Sometime in the next two years, Floridians will have to start paying sales tax when they buy from the online retail giant Amazon.com.
That's because the company is building a pair of massive distribution centers along the state's Interstate-Four corridor, so Amazon will have to start collecting the state's sales tax. But some business groups say they'll keep pushing to eliminate an exemption that has allowed out-of-state online retailers, including eBay and Overstock.com, to avoid the tax.
The Florida Retail Federation, which has long called for ending the exemption, estimates that Amazon will generate between $80 million and $90 million a year in state sales taxes once the company starts collecting them. And federation spokesman John Fleming says Amazon only equates to ten percent of the internet sales market.
"There is still a loophole that allows retailers to sell to Florida residents and not collect the sales taxes that other retailers who are here in Florida are collecting", Fleming said. " So, that competitive disadvantage is still going to be there, and we still need legislation to address that loophole in state law."
The Florida Department of Revenue requires online companies to start collecting sales tax once a company has a physical presence in the state. That has allowed many out-of-state online retailers, including Amazon, to avoid adding taxes to online purchases.
Floridians are supposed to pay the taxes themselves when they buy from online retailers, but few do.
It remains unclear when the tax will be included on the Amazon website.