Internet Retailer Amazon to Start Collecting Taxes in Florida

Thursday, Apr 17, 2014  |  Updated 12:23 PM EDT
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Amazon to Start Collecting Taxes in Florida

Bloomberg via Getty Images

An employee walks over a logo on the floor of Amazon.com Inc.'s fulfillment centers in Rugeley, U.K., on Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. Online retailers in the U.K. are anticipating their busiest day as shoppers flush with end-of-month pay-checks seek Christmas deals on the Web. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Floridians who rely on Internet giant Amazon.com will have to soon start paying taxes on their online purchases.

A spokesman for the Seattle-based company confirmed Wednesday that Amazon will collect the state's 6 percent sales tax on May 1.

The move follows the decision by Amazon to build two distribution centers in the Sunshine State.

Currently, Floridians are supposed to pay taxes for online purchases, but there's no way to enforce the law. The state can't force companies like Amazon to collect the tax unless it has a physical presence, such as a warehouse or store.

Last year, Gov. Rick Scott and Amazon announced a deal in which the company would create 3,000 new jobs in Florida by 2016. The exact details of the deal were kept confidential by state officials.

Initially, Scott rejected a proposed deal with the company because of concerns it would result in higher taxes for Floridians. But he reversed that decision last June.

Amazon's decision to expand in Florida reflects the retailer's desire to put in a system to guarantee quicker delivery of products ordered online. The company has reached similar agreements regarding warehouses and payment of sales taxes in several other states.

Retailers in Florida have been pushing for years for state legislators to change state law in an effort to prompt Internet retailers to collect sales taxes. Representatives of brick-and-mortar stores contend that online companies have an unfair competitive advantage. But despite winning support from some Republicans, the bills have repeatedly stalled in the state Legislature.

A representative with the Florida Retail Federation said the group was pleased that Amazon would soon start collecting sales taxes.

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