Airbnb announced that the home sharing platform has collected and remitted over $18 million to Florida state and local governments in the first half of 2017. That included $153,000 in Lee County.
Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s global head of policy & communications, made the announcement during a keynote address before dozens of Florida mayors during the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting in Miami Beach.
In 2015, Airbnb collaborated with the Florida Department of Revenue on a historic agreement allowing the company to collect and remit the state sales tax on behalf of all 35,000 Airbnb hosts throughout the state. As of June 1, Airbnb has delivered $14.6 million in new sales tax revenue to DOR this year.
Airbnb also initiated a campaign in 2015 to pursue partnerships with Florida counties allowing the platform to collect and remit local bed taxes on behalf of its host in each jurisdiction. Airbnb now has bed tax agreements in place in 39 of of the 63 Florida counties that assess such a tax. In 2017 alone, Airbnb has secured new tax agreements with six large Florida counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, Sarasota, Polk, Hillsborough and most recently Leon. As of June 1, Airbnb has delivered $4.6 million in new bed tax revenue to Florida counties this year.
The combined sales and county bed tax totals come to $18 million within the first five months of 2017. That means by the halfway point of 2017, Airbnb expects to have collected the same amount of new revenue for Florida governments, if not more, than it collected in the entirety of 2016 ($20 million).
“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,” said Lehane. “We are committed to serving as good partners to Florida’s local governments, and we will not stop working until every Florida county is benefitting from new home sharing tax revenue.”
Collecting and remitting hotel taxes can be incredibly complicated. The rules were designed for traditional hospitality providers and large hotel corporations with teams of lawyers and accountants. For this reason, Airbnb has partnered with hundreds of governments throughout the world to collect and remit taxes, making the process seamless and easy for hosts while contributing new revenue for local comptrollers and tax collectors.
In Florida, county bed taxes are often used to fund local tourism marketing ventures, meaning this new revenue is helping counties to better brand themselves globally as preferred family-friendly tourist destinations. Additionally, three municipalities (all in Miami-Dade County) assess their own tourist development tax. Airbnb has secured a tax agreement with one, the Town of Surfside. The other two are Bal Harbour and Miami Beach. Airbnb would have been able to remit $2 million to Miami Beach in 2016 had a tax agreement been in effect.
Airbnb has a dedicated Florida policy team, based out of the Airbnb Florida headquarters in Miami, to partner with county tax collectors and policymakers to help accommodate their individual needs.
What follows is list of the 39 Florida counties where Airbnb has tax agreements in place, as well as how much in tax revenue has been collected and remitted to this point in 2017 ($5,000 and above).
Broward: $191,000 (took effect May 1)
Hillsborough: $182,000 (took effect February 1)
Indian River: $18,000
Leon (taking effect July 1)
Miami-Dade: $522,000 (took effect May 1)
Polk: $192,000 (took effect May 1)
Santa Rosa: $32,000
Sarasota: $86,500 (took effect May 1)
***Town of Surfside (in Miami-Dade County): $5,000