The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee approved a bill Tuesday requiring online companies to pay sales tax on purchases made by Florida residents.
Kurt Wenner, Florida TaxWatch Vice President for Tax Research, said this is not a new tax.
“It’s a tax that’s already owed but currently not being collected,” Wenner said.
Wenner said it’s all too common, especially in the electronics industry, that people physically come in to stores and ask employees to compare products and brands for more information.
Wenner said people then decide to “think about it” but often go home and purchase the product online so they don’t have to pay the tax.
“It puts local Florida retailers, brick-and-mortar stores, at a competitive disadvantage to people outside of the state,” Wenner said.
By raising this tax, local businesses will be put on a level playing field with online companies by selling their products with the same amount of tax, Wenner said.
In an effort to keep taxes on residents neutral, the bill will also include a tax reduction on communication services like cable and telephone.
The bill is moving forward within the house, but it must go through three more Senate committes before it reaches the floor.