State of the state: Florida short-term rental rules
- May 10, 2022 | Jennifer Sokolowsky
In this series of blog posts, we offer an overview of the short-term rental lodging tax obligations for certain states, along with the latest rules on short-term rental operations.
Florida is an extremely popular vacation destination, and the short-term rental industry has thrived there. Short-term rental rules in Florida are well established at the state level for both taxes and operations. Vacation rental hosts may also need to follow laws specific to their local governments, although state law limits how far local governments can go in regulating short-term rentals.
Tax registration and filing
In Florida, if you charge guests for accommodations for rental periods of six months or less, you’re considered a transient rental accommodations provider and legally required to register with the Florida Department of Revenue for a sales tax certificate. Once registered, you’re responsible for collecting lodging taxes from guests and filing lodging tax returns with state authorities.
You may also be required to register and file lodging tax returns with local tax authorities, depending on your location.
Vacation rental lodging taxes
Florida vacation rentals are subject to state sales tax (and an additional discretionary sales surtax in some counties).
In some Florida counties, short-term rentals may also be subject to local option transient rental taxes. In some counties, these taxes are collected by state tax authorities. Yet, some counties collect their own taxes, which means hosts must register and file returns with the tax authorities in that county.
Municipalities may also have their own local lodging taxes that apply to short-term rentals, requiring local registration and filing.
Tax collection by short-term rental marketplaces
In Florida, Airbnb and Vrbo automatically collect and remit Florida state-administered lodging taxes when they receive guest payments. However, short-term rental marketplaces may not collect local and county taxes on your behalf. If taxes aren’t being collected for you — including when you collect payments yourself rather than going through a marketplace — you’re responsible for collecting and remitting them to state tax authorities.
In addition to state tax registration, Florida requires all vacation rentals to be licensed through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). DBPR does not regulate hosted rentals, where the host remains on-site during guests’ stays, so hosts who rent out rooms rather than a whole unit do not need to be licensed by the state. Local authorities may have their own business registration requirements.
Local vacation rental laws
Florida state law does not allow local governments to ban short-term rentals entirely or regulate the length of stays or their frequency, but local governments may pass rules to control negative effects of vacation rentals. The state law restricting local authority over vacation rentals was originally passed in 2011, and local short-term rental laws passed before June 1, 2011, are still valid.
However, local Florida governments have been very active in recent years in attempting to exert more control over short-term rentals.
For example, in 2021, after years of discussion, Collier County passed a law requiring vacation rental operators to register their properties. The ordinance went into effect on January 3, 2022. Under the new rules, short-term rental owners are required to apply for a registration certificate for each property they operate and must include their unique registration number in any advertising or marketing. Operators must also designate a contact that can be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to respond to issues. Hosts who fail to register may be fined up to $500 per day.
A similar law went into effect in St. Johns County in 2021. The ordinance also limits vacation rentals to 10 guests at a time, a rule that will be phased in over three years for existing rentals.
Miami Beach has been much more aggressive in regulating short-term rentals, passing a law in 2010 that banned short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods and allowed them in only a few areas. Beginning in 2016, the city started levying fines of up to $100,000 for breaking vacation rental rules. Florida state law bars local governments from fining residents more than $1,000 per day for the first infraction and $5,000 per day for repeat violations.
The law was challenged in court, and in 2020, an appeals court ruled that although the city must lower its fines, the rest of Miami Beach’s short-term rental law could stand.
Get help with Florida vacation rental taxes
Avalara MyLodgeTax can help vacation rental hosts automate and simplify lodging tax compliance on the local and state level, including tax registration and filing. For more on vacation rental lodging taxes in Florida, see our state Vacation Rental Tax Guide. If you have tax questions related to vacation rental properties, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you with answers.