If you're a Palm Beach County Airbnb "host" but you're not remitting bed taxes, read this.
Whether you rent out an entire oceanfront villa or a quaint backyard studio, property owners of short-term vacation rentals are part of Palm Beach County's tourism industry and need to collect bed taxes for the county.
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On June 18, commissioners are set to decide whether to approve a set of rules that may once and for all set the record straight on the responsibilities for "hosts," those renting out rooms on online platforms like Airbnb. Last week, the company sent out an email to Palm Beach County hosts advising them of two things: open a Tourist Development Tax, or bed tax, account and get a Business Tax Receipt number.
Here are key things to know:
The bed tax is 6 percent of total taxable rental receipts, on top of the state sales tax, and is paid whenever payment is collected. Bed taxes are used to promote Palm Beach County tourism, pay for beach restoration and put on cultural and sporting events.
The Palm Beach County Tax Collector's office provides a detailed how-to guide to create a bed tax account, which must be created for each rental property.
A Business Tax Receipt, which costs $33 per year for short-term rentals ($16.50 for a pro-rated period between April 1 and June 30), is also required per county code and can be applied for through this form. If you own a hotel, motel or bed and breakfast, this Business Tax Receipt application form is for you (and may need zoning approval if you're within city limits).
Hosts must submit bed tax returns to the tax collector each month and renew their Business Tax Receipt every year.
Hosts also need to make sure they're in compliance with the state sales tax requirement and the hotel and restaurant license requirements with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations, all of which is detailed here.
In contrast with some hosts' beliefs, Airbnb had previously told the county that it does not collect bed taxes in Palm Beach County, and Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon had said her office had never received bed tax money from Airbnb.
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In the revised and set of rules to be discussed next week, the county outlines that short-term rental hosting websites are required to collect the bed taxes. But it will be up to the hosts to remit these taxes to the tax collector. Airbnb has an agreement with the state's revenue department to collect and remit sales tax.
Any questions? Contact the Palm Beach County Tax Collector's Office at 561-355-2264 or fill out this contact form here.