This press release published at the request of the Alachua County Tax Collector’s Office.
The Alachua County Tax Collector’s Office has begun a County-wide education campaign to notify and inform short-term rental hosts (who are listing their properties on rental booking platforms) about their responsibility regarding Tourist Development Taxes.
It is required that all short-term rental (six months or less) providers collect Tourist Development Tax and file a return with the Tax Collector’s office every month. In addition to hotel and motel rooms, short-term rentals can include an entire single-family home, room(s) within the home, mother-in-law suites, and campgrounds.
Overnight guests pay Tourist Development Taxes which are remitted locally by the lodging provider. While AirBNB and other online booking platforms collect and remit both the 6% Florida state sales tax and the 1% local option tax, these online booking platforms neither collect nor remit, the required 5% Tourist Development Tax in Alachua County.
“It is the responsibility of the lodging provider, host or homeowner to collect and file Tourist Development Taxes on all paid overnight stays,” said Executive Director of Tax Matt Geiger. Over the past few months, the Tax Collector’s office has located and identified virtually every online rental host in Alachua County.
Homeowners and other short-term rental providers can create an account and remit tourist development taxes through the Tax Collector’s online portal. The Tax Collector’s Office has an informational website that offers video tutorials, a Frequently Asked Questions section, and a sample letter that is being sent to short-term rental providers.
To get started a host must register with the Alachua County Tax Collector by following a two-step process:
- Create a TouristExpress Login account online. Click the “Create an account” button. Fill out the New TouristExpress User Profile Registration and click “submit registration.” The Tax Collector’s office will then confirm your tourist express user login. The Tax Collector’s Office will complete this during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). A confirmation email will be sent to continue your application process.
- To complete registration and pay taxes after receiving the confirmation email, log in to TouristExpress, and click “add a property.“ Answer the question “no” to “Do you have a tourist tax account number for the property you’re renting?” Answer “yes” to “Would you like to add a new property to your account?” Then complete the next four pages of the application process.
- On page five, click “Submit to County.” You will receive an e-mail informing you of your new account number. Log into TouristExpress and click “File return” and submit payment as directed.
Over the next few weeks, the Tax Collector’s office will be mailing notices to property owners who list with online booking platforms with the goal of registering all short-term rental hosts by the end of summer.
Short-term rentals have a significant and growing impact on the local tourism industry. In 2018, over two million visitors stayed overnight in one of the county’s 58 hotels, motels, and inns generating revenue in excess of $106 million to local lodging providers. In 2018, the Tourist Development Tax, or bed tax, paid by tourists in Alachua County, was over $5.3 million.
Since 2014, short-term rental listings have grown exponentially and increased by 35 percent in the past year. The Tax Collector’s Office has identified approximately 600 short-term rental listings in Alachua County. Approximately 100 hosts have already registered and are in compliance.
For more information, visit the Alachua County Tax Collector’s Office website or call 352-264-6968.