Avalara MyLodgeTax > Blog > Lodging Taxes > Bay County, Florida Airbnb bookings on the rise

Bay County, Florida Airbnb bookings on the rise

  • Feb 9, 2018 | MyLodgeTax

More than 69,000 people stayed in Airbnb vacation rentals in Bay County, Florida, in 2017, bringing in $12 million for Airbnb hosts. Forty-nine percent of those hosts are seniors, and 59 percent of those seniors are women.

While Panama City Beach officials said they welcome the visitors that Airbnb and other short-term vacation rentals bring in, the county does not partner with Airbnb because the online vacation rental platform does not disclose rental data.

Airbnb has deals with 38 Florida counties to collect county lodging tax on Airbnb bookings, but Bay County is not among them. Airbnb also has an agreement with the state to collect state and county sales tax on Florida bookings.

For Bay County Airbnb hosts, this means Airbnb automatically manages state sales tax and county sales tax, but hosts are responsible for collecting and filing county lodging taxes and any city taxes from guests themselves. Bay County hosts who use other booking platforms, such as VRBO or HomeAway, must collect and remit all state, county, and city taxes on their own.

In Bay County, the combined state sales tax and county sales tax comes to 7 percent, while the county Tourist Development Tax is 5 percent. Panama City Beach also levies a 1 percent business tax receipt. Short-term vacation rentals are defined as lasting six months or less.

Short-term vacation rentals are a controversial subject in Florida, and Panama City Beach is among the Florida communities that have placed restrictions on them. City law bans rentals of under 60 days in several single-family residential neighborhoods, including The Glades, Colony Club, parts of Bid-a-Wee and the Lullwater subdivision, and Open Sands.

Current state law allows local governments to regulate short-term rentals in some ways, but not to ban short-term vacation rentals or regulate how often properties can be rented out or how long guests must stay. However, local regulations that were in place by June 1, 2011, are grandfathered in. Panama City Beach’s short-term rental zoning rules were passed in 2006, so they are still effective.

A proposal currently active in the Florida Legislature would take away the rights of cities like Panama City Beach to regulate short-term vacation rentals. Senate Bill 1400, sponsored by Senator Greg Steube would place short-term vacation rentals under state authority and prohibit local communities from making their own rules on these types of rentals.

Thousands of short-term rental hosts in Florida utilize MyLodgeTax to navigate complicated tax licensing and filing requirements.

“I really do appreciate the time you take explaining things to me. This ‘tax business’ stuff is way out there in my mind … so when you explain it to me it does help.”

—Jill, Florida Gulf Coast host and MyLodgeTax user

Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Avalara Author MyLodgeTax
At Avalara MyLodgeTax, we provide the fastest and easiest way for short-term and vacation rental property owners to comply with their lodging or occupancy tax requirements. We manage your lodging taxes so you don't have to and guarantee your compliance — period. If we make a mistake, we'll fix it at no cost to you. No contracts, no obligation, no worries. Never worry about lodging taxes again. Contact us at MyLodgeTax@Avalara.com.