Internet Sales Tax Collection Bill Filed in Tallahassee

This may be the last holiday shopping season that online retailers aren’t required to charge you state sales tax. A bill filed in Tallahassee would allow the state to begin collecting the six cent tax from online shops.

You may notice something missing when you make a purchase online. Zeros in the tax column. That’s because online retailers without locations in Florida don’t have to collect state sales tax. But that could soon change. State Senator Gwen Margolis filed a bill to force online retails to collect the tax. “Our whole revenue source is sales tax in the state of Florida.”

We caught up with Senator Margolis by phone Monday. “The State of Florida is losing jobs and money because people have been shopping online all year.”

The state’s cut is six cents on the dollar that means when online retailers don’t collect the tax they can offer their customers lower prices than their brick and mortar competitors.

The disadvantage has caught the ire of Rick McAllister of the Florida Retail Federation. “Let’s move on. Let’s quit competing unfairly based on a tax, that’s not what you do.”

This is the sixth year this bill has been filed here in Tallahassee, and sponsors believe its time has come. Support among lawmakers is growing, but concerns remain over weather or not collecting the money owed… can be considered a tax increase.

Senate President Don Gaetz of Niceville is against the bill, but says if it were to pass he’d like to see other taxes decreased to keep the collection revenue neutral. “I certainly as one senator would insist on some kind of tax reduction for the very people whose taxes would be increased.”

It’s unclear exactly how much money could be collected if the bill passes. Some economists put the annual figure in the 100 million to a billion dollar range.

Even though some online stores don’t charge sales tax, the buyer still owes it, but last year just 7-thousand online shoppers mailed a check to the Florida Department of Revenue.

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