Amazon.com is promising to bring between 2,500 jobs and 3,000 jobs to Florida if state lawmakers and Gov. Rick Scott agree to a deal that would exempt the online retailer from collecting sales taxes for the next two years.
The retail giant, which has offered similar deals in other states, has told top state officials that it wants to spend as much as $200 million on two distribution centers but only if it can get a guarantee regarding taxes.
Currently, Floridians are supposed to pay taxes for online purchases but there’s really no way to enforce the law. The state can’t force out-of-state retailers such as Seattle-based Amazon.com to collect the tax unless it has a physical presence such as a warehouse or store.
If Amazon.com built a distribution center, the argument is that it would have to start collecting taxes from Floridians every time they buy something from the retailer. Some states have tried to go after online retailers by asserting that the tax is owed if the retailer has agreements with other merchants in the state, but those efforts have drawn lawsuits
Amazon last year reached a deal with South Carolina where it promised to build two warehouses and hire 2,000 full-time employees in exchange for an exemption from collecting sales taxes until 2016.