Internet sales tax passes sub committee

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SARASOTA - Legislation aimed at forcing online retailers to start collecting state sales taxes is making headway in the Florida legislature.  The proposal would force online retailers to collect the state's 6%+ sales tax.

"Its going to ruin my internet shopping," said Nicolette Recchia.

Recchia is one of many people who does not like the idea of a new internet sales tax.  But despite opposition the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax voted to approve a bill that would add a 6% internet sales tax to all items purchased from out of state retailers.

"I don't agree with it, because I'm going to have to pay extra money," said Recchia.

But not everyone is opposing the measure.  'I think its an appropriate tax because I think local merchants are put at a disadvantage by having to have merchandise come in that is untaxed," said Michael Goldman.

And according to Senator Nancy Detert, those local merchants have been a driving force behind SB316.  "This has been something that the business community has wanted us to do for a long time.  They call it e-fairness.  Our local businesses, brick and mortar small business people collect sales tax but they are at a disadvantage with people who sell the same products on the internet," said Sen. Detert.

According to Detert, the state's current tax code did not allow for the collection of sales tax, which not only results in unfair competition for many stores but also a loss in revenue of more than $449 million in 2012.

"Our tax code was written before the internet was invented, so this is basically a tax modernization that will result in collecting some taxes that weren't previously collected," added Detert.

But Detert says the money generated from the internet sales tax will come with a positive for consumers.  "We're going to use this money to reduce the taxes on their phone bill, their internet, and cable tv bills"

Detert says the bill passed several committees with bi-partisan support.  So, she expected that momentum to continue when it hits the senate floor.