‘Bed tax’ revenue through July up almost 32%, compared to total for same period of 2021 fiscal year

Record-breaking year continues, as noted in latest reports from Tax Collector’s Office

Sarasota County’s July Tourist Development Tax — or “bed tax” — revenue was lower by $9,653.83, compared to the amount collected in July 2021, Sarasota County Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates and her staff have reported.

The July TDT total is $3,318,602.41, the latest data show.

However, the total amount of revenue for this fiscal year is continuing its record-breaking climb, adding up to $36,346,393.20 through July. The money turned over to Ford-Coates’ staff for the entire 2021 fiscal year, which ended up being the highest amount ever collected in a county fiscal year, was $31,057,057.17, Ford-Coates’ staff note.

Through July 2021, the collections totaled $27,636,750.12, Ford-Coates and her staff reported at that time. Thus, the total through this July marks an increase of close to 32%, compared to the figure through July 2021.

And two more months of collections will be added into the accounting for this fiscal year, which will end on Sept. 30.

Further, the latest data show that the revenue turned over to the Tax Collector’s Office through June was higher by almost $50,000, month-over-month, compared to the figure in the initial report for June. The new data released by Ford-Coates and her staff put the June total at $3,150,333.60, compared to the $3,236,673.99 reported for June 2021. The Thus, the June total this fiscal year was lower by $86,340.39, compared to the June 2021 figure.

Further, the figures for April and May of this year have been adjusted up in the latest reports. The new April figure is higher by $868,885.29 than the amount collected in April 2021. The previous report put the uptick at $863,448.65.

For May, the new month-over-month increase is shown as $108,255.72. The prior report noted that the total marked an increase of $105,094.67, compared to the May 2021 figure.

Ford-Coates and her staff point out that audits and other enforcement actions can lead to changes in numbers from one report to another.

Further, the amount of TDT revenue collected by Airbnb hosts in the county totals $4,279,420.20 through July. That is up nearly 26%, compared to the total of $3,407,833.41 through July 2021.

Altogether, the TDT revenue collected by hosts of online rental companies, including TripAdvisor and HomeAway.com, made up 19.27% of the total through July, the new reports show.

The City of Sarasota and Siesta Key wage a figurative battle each fiscal year to see which can collect the largest amount of bed tax revenue. Typically, Siesta wins. Through July, however, the city is still in the lead this fiscal year, with 27.29% of the TDT revenue, compared to Siesta’s 26.47%, Ford-Coates’ latest data note.

The 5% bed tax is charged on rentals of six months or less time throughout the county. It will go up to 6% on Oct. 1, which marks the start of the 2023 fiscal year. The commissioners made that change after receiving state approval to do so because of the record-setting amount of Tourist Development Tax revenue collected last year.

Along with the monthly reports from Ford-Coates and her staff, Virginia Haley, president of the county’s tourism office, Visit Sarasota County, provides details to local elected officials on the research undertaken about tourism for her staff.

Haley noted the following for July:

  • Sarasota County welcomed 156,000 visitors in paid lodging, which was up 5.9% from the total for July 2021.
  • The July occupancy rate for accommodations was 76.1%, a drop of 5.1%, compared to the level for July 2021.
  • The average room rate in July was $221.17, an increase of 5.4%, compared to the July 2021 figure.
  • The number of room nights sold this July was 294,900, an uptick of 1.6%, compared to the total for July 2021.