Florida – Amazon To Begin Collecting Use Tax On May 1, 2014

SALT Report 3339 – After announcing significant investment in Florida last year Amazon is ready to pull the trigger on sales and use tax collections beginning May 1, 2014.  The  Tampa Tribune reported the news on April 16, 2014 Amazon.com to collect sales tax in Florida by Richard Mullins The Tampa Tribune April 16, 2014.

Significant to this SALES and USE tax collection issue (or “Amazon Law”, “Click through Nexus” , “Online Sales Tax” issue) is the misguided semantic reference to what is actually being collected – this issue applies to all taxing states.  To be clear, Amazon is not necessarily collecting a sales tax from Florida customers beginning in May.  Amazon will begin collecting Florida constituents’ use tax which has always been owed by the consumer.  A subtle distinguishing factor that is very important – sales versus use tax.  A lack of understanding of the two complimentary components of sales and use taxation often times leads to errors and recommendations akin to the one at the beginning of the article attached.

First sentence in the article:

“If you like buying things tax-free on Amazon, you better hit the “Buy” button before May 1.”

Purchases from Amazon or any other online retailer (or out of state retailer) have never been and are not tax-free.  They have always been taxable – use taxable.

“Many Florida citizens are not aware that this state has a “use tax.” Use tax normally applies to items purchased outside Florida, including another country, which are brought or delivered into this state and would have been taxed if purchased in Florida. ”

For Further Information:                                                                                                                 

Amazon.com to collect sales tax in Florida by Richard Mullins The Tampa Tribune April 16, 2014

Florida Use Tax Obligation