By Team

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A proposal that would require many out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Floridians will be one of the first bills taken up by the state Senate.

The bill, filed by Republican Sen. Joe Gruters, is on a list of measures slated to be heard on the Senate floor Thursday, the first full floor session held by the Senate during the 2021 legislative session.

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Currently, retailers that have a physical presence in Florida must collect and remit sales taxes for items sold in the state. But that doesn’t include many out-of-state online retailers that sell to Florida customers, leading in-state businesses to complain about unfair competition.

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The bill also could help raise tax revenue as lawmakers grapple with a budget hamstrung by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Senate President Wilton Simpson has backed requiring out-of-state retailers to collect and remit sales taxes, but the issue has run into opposition in past years because of arguments that it could be viewed as a tax increase.

Among the other bills slated to be heard on the Senate floor Thursday are a measure filed by Sen. Travis Hutson that would revamp regulations about craft distilleries and a bill filed by Sen. Jason Brodeur that could help shield farmers from lawsuits.

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