Sarasota County’s ‘bed tax’ collections off to good start in October, latest figures show

October figure up almost $119,000 over number for October 2016


These are the latest Tourist Development Tax figures for Sarasota County. Image courtesy Tax Collector’s Office

After breaking another Sarasota County record in the 2017 fiscal year, Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections are off to a good start in the current fiscal year, according to the latest report from the Sarasota County Tax Collector’s Office.

In October, entities that collect the “bed tax” — including Airbnb hosts — reported a total of $1,126,965.49 to Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates’ staff, according to the report dated Nov. 30. That represented an increase of $118,907.79, compared to the October 2016 figure.

In October 2016, TDT collections were only $30,451.50 higher than the total reported in October 2015, the records show, well below the year-over-year difference between the October 2016 and October 2017 numbers.

The current fiscal year began on Oct. 1.

Audits and other refinements of the data provided to the Tax Collector’s Office often result in changes in the numbers as the fiscal year goes on, Ford-Coates has explained to members of the county’s Tourist Development Council. In fact, the Nov. 30 report shows a higher total for the 2017 fiscal year.

At the end of October, the total for TDT collections that Ford-Coates’ staff announced was $21,257,596.35. However, the latest figure for the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30 is $21,316,337.56.

As for the locations where the tax is collected across the county, the city of Sarasota led the way in October, with 35.93% of the total reported to the Tax Collector’s Office. Siesta Key was in second place, with 25.12%.

Typically, over the past few years, the city has led through the early months and then Siesta Key has prevailed with the highest total by the end of the fiscal year.

The latest report also shows that since May 1, when Airbnb hosts began collecting the bed tax, the county has realized a total of $73,265.17 from those rentals of those accommodations.

Visit Sarasota County’s final quarter figures for the 2017 fiscal year show gains across the board. Image courtesy Visit Sarasota County

After Sarasota County ended the 2017 fiscal year, Visit Sarasota County reported that the number of tourists over the 12-month period had climbed 4.2%, compared to the 2016 fiscal year, and their spending was up by 6%.

The final quarter of the year showed that, thanks to the World Rowing Championships held at Nathan Benderson Park, the number of visitors climbed 20.2% in September, year-over-year. In July, the total was up 2.9%, compared to July 2016, while August saw 2.3% more tourists than the figure reported in August 2016, according to the data Visit Sarasota County provided the Tourist Development Council in mid-November.

Even with new hotels having opened in the community, the data showed, lodging occupancy was up 1.4% in July, 1% in August and 10.7% in September, with the latter figure again attributable to the World Rowing Championships.

No Visit Sarasota County data was available yet for October, Lynn Hobeck Bates, communications manager for Visit Sarasota County, told The Sarasota News Leader this week.