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Airbnb says county agreements should lead it to equal 2016 tax payments in first six months

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Vacation home-rental marketing giant Airbnb said Tuesday its expanding list of tax agreements and its growing business should lead it to equal last year’s total sales and tourist tax payments just in the first six months of 2017.

The company announced that its five-month totals in sales and tourist taxes paid to the state and individual counties surpassed $18 million through June 1, so it expects to clear $20 million by July 1. Last year the company’s combined total for the entire state and all of its counties was $20 million, the company stated in a news release issued Tuesday morning.

“The state of Florida and so many of its counties are emerging as national models for how to harness the economic power of home sharing,” Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s global head of policy and communications, stated in the release. “We are committed to serving as good partners to Florida’s local governments, and we will not stop working until every Florida county is benefiting from new home sharing tax revenue.”

The company coordinates and markets individual homes and even private bedrooms put up for nightly rental to tourists and other visitors. It’s an emerging segment of the lodging market that is both challenging traditional hotels and motels and complicating tax collections. State and local governments may struggle to identify who’s renting out bedrooms or entire homes.

Airbnb has been negotiating and signing contracts with the state and individual counties to act as an agent to charge, collect and remit taxes from its client owners of vacation rental homes. The company said it now has such agreements in place with 39 of the 63 Florida counties that charge local bed rental taxes.

A number of those agreements have been signed in the past few months.

Airbnb reported that in the first five months of 2017 it had delivered $14.6 million in new sales tax revenue to the Florida Department of Revenue.

Among individual counties, Airbnb reported the following bed tax payments through the first five months of 2017: Pinellas, $774,500; Orange, $700,500; Miami-Dade, $522,000; Polk, $192,000; Hillsborough, $182,000; Broward, $191,000; Lee, $153,000; Okaloosa, $144,000; Sarasota, $86,500; and Santa Rosa, $32,000.

 

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Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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