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The Internet Sales Tax ‘Slip’

February 12th, 2009 by flanews

Florida is missing out on an estimated two to four billion dollars in sales tax revenue every year. The state depends on the honor system to collect taxes on internet purchases. Its not working. As Whitney Ray tells us, lawmakers are banking on a bill to synchronize elements of the states tax code with other states to make paying internet sales taxes easier.

Hear it Here: The Internet Sales Tax Slip

Catherine Given bought these shoes online.

Do you know if you paid sales tax on those shoes when you bought them, asked a reporter. I have no idea. I know they were 39.99 and I paid that amount, said Catherine.

Catherine isnt the only one cheating the state out of tax dollars.

Do you pay sales tax when you buy online, college senior Andre Oliu was asked. Not really, especially now with the economy they take away a lot of the shipping and taxes and stuff, so 10 bucks in ten bucks, he answered. Do you know youre supposed to pay sales tax? I dont know. I dont know if Im supposed to or not

Floridians who buy online are supposed a internet sales tax form and pay the state a six percent sales tax. Most online stores dont collect the tax, which adds insult to injury for in-state shops already at a disadvantage.

Florida retailers have to employee sales clerks with obviously cost more. Plus online shops can charge less because they dont include sales tax in their pricing.

Lawmakers want to synchronize elements of Floridas sales tax code with 22 other states to simplify the payment process. The plan could net as much as 40 million its first year.

If we get this in place there will be many who comply on a voluntary basis, the sellers and the buyers, who would pay their tax, said State Senator Evelyn Lynn.

For stricter enforcement and to net the estimate two billion owed, state lawmakers are also asking Congress for help. Last year only 3,000 internet tax forms were filed in Florida.

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