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Airbnb on track to shatter tax revenues brought in last year

Airbnb has collected more than $18 million in taxes for Florida state and local governments so far this year, putting it on a fast-track to shatter its 2016 tax collection of $20 million.
[Bloomberg file photo]

Published Jun. 27, 2017

Airbnb has collected more than $18 million in taxes for Florida state and local governments so far this year, putting it on a fast-track to shatter its 2016 tax collection of $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," Chris Lehane, Airbnb's global head of policy and communication, said in a press release Tuesday. "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."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Airbnb has generated $630,000 in tax revenue in Pinellas County since December

On behalf of its 35,000 Florida hosts, Airbnb can collect two taxes: the sales and bed tax, depending on the county. These taxes are generally being used to fund local tourism efforts.

The sales tax is collected and distributed directly to the Florida Department of Revenue under a partnership begun in 2015. As of June 1, those taxes totaled $14.6 million.

Airbnb also collects and remits a bed tax in 39 of the 63 Florida counties that assess such a fee. In Tampa Bay, the company collected close to $1 million.

This year, the home sharing platform has established new tax agreements with eight Florida counties including Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Broward, Sarasota, Polk, and Leon.

Ben Breit, spokesperson for Airbnb Florida, said the company hopes to eventually establish a tax collection agreement with all of the Florida counties. "It's a win, win, win," he said.

Each county will receive the correct amount of taxes from Airbnb hosts, Breit said. The company alleviates the tax-filling process from its users. Airbnb also helps ensure that its hosts are paying their fair share of taxes.

"It's an ambitious plan, but we want to get it done," said Breit.

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