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Collecting Whats Owed

January 12th, 2010 by flanews

Florida is losing an estimated two billion dollars every year because some online stores dont collect state sales tax. Legislation has been filed to make it easier for sellers to know what to tax and for buyers to know what they owe. As Whitney Ray tells us, the problem is most online shoppers dont even know they owe it.

Amanda Grout spends hundreds of dollars online buying books and clothes. She pays the vendor, but doesnt pay the state on purchases made from stores without a location in Florida.

Im not going to go out of my way to go fill out all these forms mail them in to pay more money. The only way I would do it is if they set it up on EBay or the website and forced me to do it, said Amanda.

Right now online shoppers have to visit the Department of Revenues website, download a tax form, list the items purchased, do the math, and mail in a check. State lawmakers want to make paying the tax easier.

This is not only the right thing to do, its the smart thing to do, said Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, the House sponsor of the legislation.

Bipartisan legislation is being introduced to align Floridas tax code with the tax codes of 44 other states. By redefining taxable items experts say it would be easier for online shops to know what to collect.

We believe Florida will begin to collect several million dollars, maybe 10s of millions, 20, possible 30 million dollars on an annual basis and rising, said Dominic Calabro, the President of Florida TaxWatch.

Paying the tax would still be voluntary, although getting a plan in place could persuade Congress to adopt legislation forcing online stores to collect.

The online sales tax is owned four times a year. The due day coincides with the end of each fiscal quarter. The link to the DR15MO form is http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/forms/2009/dr15mo.pdf

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