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Wayfair: Formulating A Florida Response

Published: April 23rd, 2019

By: H. French Brown, IV Robert S. Goldman

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Wayfair Formulating A Florida Response


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Dean Mead state and local tax attorney, Robert S. Goldman, recently served as lead researcher and author of a comprehensive Florida TaxWatch report on a significant issue facing Florida’s legislature in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 21, 2018 decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. , 138 S. Ct. 2080 (2018). Read the report here:  Wayfair: Formulating A Florida Response.

As tax lawyers know, the issue in Wayfair concerns sales to in-state customers by out-of-state sellers (remote sellers) who do not collect use taxes for the customers’ states on those sales. Although the purchaser owes the tax, it is rarely paid when the seller does not collect it. Remote vendors sell products by the internet, telephone, and mail. Historically, the Supreme Court has held that a remote seller lacking a physical presence in the taxing state cannot constitutionally be required to collect the tax due and remit it to the state. That changed with the Wayfair decision.

The report traces the history of the use tax collection issue nationally and in Florida, identifies issues left unresolved by the Wayfair decision, and discusses options available to state policymakers. It concludes that Florida’s use tax statutes are obsolete and that some type of legislation is needed to provide guidance to remote sellers and the Department of Revenue so that they know what is expected of them.

This Florida TaxWatch report was written by Robert S. Goldman of Dean, Mead & Dunbar (Tallahassee), in conjunction with Kurt Wenner, Florida TaxWatch Vice President of Tax Research.