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Paying Your Florida Tourism Tax: Why it Matters and How to Do It

Florida Toursim Tax

What is the Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax?

Florida tourism tax on vacation rentalsIf you’re planning to buy an investment property in Sarasota County, you may be wondering if you need to pay a short-term rental tax known as a Florida tourism tax or bed tax. The answer is yes – and here’s why.

Tourism is one of the largest contributors to the local economy in Sarasota County. In fact, tourism has contributed more than $75.3M to the area’s economy since 2019, and this number continues to grow every year. As a result, the tourist tax on rentals is an important source of revenue for the county, helping fund things like tourism-related public infrastructure.

Paying your tourism tax is also important because it ensures that everyone who is enjoying the benefits of tourism in Sarasota County is contributing to its upkeep. This helps keep the community clean and safe for everyone and makes sure that there are enough resources to support tourism-related activities.

The funds collected through the tourist tax on rentals are used to support various county initiatives that make Sarasota an attractive destination for visitors. These include:

 

  1. – Maintenance of the beaches
  2. – Beach renourishments
  3. – Visitor marketing and promotional materials through Visit Sarasota County
  4. – Spring training stadiums
  5. – Tourism sports
  6. – Benderson Park Conservancy
  7. – Local arts & culture
  8. – Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s new facility near UTC Mall

How Do I Register and Pay My 6% Sarasota County Tourism Tax?

How to Pay the Sarasota County Tourism TaxIf you’re planning to buy an investment property in Sarasota County, it’s important to understand the Florida tourism tax requirements and how to pay your tourism taxes.

First, if you intend to offer short-term vacation stays, you will be required to register with the county tourism department and pay a tourism tax of 6% on any rental under six months.

Once you have your Certificate of Authority, you can begin collecting tourism taxes from your guests. Most short-term rental platforms, such as Airbnb and VRBO, will collect Florida tourism taxes on your behalf and remit them to the county. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that the correct amount of tax is being collected and remitted.

Follow the instructions below to complete your registration online.

Sarasota County Residents

Manatee County Residents

It’s important to remember that tourism taxes are due on a quarterly basis, with each payment due at the end of April, July, October, and January. Monthly payment options are also available. If you fail to make your tourism tax payments on time, you will be subject to late fees and possible penalties.

Next, you must register with the Florida Department of Revenue. We cover this process in the next section.


Does Longboat Key Have a Florida Tourism Tax?

a Florida tourist wearing a straw sun hat laying on the beachThe town of Longboat Key does not collect a tourism tax but there are steps you must take to must ensure your rental is in compliance.

The town of Longboat Key requires you to register your property prior to any transaction and obtain a business transaction receipt. To get this process started, contact the Town Clerk at 941-316-1999.

Failure to register is a violation and may result in a citation or a fine.

Next, create a tourism development tax account with either Manatee County or Sarasota County, depending on your location. For detailed information, see our prior paragraph on How to Register and Pay My 6% Sarasota County Tourism Tax.

Once you have registered your property and obtained the required tourism tax permits, you will need to post them in a visible location on your rental property.

Lastly, be sure to register with the Florida Department of Revenue. Keep reading for instructions on how to do this.

Further Reading: 9 Reasons to Consider Buying an Investment Home in Longboat Key


What is the Florida Department of Revenue Resort Tax?

If you thought you were done with Florida tourism taxes after registering and paying your tourism taxes to Manatee or Sarasota County, think again!

To comply with the Florida Department of Revenue tourism tax regulations, you need to register with them as well.


How Do I Register and Pay My 7% FL Department of Revenue Resort Tax?

how to pay your fl dept of revenue tourism taxThe application process can be completed online in about 15 minutes. Here’s how:

Each month you will need to file and submit payment, even if you do not owe anything. To help with the process, I have included instructions on how to file online.

Please be aware that to access the following site, you must have your user I.D. and password supplied by the Florida Department of Revenue when you register.


To summarize, remember that if you are renting your property for under six months in Sarasota or Manatee County, you will need to pay both the county tourism tax as well as the Florida Department of Revenue resort tax. Be sure to register with both agencies and file your returns on a timely basis to avoid late fees and penalties.

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