Florida House To Take Up Online Tax Plan

Apr 2, 2021

After House and Senate leaders reached agreement on the issue, the House could pass a plan that would require out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes on items sold to Floridians.

The House is scheduled Wednesday to take up the proposal (HB 15), which comes after years of Florida businesses lobbying to require out-of-state retailers to collect and remit the taxes.

Under an agreement reached by House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, and Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, the additional sales-tax revenue initially would be used to replenish the state’s unemployment compensation trust fund, which became depleted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Using the sales-tax money would shield businesses from having to pay increased unemployment taxes to replenish the fund.

Sprowls and Simpson also agreed that the additional sales-tax money eventually would be used to offset a cut in a commercial rent tax. That would occur after the unemployment fund is replenished.

The Senate last month passed its version of the bill (SB 50), which has been a priority of Simpson.

Economists have estimated that the proposal could generate $973.6 million in the upcoming 2021-2022 fiscal year and $1.08 billion in each following year, according to the House and Senate. If the House approves the plan next week, it would have to go back to the Senate for a final vote.