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Amazon Will Collect Sales Tax In Florida Starting Today

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Do you like shopping on internet giant Amazon.com because the prices are usually really good and you don’t have to pay state sales tax?

Well, the free ride is over.

Amazon.com will start to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Floridians starting Thursday, May 1st.

That means everything from books to flat screen televisions will be subject to tax when shoppers buy from the site.

The change comes as Amazon recently built two distribution centers in Florida; one in Hillsborough County and the other in Lakeland which is in Polk County.

The move should help the Seattle-based company save millions on shipping and distribution costs.  But the change isn’t sitting well with local customers.

“That’s the whole reason you do Amazon – because it’s a good deal,” said Martha Serrano of Homestead.  “If it’s going up 6 percent, I don’t think I will do it anymore.”

The Florida Department of Revenue requires online companies to collect sales taxes if they have a physical presence in the state.

“It’s usually every few months when I buy something.  I would say it’s always over a hundred, so at six percent, I’ll go to the store and get it myself, “ said Yvette Santamaria of Homestead.

Under state law, Floridians are supposed to pay the taxes on online purchases themselves, but many people don’t.

The Florida Retail Federation, which estimates the state will collect $80 million a year from Amazon sales, has been pushing for years to get Florida to impose what the group calls “e-Fairness” tax laws and Congress to approve what is known as the Marketplace Fairness Act.

“I hope they use this money wisely,” said Gail Pinon of Coral Gables. “As a voter, I care about that.”

Florida is the 21st state to  be charged a sales tax on Amazon.  A report out of Ohio State University showed sales dropped across the board for states that are already taxed, and fell be as much as 24 percent for large purchases over 300 dollars.

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