Home » About West Orange Chamber » Blog and News » Mainstreet Fairness, Unemployment Tax Relief and Business Rent Tax Reduction Headed to Governor
Mon April 12, 2021
On Thursday, April 8, the Florida House passed SB 50 on a bipartisan vote of 93-24, before the Senate passed the bill 27-12, sending it to the Governor’s desk. This bill is a huge win for Florida’s business community and contains three significant priorities.
SB 50, as initially filed, created an economic nexus to collect sales taxes from internet retailers and marketplace providers. Since 2011, the West Orange Chamber has advocated to level the playing field between online retailers and out of state businesses doing business in the state and businesses located in the state that already collect and remit sales tax to the Department of Revenue. It has been a two-decade priority of the Florida Chamber. The US Supreme Court decision, Wayfair v. South Dakota, paved the way for states to set an economic nexus instead of just a physical presence nexus. Florida is only one of two states that collect a sales tax that has not adopted the Wayfair decision. This is not a new tax, but a tax that was already due, and simply shifts the collection point from the consumer to the business.
If that bill wasn’t already a priority, the pot was sweetened when the House and Senate announced a plan to use the revenue collected from online sales to relieve an immediate $713 million tax increase on job creators in the form of increased unemployment compensation taxes. Money will be diverted from the state’s general revenue fund to the state unemployment compensation trust fund until the trust fund reaches a balance of pre-pandemic levels. The notices that were sent to job creators in late December will be recalculated after this bill is signed by the Governor. Additionally, the Governor signed an Executive Order at the end of March delaying the due date on unemployment tax bills to May 31st. The Florida Chamber led the charge in asking the Governor and Legislature to provide relief to businesses at a time when they are trying to keep workers employed and their doors open.
After the trust fund is replenished, the House and Senate decided they would use the money to buy down the business rent tax. This is the largest decrease in the business rent tax since the Florida Chamber has been fighting to begin chipping away at this tax. Florida is the only state in the country that charges a sales tax on commercial leases and each 1 percent reduction in the tax is a savings of $300 million plus to the business community. The bill will reduce the business rent tax from 5.5 percent to 2 percent.
These are huge wins for Florida’s continued competitiveness and post-pandemic economic momentum.
Article contributed from The Florida Chamber