Amazon.com AMZN -0.65% is bringing distribution centers to Florida, and with them online sales taxes to the fourth-largest U.S. state.
The e-commerce giant reached an agreement to erect several warehouses in the Sunshine State and pledged to create as many as 3,000 jobs as part of a $300 million investment between now and 2016, according to a statement from Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Florida has 19.3 million residents, according to the U.S. Census.
Amazon already collects sales taxes from residents of California, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania, as well as some smaller states, comprising about a third of the population. Next month, Amazon customers in New Jersey will be subject to sales tax, followed by Virginia later this year and Nevada and Indiana in early 2014.
An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the statement. The governor’s office didn’t say exactly when the online sales tax would take effect.
The lack of a sales tax on Internet purchases has long been a tremendous competitive advantage for Amazon, and a prime aggravation for bricks-and-mortar retailers who howl that it makes it more difficult to compete. Amazon has been reaching deals state by state to build warehouses there generally in exchange for delayed collection of online sales tax (South Carolina won’t require the levy until 2016, for instance).
Amazon and other Web retailers aren’t required under current law to collect sales tax themselves from states where they don’t have a physical presence, such as a warehouse or corporate offices. Seattle’s Amazon had tiptoed carefully around those laws, forbidding employees to set foot in certain states while on business for fear of triggering sales tax collection.
The company and its rivals, like Overstock.com, may all be subject to sales tax under a proposed rule now before the U.S. House, known as the Marketplace Fairness Act. Under a version passed earlier this year by the Senate, retailers with at least $1 million in annual sales outside of their home states would need to collect sales tax from their customers, wherever they reside.
While it’s not clear how the House may rule, President Barack Obama has endorsed the broad strokes of the bill. And for its part, Amazon has publicly supported a national online sales tax, in part because it would set it on even footing with other web retailers.
via Amazon, Web Sales Taxes Coming to Florida