Tax Collection on VRBO-Destin Florida

9 Replies

Can someone help me translate this?  VRBO is telling me on their website as I write my listing that in Destin, FL:

11% tax collected from guests

3-4  local, county, and/or state registrations/licenses

24 returns per year (remitted monthly)

1-2 secretary of state registrations (optional)

185 consecutive nights stay or less are taxable

What does this mean exactly? 

--  I understand collecting 11% tax from guests

--  3-4 registrations/licenses, do I have to register with these entities or does it happen through the closing process?

-- 1-2 secretary of state registrations? Is this to register a business (i.e. LLC)? Why would 2 be required?

--  Are they saying the 11% tax applies to anyone staying less than 185 nights?

--  24 returns per year? Why so many?? That is twice monthly. Is that to remit the 11%? sales tax?

Help!! What do y'all do for the process? Do you hire a service like Avalara (the service that provides the above information on VRBO)? I would appreciate feedback, ugh!

You may be required to register  with local entities  such as your city or county that may regulate short-term stays. You are required to collect sales tax on any rental that is less than 6 months and 1 day. You are also going to be required to collect a  tax for  vacation rentals such as what motels or hotels collect. You need to contact the State of Florida Department of Revenue  to register as a business for tax collection purposes. There may be other items that I am not familiar with because I am not involved in VRBO or short-term rentals.

John Thedford, Real Estate Agent in FL (#BK3098153)
239-200-5600

Thank you John. I will contact them. I appreciate your input.

Hi Cristy,

I have a property in Fort Walton Beach FL, which is in Okaloosa County, the same as Destin, FL. I use Avalara to manage my licenses and pay the taxes for me each month. I pay taxes to:

6% State of Florida (Sales Tax) $50/year 

5% Tourist Development Tax (Okaloosa County Tourist Development District) $17.50/year

This is why there are 24 returns per year: 2 returns filed per month (one for the state and one for the county.)

We also have to pay a Florida Resort Dwelling application fee each year ($90/year).

You have to register with each entity...it does not happen during closing on the purchase of the property. If you use Avalara, they register for your licenses on your behalf with each entity. Their fee is $20/month to make sure you secure all of the proper licenses and report and pay the taxes each month based on the figures that you report to Avalara each month.

I started using Avalara when we bought our first STR because I was pretty overwhelmed with everything in the beginning and the taxes were one thing I wanted to be sure we got right. If this is your first STR I would recommend using their service.

The last STR property we bought was in VA and for that one I decided to investigate how I could report the taxes myself instead of using Avalara. It turned out to be pretty simple....I just applied to the State of VA Dept of Revenue online for a license ($50) and I file electronically once a month. We also had to apply for a Special Use permit in the county where the house is located, but when it was approved I was given a license from the county. I mail a report & check to them each month.

Valerie, thank you so much for this great info! I see you are from Aurora, we are from Colorado Springs! This is all new to us but exciting. Do you have your own property management company? I am wanting to possibly work part-time in the field in addition to my other job just so I can learn more.

Note: if you ever convert to long term leases of 6 months and one day or longer no taxes due to State of FL. 

John Thedford, Real Estate Agent in FL (#BK3098153)
239-200-5600

Thank you John, I have heard that before. I guess that would work for a snowbird situation which I would be thrilled to have!!

There are two ways to make payment. One to the state of Florida that pays the state tax and the sales and use tax for okaloosa county. Then okaloosa county has a site for to remit the remaining taxes. It’s easy. You enter the collected rent and they’ll do the calculating for you

When I had properties on short term rentals I hired Avalara and they got me the licenses I needed and did the monthly pay. You just have to report on their website. I thought it was worth it. 

@Cristy George in Florida you also should be registered as a vacation rental dwelling with the Florida Department of Professional Regulation. No use paying tax to Tallahassee and getting dinged for not having a license!

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