Rentals of accommodations through Airbnb and other online platforms accounts for second-highest figure by location in November
On the last day of 2022, Sarasota County Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates and her staff had good news for Sarasota County’s Office of Financial Management: The county’s Tourist Development Tax — or, “bed tax” — revenue for November 2022 was higher by $863,713.99 than the sum for November 2021.
The total amount of money turned over to Ford-Coates’ staff for November 2022 was $3,084,313.19, another record, as indicated by records maintained by the Tax Collector’s Office. The amount marked the first time that month had seen the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue climb above the $3-million mark.
In November 2021, the total was $2,220,599.20, the latest TDT reports show. In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic began in Florida, the November revenue added up to $1,334,639.28.
The collections also exceeded the $3-million mark in October, which was yet another record.
The October 2021 figure was $2,032,704.20, compared to $3,370,262.65 in October 2022.
Altogether, for the first two months of the 2023 fiscal year — which began on Oct. 1, 2022 — the bed tax funds submitted to the Tax Collector’s Office added up to $6,454,575.84.
When Ford-Coates’ staff issued its initial report for October and November 2021, the total was $4,187,627.51. Thus, the amount recorded for the first two months of the 2023 fiscal year is up about 54%, compared to the figure for the first two months of the 2022 fiscal year.
The amount of revenue collected by hosts through the Airbnb platform in the first two months of this fiscal year was almost double the total for the first two months of the 2022 fiscal year, the new reports also show.
For October and November 2022, the amount was $1,242,506.58, Ford-Coates and her staff noted. The figure for October and November 2021 was $668,896.96. Thus, the total for the first two months of this fiscal year jumped nearly 86%, compared to the figure for those months in 2021.
For another comparison of how much Airbnb revenue in the county has climbed over the years, the total for the first two months of the 2020 fiscal year was $322,387.33.
Altogether, revenue produced by rentals of accommodations through online platforms — including TripAdvisor and HomeAway.com and their subsidiaries — led to the second-highest percentage by location in the county through November 2022: 25.43%. Traditionally, the City of Sarasota and Siesta Key have waged a figurative battle for taking in the largest amount of TDT revenue each fiscal year. The new reports from the Tax Collector’s Office show the city in the lead, with 29.62%. Siesta Key has accounted for 18.67% of the total for the fiscal year thus far.
For October and November 2021, the online platforms produced 22.1% of the TDT funds, the Tax Collector’s Office reported at that time. That figure compared to 30.97% for the City of Sarasota and 22.16% for Siesta Key.
The 6% tax is charged on rentals of accommodations for six months or less time. Prior to the Oct. 1, 2022 start of this fiscal year, the tax was 5%. State law allowed the County Commission to raise the tax, thanks to the 2021 record-breaking calendar year for TDT revenue, when the figure surpassed $31 million. The total for the 2021 fiscal year shown in the latest reports from the Tax Collector’s Office was $31,057,999.18.
The 2022 fiscal year figure was even higher: $40,285,023.32, the new reports note.
Audits and other enforcement actions can lead to changes in figures from month to month, Ford-Coates and her staff have explained.
In fact, the TDT revenue total for October 2022 jumped by more than one-third. The initial report put the number at $2,518,056.06.
Along with the monthly updates from the Tax Collector’s Office, Visit Sarasota County, the county’s tourism office, provides details to local government leaders that are based on research undertaken by a firm in Tallahassee, Downs & St. Germain.
The Visit Sarasota County report for November notes the following:
- The number of visitors staying in paid lodging grew by 18.5%, compared to the total for November 2021. The total in November 2022 was 119,800,
- Direct visitor expenditures added up to $108,378,200, a 1% increase, compared to the figure for November 2021.
- Lodging occupancy was 72.1%, a 10.8% uptick, compared to the November 2021 percentage.
- The average room rate was $215.28, a 2.1% increase, compared to the figure for November 2021.
- Total lodging room nights sold was 281,600, a 31.1% jump, in comparison to the November 2021 count.