Palm Beach County tax collector’s office warning Airbnb hosts to pay taxes

Palm Beach County tax collector’s office warning Airbnb hosts to pay taxes

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Rick Rose the co-owner of Grandview Gardens Bed and Breakfast in West Palm Beach says in the last decade the term "B&B" has taken on a new identity, but he warns running a vacation rental isn't as easy as signing up online.

Rose has owned his bed and breakfast for more than a decade, but he says the industry has changed.

"People think of bed and breakfast as Airbnbs," he said.

That's because like a bed and breakfast, an Airbnb rental can have a personal feel. But Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon says some hosts aren't following the proper channels.

"It's very serious for our county," she said.

Gannon says people who list vacation rentals are responsible for paying a 7 percent sales tax to the county and a 6 percent bed tax. She says you shouldn't rely on Airbnb to do it for you and they have a new system for hosts.

"We are requiring them to register and pay the tax to us," Gannon said.

Rose also hosts 23 properties on Airbnb and says he adds the bed tax into the cost of his rentals to make sure he can pay the county.

"When you read the information from Airbnb, they say they are collecting your taxes, but they don't go the extra step to find out, 'Oh, I'm in Palm Beach County, There's a bed tax that has to be collected and paid like many other counties,'" he said.

The county says it simply wants to make sure all vacation rental hosts are paying the same taxes.

"We don't collect the appropriate amount of taxes that we should in our county, and that should be spent in our county with the Tourist Development Council and any of the other entities that benefit from the collection," Gannon said.

A spokesperson with Airbnb says it advises its hosts and guests to be aware of and comply with local laws in listing and renting units listed on Airbnb.

The Airbnb Terms of Service state that “hosts alone are responsible for identifying, understanding, and complying with all laws, rules and regulations that apply to their Listings and Host Services.”

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