County set record in the 2021 fiscal year
With three months’ of collections yet to be turned over to the Sarasota County Tax Collector’s Office, the Tourist Development Tax — or, “bed tax” — revenue through June already has broken the record set last year, as shown in the latest reports.
The total amount of Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue that Tax Collector Ford-Coates and her staff received for the 2021 fiscal year was $31,057,057.17, their latest documents show. Through June of this fiscal year — which began on Oct. 1, 2021 — entities that collect the bed tax countywide have turned over to the Tax Collector’s Office $32,964,915.72.
Through the first nine months of the 2021 fiscal year, the total was $24,328,454.78, Ford-Coates’ staff reported at that time. Thus, the funds collected through June of this year mark almost a 35.5% uptick, compared to the figure through June 2021. The total thus far in this fiscal year is higher by $8,604,139.60, compared to the amount collected through June 2021, the latest data show.
Additionally, although Ford-Coates and her staff noted in the previous reports that the TDT funds were lower this May than in May 2021, the new data show that the revenue was higher this May by $105,094.67, compared to the amount collected in May 2021. The revised May collections figure is $2,993,447.27, which is up about 3.6%, compared to the $2,888,352.60 turned over to the Tax Collector’s Office in May 2021.
Further, the increase in TDT collections for April, month-over-month, is higher in the latest reports. The previous data noted that the uptick for April of this year, compared to the total for April 2021, was $855,997.17. The new reports put that increase at 863,448.65.
Ford-Coates and her staff have pointed out that audits and other enforcement actions can lead to changes from one report to another as a fiscal year goes on.
However, the June total was lower by $135,081.31 than the amount collected in June 2021, the reports say. The total for this June was $3,101,592.68; in June 2021, the amount turned over to the Tax Collector’s Office was $3,236,673.99.
The 5% tax is charged on rentals of accommodations for six months or less time. As of Oct. 1, thanks to a County Commission vote, the tax will rise to 6%.
Further, the latest reports show that the total amount of TDT revenue turned over to the Tax Collector’s Office by Airbnb through June was $3,870,914.24. That is 25% higher than the amount the Tax Collector’s Office took in from the online accommodations rental platform through June 2021: $3,096,662.
Altogether, rentals of online accommodations — including those advertised through the HomeAway.com and TripAdvisor websites — accounted for 19.17% of the TDT total through June, the latest reports show.
Traditionally, the City of Sarasota and Siesta Key wage a figurative competition over which can turn over to the Tax Collector’s Office the highest amount of TDT revenue by the end of each fiscal year. Through June, the city remained in the lead, with 27.46%. Siesta’s share was 25.83%.
Sarasota County’s tourism office, Visit Sarasota County, also collects tourism data each month. Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County, reported the following information to local government leaders for June:
- In June, the number of visitors was 127,300, a drop of 4.1%, compared to the figure for June 2021.
- Direct visitor spending in June of this year was $129,135,600, an increase of 9.7%, compared to the total for June 2021.
- Lodging occupancy was 74%, in June, which marked a month-over-month drop of 9%.
- The average daily rate for lodging in June was $224.52, an increase of 9.8%, compared to the figure for June 2021.
- Finally, 277,500 rooms were sold in June, which marked a 3.4% decrease, compared to the number for June 2021.