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February 13th, 2009, 02:39 PM #1Florida Lawmakers target online sales (Sales Tax)
Greetings from Florida. Looks like this is the best place to post this story for now...
TALLAHASSEE -- Bought a book or a computer online? You might not have paid sales taxes.
But with Florida facing dire budget problems, Sen. Evelyn Lynn and another lawmaker are targeting online sales as a way to bring in more tax dollars.
Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, and Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, announced Thursday they have filed proposals that could potentially lead to collecting billions of dollars in sales taxes from Internet retailers.
Backed by a coalition that includes major business groups, education organizations and labor unions, Lynn and Rehwinkel Vasilinda said the proposals could provide money for schools and other programs that are seeing deep budget cuts.
"We have never had the kind of (budget) problems we are facing now," Lynn said during a news conference in the Capitol.
It's unclear, however, whether the proposals will pass during the coming legislative session -- and, even if they do, when the state could see a large influx of tax dollars.
Business groups, including the Florida Retail Federation, have pushed similar proposals in recent years but have failed to get legislative approval. Amid the economic recession, some lawmakers say they are reluctant to pass bills that could lead to people paying more taxes.
Also, Florida ultimately would need congressional approval of a plan for states to collect taxes from many online retailers.
"It's a lot more complicated than people think," said House Finance & Tax Chairwoman Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale.
Florida is already supposed to receive taxes from online purchases, but much of the time the money is not paid. That is because consumers -- often not out-of-state online retailers -- are supposed to send in taxes on the purchases.
In a letter to Florida's congressional delegation, Rehwinkel Vasilinda said consumers filed only about 3,000 tax forms last year for such purchases. She wrote the "sad truth is that the vast majority of Floridians don't know they owe the tax or are ignoring the law."
Sales taxes are collected and paid to the state when consumers buy online items from retailers that have stores in Florida. Also, some online retailers voluntarily collect and pass on sales taxes.
The legislative proposals would make complicated changes in Florida's tax code to help it match up with laws in other states.
Those changes would clear the way for Florida to take part in a congressionally approved plan to collect online taxes.
Supporters say untaxed online purchases are unfair to Florida retailers that collect sales taxes in stores. Also, they argue the proposals would not create new taxes.
February 13th, 2009, 02:53 PM #2
- Join Date
- January 18th, 2005
It appears from the article that this is not a New York-style attack on affiliates, but instead is intended to conform Florida's tax law with "a congressionally approved plan to collect online taxes." I assume that if enough states participate in that plan, then online retailers would be required to compute, collect and report sales tax for all participating states, without being burdened by the separate reporting and computations for 40+ states and thousands of local tax districts.
This topic has been discussed in several other discussion threads on ABW:
October 30th, 2009, 12:33 PM #3
Please move this to the FLORIDA TAX forum now.
November 13th, 2009, 03:54 AM #4
What does it take to get a thread moved?
Sorry I do not have PM priviledges, so I cannot contact anyone to make this request.
November 13th, 2009, 08:13 AM #5
November 17th, 2009, 12:41 PM #6
Sorry, just saw this post. Can't help but notice the name Evelyn Lynn. Reminds me of the old Masters of the Universe character Evil-Lyn. Interestingly enough, MattyCollector (Mattel's online store) just started charging sales tax on orders placed through their site. Coincidence? probably...
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