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Sarasota County, Airbnb agree on rental tax collections

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Sarasota County has reached an agreement with online lodging and hospitality company Airbnb for the collection of Tourist Development Tax (TDT) for short-term rentals, a deal that will result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue for the county.

The Sarasota County Commission Monday approved the voluntary collection agreement, in which the Sarasota County Tax Collector will begin the reporting, collection and remittance of applicable TDT funds, otherwise known as the “bed tax,” on Airbnb’s short-term rentals and accommodations starting May 1.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement in collaboration with Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates,” said Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer. “This is an important revenue source the county uses to promote tourism and encourage economic growth for the benefit of our residents.”

Based on 2016 data, Airbnb has indicated that TDT revenue from bookings made in Sarasota County on the Airbnb platform were approximately $355,000.

“This agreement levels the playing field for all short-term rentals in Sarasota County by requiring Airbnb to collect and remit the Tourist Development Tax,” said Ford-Coates. “I’m glad we could reach this agreement, which will bring hosts into compliance and generate additional dollars for our community.”

The typical Sarasota County host earns $7,000 in annual supplemental income from sharing their home. Airbnb hosts throughout the state often utilize this supplemental income to pay their mortgages, settle student debt or fund their own personal vacations.

“Our 700-plus Sarasota County hosts want to pay their fair share in taxes, and we want to help,” said Tom Martinelli, Airbnb Florida Policy Director. “This deal will bring valuable new revenue to the county while making the tax remittance process seamless and easy for our host community.”

Airbnb has entered into voluntary collection agreements with the Florida Department of Revenue, which collects for 22 counties that do not collect their own tax, as well as individual agreements with Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk and Orange counties, and municipalities, including Orlando.

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