Sales Tax Tallies Reveal Strong Pulse in Miami’s Economy

If sales tax collections are an indicator, Miami’s economy is a healthy one, observers say.

With the exception of February, sales tax collections have moved up steadily this year, said Ken Rios, a principal in the tax department of the Kaufman Rossin accounting firm. “When the economy is good, people spend money and sales tax collections increase,” he said.

The February decline, a relatively minor 2% might be attributed to widespread economic insecurity during the January government shutdown, he said.

Because Florida has no personal income tax, sales tax collections are crucial to the firm’s state and local tax practice.  Property taxes the only other major tax individuals pay, go to the county in which the property is located, and corporate taxes are a relatively minor contributor to state coffers.

Sales taxes may get a big boost if a bill currently before the State Legislature pass. Senate Bill 112 would impose sales tax on any business that does not have a physical presence in the state and conducts $100,000 in remote sales or completes 200 remote transactions annually.  Big companies like Amazon collect sales tax, but many smaller firms doing business online don’t.  This won’t affect mom-and-pops, or online sellers who advertise on Ebay, but it may cause buyers to see what’s available locally before they buy from an online retailer,” because they would no longer be avoiding sales tax, Mr. Rios said.

The 2020 Super Bowl scheduled for next February and a new Hard Rock casino slated to open in December or January could bring a substantial sales tax boost, because of auxiliary spending that will accompany both events, he said.

Ken Rios, JD, is a Tax Principal at Kaufman Rossin, one of the Top 100 CPA and advisory firms in the U.S.