Florida Legislature Looks at Requiring Online Retailers to Pay Sales Tax

02.02.12 | Permalink

By: Allan J. Rotlewicz

UPDATE 5/17/12

Earlier, we discussed how the Florida Legislature was looking at options to enforce payment of state sales tax by online retailers. Internet sales tax legislation is also receiving scrutiny at national level with the United States Senate preparing to hear a bill sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn). The proposed bill would allow states to require online retailers to collect sales tax from out-of-state customers. States argue they are losing billions of dollars on uncollected sales taxes from Internet sales. E-Bay hopes that any bill would exempt small businesses that use their platform for online sales. Supporters of the bill want to dispel the myth that this is a new tax, stating that all consumers must pay a sales tax, and the bill merely enforces this fairly across e-commerce. Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell will continue to follow this and provide updates.


So far, twelve states have required online retailer Amazon to charge sales tax, with nine others considering the legislation this year. Amazon is working with the Florida legislature to attempt to obtain tax benefits in exchange for spending up to $200 million to build two distribution centers in Florida and creating jobs. Local retailers, trade associations, and civic groups are urging lawmakers to reject the deal. In the past, Amazon has benefited from not charging its customers a sales tax, as it does not have a brick and mortar store in most states. Last year, Amazon opened a distribution center in South Carolina. The legislature pressed Amazon to charge sales tax and Amazon brokered a deal that it could delay collecting sales tax until 2016. But, Amazon is required to send all customers in South Carolina a yearly notice with the total spent for the year and information on how to pay the taxes.

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