TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX FAQS
- The Inspector General’s Tourist Tax Office has the authority and responsibility to perform administration, collection, audits, compliance, and enforcement in support of the Lee County Tourist Development Tax per Lee County Ordinance 13-14.
- The Inspector General’s Tourist Tax Office is not a Regulatory Agency; we do not have the authority or responsibility to enforce any local laws or ordinances other than 13-14.
- To confirm if short term rentals are allowed in your local area or if regulations exist, inquire directly with your local municipality, city, town, village, home owners association, condo association, or others, for information relating to whether or not your short term rental property is in compliance with any existing rules, laws, or regulations governing short term rentals.
- If someone is renting short term in an area where it is not permitted, we can only ensure that they collect and remit the tax. Whether or not they should be renting is outside of our authority and responsibility.
Every time a visitor pays for accommodations, funds are generated for our beaches, ballparks and attractions.
Must I, as a homeowner, charge tourist development tax on my own residence, or other units that I own?
Yes, you must charge the 5 percent tourist development tax, as well as 6.5 percent Florida sales tax. Please contact the Florida Department of Revenue at (239) 338-2400 for information on Sales Tax.
If your short term-rental property is listed on an online website platform, such as HomeAway, VRBO, VacationRentals, Airbnb, TripAdvisor, FlipKey, misterb&b, or, any of their Subsidiaries, they will collect and remit the tourist development tax on your behalf. If you are using an online property management program such as Evolve, Hostaway, Guesty, Lodgify, etc., the property is listed on the online platforms, but the tourist development tax is directed to you. You are responsible to register, collect, and remit taxes for those rentals. To confirm tax related details of your short-term rental property, please contact the online website platform or property management program handling your property listing. If the short-term rental is advertised for rent on other online website platforms (ex: Craigslist) and/or you handle short-term rentals without using a dealer (property manager, real estate agent, real estate agency, rental agent, etc. ...), you are required to register and must collect and remit the tourist development tax on the gross rent received (rent plus any mandatory fees), or advise if your short-term rental is being handled by a tax collecting agent (bookkeeper, accountant, CPA, tax compliance specialist, etc....).
A dealer always handles my rental property. Do I need to apply for a tourist development tax account number?
No, the dealer is required to have their own TDT tax account number, and must submit your tax in a consolidated return, which includes the rental properties of all their clients. However, you should be aware that if the dealer fails to collect and remit the tax, after all provisions under the law have been pursued, then the owner is ultimately responsible for the payment of the tax.
Yes, you will need an account number, since you will be responsible for collecting, reporting, and remitting the tax during the months the property was rented without the use of a dealer.
Complete the application and return it using the options listed on the form. Once received, you will be assigned an account number, provided with a username and password, and informed how to complete your return and pay online.
I only rent property at certain times of the year. Am I required to fill out an application and pay the tax?
Yes. The Lee County tourist development tax has made provisions for seasonal renters to simplify the payment of the tax. Seasonal renters submit tax returns only once a year. See application for filing options.
If I rent to a resident of Florida or to a Lee County resident, do I have to collect the tax, since the renters are not tourists?
Yes, this is a bed tax, and is applicable to all transient visitors, whether or not they are residents of Florida or Lee County.
My property is used by family and friends at times during the year. Am I required to collect the tax from them?
If you collect rent from them, or accept any form of compensation in lieu of rent, you are required to file a tax return. Collect and remit the tax based upon the rent paid, or upon the fair market value of the compensation received in lieu of rent.
Tourist development tax is used for: 53.6 percent - advertising and promotion (VCB operations and Lee County Sports Development operations); 26.4 percent - beach and shoreline improvements and maintenance; 20.0 percent - stadium debt service (includes debit payments for the Lee County Sports Complex and JetBlue Park, as well as major maintenance for both).
If a dealer handles your property, the dealer is required to have their own tourist development tax account and submit the tax payments for all of their clients in a consolidated return. You should verify this with your dealer. In addition to the consolidated return, for audit purposes, dealers must keep records of all properties and rental amounts collected each month. Tourist development tax is a 5 percent tax on the gross rental amount. The dealer is responsible to collect and remit the tax from any person or other party who rents, leases or lets for consideration living quarters or accommodations for a period of six months or less. If the dealer fails to collect and remit the tax, after all provisions under the law have been pursued, then the owner is ultimately responsible for the payment of the tax.
What remedies are available if someone does not collect the tax, or collects the tax but does not report or remit it to Lee County?
A warrant can be issued and filed, creating a lien against real property and/or personal property in Lee County. Any person who rents living quarters for a period of six months or less shall be personally liable for the tax payment. The following offenses may also result in the individual being found guilty of a misdemeanor or felony, punishable as provided in F.S. 212.12, 775.082, 775.083:
• fails to file six consecutive returns
• diverts or converts tax monies to their own use or the benefit of others
• Suspending of your privilege to rent properties in Lee County, Florida
Those who have signed a bona fide written lease in excess of six months and one day, or have paid the tax continuously month-to-month for the first six months without a lease are exempt. Exempt status with the State of Florida Department of Revenue Sales & Use Tax is also exempt from Lee County Tax.
The Lee County Clerk of Court Inspector General Department enforces the tax.
The tax is also referred to as:
• Bed Tax
• Transient Rental Tax
• Resort Tax