TAMPA (CBSMiami/NSF) — Internet retail giant Amazon is officially coming to Florida. Amazon.com confirmed Tuesday that it will build distribution centers in Hillsborough County and in Lakeland, with the expectation of creating more than 1,000 full-time jobs. However, it means Floridians will now have to pay sales tax on their Amazon purchases.
“We appreciate the state, city and county officials who have worked with us to bring these fulfillment centers to Florida,” said Mike Roth, Amazon’s vice president of North America operations for the Seattle-based company. “We’re excited to join the community, bringing great jobs and investment to the area.”
Both centers are expected to be more than 1 million square feet.
The Lakeland facility will concentrate on packing and shipping large items, such as kayaks and televisions.
The Hillsborough County center along I-75 in Ruskin will handle smaller items, ranging from books to electronics and consumer goods.
An Amazon news release did not mention when the facilities could be operational or the potential for other centers.
When Gov. Rick Scott’s office announced in June that Amazon intended to expand into Florida, the announcement noted plans for more than 3,000 full-time jobs that would pump more than $300 million in investments into Florida by the end of 2016.
In the Amazon release, Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope called Tuesday’s announcement “another vote of confidence in the state’s business climate.”
The move to bring Amazon warehouses to the Sunshine State also means Floridians will no longer be able to dodge sales tax on their Amazon purchases. It’s because the retailer is required to charge its Florida-based customers the state’s 6-percent sales tax.
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.
In addition, Amazon just announced it is raising the minimum order amount necessary to qualify for free Super Saver shipping. Previously, customers had to spend $25 to get free shipping but moving forward, customers will need to buy at least $35 worth of merchandise to quality for free shipping.
“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”