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Groups push to add sales tax to online purchases

A group of business and social service organizations argued Friday that Florida is missing out on at least $35 million in a tight budget year because it doesn’t collect sales taxes on Internet purchases.

Business groups such as AIF and the Chamber of Commerce say their brick and mortar stores are at a “clear, competitive disadvantage,” said Florida TaxWatch President Dominic Calabro.

“This is absolutely important to our state,” said Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach. “We are hurting for revenue.”

The legislation would have Florida join 22 other states who have changed their sales tax laws to voluntarily collect sales taxes on remote purchases. If Congress requires states to collect taxes on Internet sales, Florida could be in line for up to $1 billion, Calabro said.

The legislation has not been heard in a committee in either chamber, making its passage increasingly unlikely with only three weeks left in the session.