Holiday décor is hung at brick and mortar stores. The holiday shopping season is in high gear.
Rick McAlister said, “Thanksgiving time and Christmas time a lot of folks come to Florida and while they’re here they buy things.”
Holiday shopping is expected to by up four percent this year. On line purchases are skyrocketing, up 15%.
John Fleming with the Florida Retail Federation said, “Holiday sales in Florida are expected to be for the months of November and December 60 billion dollars.”
Although the deals are good for customers, it is bad for the state treasury. Few if any online shoppers are paying state sales taxes.
“If that retailer doesn’t have a presence in the state of Florida they don’t have the same requirements to collect sales tax,” said Fleming.
In Florida, if you buy something online and the merchant doesn’t have brick and mortar building in the state, you don’t have to pay the sales tax you owe when you checkout.
And the failure to collect is costing the state treasury up to a billion dollars a year.
“If you’re buying from somebody like Amazon for example that does not yet have a facility in the state of Florida. Amazon is not going to add that sales tax on,” said Fleming.
It’s a state and Federal problem.
Three bills in Washington, DC would change sales tax laws across the country to include sales made online.
Here in Florida, consumers are still required to fill out sales tax forms if they aren’t charged.
“Go to Department of Revenue and look for the form DR-15 that’s what you’re supposed to be filling yourself,” said Fleming.
Only an estimated 4,000 forms paying online taxes voluntarily are filed each year.
Early Black Friday estimates show there were more shoppers out in Florida but sales remained relatively flat.