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Florida online sales tax could soon change

If you have purchased something over the internet or from a catalog, and the seller didn’t...
If you have purchased something over the internet or from a catalog, and the seller didn’t collect the sales tax, you as a consumer, are supposed to fill out a form and send what you owe to the state.(KOTA)
Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 3:59 PM CST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Sales over the internet have increased from 30 to 50 percent during the pandemic, yet Florida remains one of two states with a sales tax that does not place the tax burden on out of state retailers. But where the tax is collected could soon be changing.

If you have purchased something over the internet or from a catalog, and the seller didn’t collect the sales tax, you as a consumer, are supposed to fill out a form and  send what you owe to the state. Only Florida and Missouri don’t force out of state retailers to collect at the point of sale, but lawmakers Monday took the first step to shift the burden to internet merchants.

“This is the right time,” Senator Joe Gruters, (R) Sarasota, said. “During the pandemic we’ve seen people’s buying patterns shift. And certainly, Florida is on the losing end, because not enough people are paying the tax that’s owed.”

The constant parade of packages arriving at doors is only expected to increase in volume, even post pandemic.

Collecting the already owed tax at the point of sale is one of dozens of recommendations that Florida TaxWatch says will get the state finances back on track.

“We have the second highest reliance on sales and use tax. We should have been at this a long time ago. It’s been ideological head in sand,” Dominic Calabro, CEO of Florida Taxwatch, said.

There’s always been opposition. It used to come from lawmakers worried about being labeled with voting for a tax increase. But now the AFL-CIO says corporations and others should pay more before working people.

“We have working people who should be paying the tax, but why do they go first? Why are they the ones whose pocket books are going to get hit first?” Rich Templin with FL AFL-CIO, said.

And consumers who haven’t paid the tax could be liable for what they over for up to three years.

Changing the point of the tax collection is expected to raise up to a billion dollars a year that has been going uncollected.