I find recent letters concerning the so-called Internet sales tax to be lacking in facts and full of opinion portrayed as facts.
First, it is not a new tax. Florida and many other states have long-standing sales tax, more accurately use tax laws. Every time someone makes an untaxed online purchase they are supposed to notify the Florida Department of Revenue and pay the appropriate tax. Not many do. In case you are feeling guilty, a copy of Out-of-State Purchase Return (Form DR-15MO) is downloadable from the Florida Department of Revenue.
As to the claim that local brick-and-mortar stores are not losing business because of sales tax, there I have to strongly disagree. I work in specialty retail. Regularly, people will visit the store to touch, smell and feel a product they plan to buy online. Often I hear “You’re the same price as …” Yes, on many products our prices are the same as reputable online sellers. The next statement is “If you can knock off the sales tax I’ll buy it today.” Well, it is illegal for us to “knock off” the sales tax. Some people go so far as to ask us to list an out-of-state address on the receipt and claim that we shipped it there.
Then to add insult to injury as it were, many of those same people return with their online purchase and expect us to assist them with problems. Problems they would not have if the seller had shown them how to use the product when it was purchased. We certainly try to assist, but the person who purchased from us and paid the sales tax so we all can have police, fire, EMT, parks and schools is going to receive more attention.
New Port Richey