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‘Amazon’ tax coming to Florida

By Kay Bell · Bankrate.com
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Posted: 5 pm ET

The federal bill that would require online retailers nationwide to collect sales tax on purchases is languishing in the House, but the so-called Amazon tax continues to make its way into individual state tax codes.

Florida is the latest state that will start collecting sales tax from Amazon on its sales to Sunshine State residents.

The Seattle-based online giant already collects sales tax on shipments to buyers in its home state of Washington, as well as in Arizona, California, Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Amazon will start collecting sales taxes from shoppers in New Jersey on July 1, Virginia on Sept. 1, and Connecticut and Massachusetts on Nov. 1.

Online tax collection is coming in 2014 for Amazon shoppers in Indiana, Nevada and Tennessee. South Carolina's tax department will see sales tax revenue from Amazon sales in 2016.

Florida collection date unclear

So when will Amazon patrons in Florida begin paying the state's 6 percent sales tax on their online purchases? At such time as it is required under current Florida law.

That vague tax implementation date is the official word from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who mentioned the sales tax collection in his announcement that Amazon will spend $300 million to build facilities in Florida by the end of 2016.

Amazon also was coy regarding specifics, but the company reportedly will build two 1 million-square-foot "fulfillment centers" somewhere along Florida's I-4 corridor within the first year of the deal. When all the work is done, Scott says 3,000 new jobs will be filled by Florida residents.

The deal is similar to those Amazon reached with other states. By building brick-and-mortar facilities, there is no question as to whether the online seller will have the nexus, or physical presence, needed to require tax collection, as stipulated by a 1992 ruling by the Supreme Court.

Federal sales tax bill stalled

Amazon's continued push across the country to build facilities comes as the federal Marketplace Fairness Act has stalled in the U.S. House.

The measure passed the Senate in May and President Barack Obama has endorsed the sales tax collection. The House's version of the bill has more than 60 cosponsors, including 22 Republicans, but House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is openly opposed to the legislation.

Representatives from the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures held a press conference this week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to urge passage of the legislation.

But the sponsor of the House sales tax bill is not optimistic his colleagues will get to the bill this session.

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., told reporters at the National Press Club event that his bill is vying for a spot on a legislative schedule that also includes a farm bill, immigration reform, the debt ceiling and budget talks.

"There are a lot of things competing for floor time right now," Womack said. "I'm just not optimistic that it will be done because I know it's competing against a lot of things. And the last thing leadership probably wants to do is bring something to the floor where there's not a real strong appetite for it, and I know among House members there's not an appetite yet."

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Veteran contributing editor Kay Bell is the author of the book "The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes" and a co-author of the e-book "Future Millionaires' Guidebook."

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8 Comments
markas
April 19, 2014 at 9:49 am

I haver enjoyed the tax holiday by purchasing online, but no matter how much I may have enjoyed this as a consumer. it really was detrimental to small local businesses everywhere. Why should a national behemoth that already has the benefit of scale also get away with not having to charge sales tax. Basic fairness would dictate a level playing field for all. Pro-business Republicans should especially be in favor of eFairness taxation if they wish to be consistent in their support of business including those which actually reside in their districts. In fact, to do any less would be patently against their mandate to represent the interests of their district. No one enjoys paying taxes, but they should be levied and enforced equally in both the letter and spirit of the law. Virginia has long had a requirement for the consumer to pay the sales tax along with their state income tax, however few people actually comply with this requirement. It is much more logical to require the seller to collect this tax. In this age of computer billing and online bank transfers and direct deposits it is really not particularly onerous or difficult for even a small online home business to comply with sending sales tax receipts back to all 50 states. Fair is fair.

wolfman
April 17, 2014 at 8:13 am

This is extortion and bribery plain and simple. Taxation without representation has always been illegal. It is all of our common duty to find every person who supported this theft and run them out of office, starting with rick scott.

Bob Miller
January 03, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Will no longer purchase from amazom.com if they collect sales tax. Will use other suppliers that will stand up to the progressive government.

Valerie Knopfel
October 27, 2013 at 7:53 am

I purchase a lot of stuff from Amazon however once this kicks in, I will be purchasing elsewhere. There isn't anything I can't buy from eBay without the sales tax. Amazon is using monopolistic tactics and is becoming a company of such greed that they need a good dose of reality. I hope all states that they build these "pseudo" brick and morton fronts just to collect sales tax for states so they have lobbying power in those states will all cease feeding the monster and purchase elsewhere!

khordkutta
June 20, 2013 at 9:25 pm

that stinks