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I have an elderly parent in Florida who has discovered she can buy and sell antique furniture through EBay. Her business started out small and now it is more than just a few pieces here and there. It is my understanding that she needs to address sales and use tax matters. What happens when the out of state seller did not collect any sales tax on an item?

Sales & Use Tax Florida
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James Sutton, CPA, Esq
The simple answer to your question is that if your parent sells more than 2 items in 12 months, then they should register with the Florida Department of Revenue as a dealer and begin collecting and remitting sales tax on at least the sales tax Florida customers (and customers that take possession of the furniture in Florida). Failure to do so will make your parent liable for the tax that should have been collected and it is technically illegal to be an unregistered dealer.

The sales to out of state customers probably do not include an obligation to collect and remit tax, but your parent will need to be very good at keeping the shipping documents for every sale to prove that the items left the state via common carrier. I would also caution that your parent should not deliver furniture to other statute personally or (s)he could be considered a dealer in the state of delivery as well. Common carrier is much safer from a tax perspective.

When you parent registers to be a vendor there will be an issue that comes up regarding the past sales. It might be better to register through the voluntary disclosure program to remove any penalties and make the process much easier.

I hope this answers you question and good luck with the new business! If you have more questions, then I would be glad to help.

James Sutton, CPA, Esq.
Leave a Comment 169 weeks ago

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Michael Fleming
James gives some great advice on the sales side. On the purchase side it all depends on what your mother is doing with her purchases. If the purchases are for use in the business or personally and not for resale than she should be self accessing use tax and remitting it to the state. If as Brian suggests that she should be registered than she should be issuing a resale certificate on all her purchases for resale and then collecting tax on the sales to her customers.
Leave a Comment 166 weeks ago

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