An red flag has been raised by Melanie Seery of Affiliate Advocacy this morning. Her alert brings some worrying news about a new state considering going in the direction of the Internet tax. This time it is the State of Florida, and now the main reason behind the initiative is bolstering education funding.
Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, said since New York recently led the way in the process, she’s been researching the possibility of Florida joining in…
The Internet sales tax discussion came the same day as government leaders in Tallahassee discussed the long-running money-battle dispute between Florida counties and online hotel booking companies, with no resolution in sight. The Manatee County Commission recently decided to sue some of the companies, including Priceline and Travelocity, in an effort to recoup back taxes.
Detert said it’s unfair that Internet sales aren’t taxed because Florida businesses must charge 7 percent for the same item bought online. “When I asked how much might be collected (from Internet sales tax revenue), I was told it could be $2 billion or more,” she said.
While the focus is currently on the online booking industry, and companies like Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity, Seery says Detern “is continuing to research requiring merchants to collect sales tax on” all online sales.
Florida’s Department of Revenue is retaining neutrality until further clarifications are received from the Legislature, while the Governor is not supportive of the initiative. More from the Brandenton Herald’s article:
The Department of Revenue, the enforcer of the tax laws, has refused to say which side is right and has waited for clear direction from the Legislature, which has refused to act. “For a number of years, we have sort of stood on the sidelines,” said the agency’s executive director Lisa Echeverri.
Gov. Charlie Crist spoke last and characterized the effort to collect money from the online rentals as an additional tax on visitors. “It would concern me if this panel moves in a direction of trying to add an additional burden or tax on those who want to travel to the Sunshine State,” Crist said.
It is time for Florida-based affiliates to start contacting their Senators and Representatives to educate them on the issue, and ensure that those who are representing you, and can influence the decision-making process, know exactly what this means.