Airbnb Will Begin Tourist Development Tax Collections In February
Airbnb, the Sunshine State’s leading community driven hospitality company, and the Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County, Florida announced today a historic agreement that will allow the home sharing platform to voluntarily collect and remit Tourist Development Taxes (TDT) on behalf of its hosts in Polk, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue for the county.
In 2016, Polk County emerged as one of the top statewide destinations for Airbnb guests, with strong growth among guest arrivals for areas such as Lakeland, Northeast Polk, and Winter Haven. Based on 2016, Airbnb projects that it would collect and remit well over $200,000 in new annual tax revenue to Polk County, based on 2016 reservations.
In 2016, Airbnb hosts in Polk County earned $4.8 million through hosting on Airbnb. Airbnb hosts in Central Florida and throughout the state.
Polk is now the 35th Florida county in which Airbnb is collecting and remitting bed taxes on behalf of its hosts, joining neighboring Hillsborough and Pasco as well as other large counties like Pinellas, Orange, Brevard and Lee.
Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, stated, “We began negotiations with Airbnb early in 2016 and stayed focused on making sure the agreement was not confidential and available for public inspection, that it was understood our office would continue to pursue back taxes due from prior rental activities, and that there were adequate mechanisms in place for our office to conduct audits and pursue enforcement actions.”
Tedder continued, “Relationships with rental platforms like Airbnb are critical for Polk County because our vacation housing represents a major portion of our rental properties. We are excited for the opportunity to bring in the important tax revenues due which are used to promote tourism and in turn generate greater economic activity in Polk. For example, we anticipate that greater revenues will now be remitted from major events such as Major League Baseball Spring Training and Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In.”
Polk County’s popular attractions such as LEGOLAND Florida, proximity to Central Florida’s other popular theme parks, and access to Florida’s beaches have made Polk an increasingly popular travel destination for the Airbnb community. Lakeland, the largest city within the county, is also home to Publix’s international headquarters.
Airbnb Florida Policy Director Tom Martinelli said: “Tens of thousands of travelers are authentically experiencing Polk County’s neighborhoods and attractions through Airbnb. While Polk County’s hosts and merchants are already benefitting from this economic impact, our collaboration with Tax Collector Tedder will unlock a new revenue stream for the County to continue marketing itself as a preferred family-friendly tourist destination.”
In the past month alone, Airbnb has announced it will begin voluntarily collecting and remitting bed taxes in Hillsborough, Okaloosa and Hardee, in addition to Polk. Airbnb has a dedicated Florida policy team, based out of the Airbnb Florida headquarters in Miami, to partner with county policymakers and help accommodate their individual needs.
Airbnb collaborated with the Florida Department of Revenue in December 2015 on an agreement that allows Airbnb to collect and remit the state sales tax on behalf of its hosts. Between the sales taxes and tourist development taxes, Airbnb collected and remitted well in excess of $20 million in 2016 to state and local governments on behalf of its hosts.
Lakeland Area Airbnb Growth
60+ active Airbnb hosts
About 1,000 guest arrivals in 2016, reflecting 379% year-over-year growth
Typical Lakeland host earns $2,100 in annual supplemental income through Airbnb
Typical Lakeland host rents his or her listing 2.5 nights per month
Northeast Polk Airbnb Growth
80+ active Airbnb hosts
About 1,000 guest arrivals in 2016, reflecting 64% year-over-year growth
Typical Haines City host earns $2,500 in annual supplemental income through Airbnb
Typical Haines City host rents his or her listing 1.5 nights per month
Winter Haven Area Airbnb Growth
20+ active Airbnb hosts
About 1,000 guest arrivals in 2016, reflecting 376% year-over-year growth
Typical Winter Haven host earns $4,800 in annual supplemental income through Airbnb
Typical Winter Haven host rents his or her listing 6.5 nights per month