Airbnb Florida announced that the vacation rental platform collected and remitted over $45.7 million in tax revenue to Florida state and local governments on behalf of its hosts in 2017, up from $20 million in 2016.
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 40,000 Airbnb vacation rental hosts throughout the state. As a result, in 2017 Airbnb delivered over $33 million in sales tax revenue to DOR this year, as Airbnb vacation rental hosts throughout the state earned a combined $450 million in income through the platform.
Airbnb also initiated a campaign in 2015 to pursue partnerships with Florida counties that allow the platform to collect and remit local bed taxes on behalf of its hosts in each jurisdiction. Airbnb now has bed tax agreements in place in 39 of of the 63 Florida counties that assess such a tax. Among those 39 counties, Airbnb delivered a combined $12.7 million in local bed tax revenue.
The $45.7 million in tax revenue more than doubles what Airbnb was able to remit in 2016, which was $20 million. This can be attributed both to the continued growth of vacation rentals in Florida (Airbnb experienced 73% Florida growth in 2017) and the six major tax agreements Airbnb secured in 2017 — Miami-Dade, Broward, Sarasota, Polk, Hillsborough and Leon.
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 used to fund local tourism marketing ventures, meaning this revenue is helping counties to better brand themselves globally as family-friendly tourist destinations.
Statewide data indicates that the vacation rental community is complementing — rather than competing with — the Florida hotel industry. Florida hotels experienced strong growth in occupancy rates, prices and revenue during 2017 — in parallel with vacation rental growth for the year. This suggests that vacation rentals on Airbnb and other platforms are opening up the state to a new demographic of tourists by catering to travelers who are less able to afford hotels, those who desire to stay in neighborhoods or cities that lack hotels, and families who prefer to vacation together under one roof.
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. The company homes to secure additional county tax agreements in the coming year.