E-Fairness Closer to Reality

There’s a war underway pitting Florida retailers against online stores outside of the state. Each side has its weapons; at the stores you can cash and carry. Online you can avoid the state’s sales tax.

“It’s been a lingering problem. It’s only gotten bigger and bigger,” said Randy Miller.

For 12 years Florida retailers have been asking state lawmakers to make online shops collect the tax. This year their eFairness legislation is gaining momentum.

“The Florida Chamber fully supports this eFairness bill,” said David Hart.

Several bills have been filed. One has already passed a senate committee.

“It really does seem like the stars have aligned on this issue,” said John Fleming.

John Fleming with the Florida Retail Federation says what’s different this year from years past is the Senate President, House Speaker and Governor Rick Scott are all open to an eFairness bill.

“The governor has said he could ultimately sign a bill if it were presented to him as a revenue neutral bill and I think that’s ultimately what he’s going to get on his desk,” said Fleming.

Revenue neutral means for every dollar of online sales tax collected a dollar of another tax would have to be cut.

Lawmakers are considering several measures to make the bill revenue neutral. One way is to eliminate the sales tax on manufacturing equipment. Another plan in the works would offer a sales tax holiday to shoppers statewide to offset the money generated by the online tax.