 | Gail Cole
Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, has announced its intention to open several operations centers in Florida. In making the announcement last week, Governor Rick Scott (R) hailed the news as “further proof that we’ve turned our economy around.”
According to Paul Misener, vice president of Amazon’s global public policy, “We propose to create more than 3,000 new jobs and over $300 million in investment in Florida, while we work toward enactment of the federal Marketplace Fairness Act, which will protect states’ rights to make their own revenue policy choices.”
The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 (MFA) was approved by the Senate and is currently under review in the House. If it becomes law, it will give states the right to require certain remote sellers to collect sales tax—provided the states enact certain tax simplification measures. Amazon supports MFA, but it has also fought the collection of sales tax in several states, such as New York and Texas. The e-retailer reached an agreement with other states, such as South Carolina, whereupon it would bring jobs to the state in exchange for a delayed obligation to collect sales tax.
A similar situation may be happening in Florida.
Earlier this year, Amazon offered to build distribution centers and create jobs in the Sunshine State if the state would delay sales tax obligations for two years. Many felt the jobs would have been welcome in a state that the governor himself said was “facing crippling debt, record-high unemployment and a downward spiral of job losses” just two years ago. Yet in May, the governor flummoxed many people in the state when he rejected the deal with Amazon “over concerns that it would have meant higher taxes for Floridians.”
Just when Amazon will start collecting sales tax in Florida is unclear. The governor’s press release reads: “Amazon will begin collecting Florida sales tax at such time as it is required under current Florida law.”
The online retailer has not yet revealed where it will set up shop in Florida; but according to the governor’s press release, “the availability of economic development incentives will be a material factor in any final location decisions.”
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