Airbnb sees revenue growth in state, county

Alicia Adams
Airbnb Florida announces more than double the growth in tax revenue from last year to this year. []

MILTON — Airbnb of Florida announced Feb. 12 the amount of tax revenue received by the vacation rental platform in 2017, including revenue received in Santa Rosa County. Airbnb collected more than $45.7 million in tax revenue to Florida state and local governments, which is more than double the $20 million collected in 2016. 

Through a website and smartphone app, Airbnb brings vacation destinations to travelers and allows nearly anyone to offer lodging depending on location in their home, apartment, boat or other setting. The concept was born in 2007 of two broke design school graduates, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, renting out sleeping space on air mattresses in their San Francisco apartment.

Airbnb partnered with the Florida Department of Revenue in 2015, allowing the company to collect and remit the state sales tax on behalf of the nearly 40,000 Airbnb rentals throughout Florida. As a result of this agreement, Airbnb delivered more than $33 million in sales tax revenue to the Department of Revenue in 2017. The rental hosts themselves earned a total of $450 million.

Santa Rosa County is one of the 39 Florida counties that partnered with Aribnb in 2015 to allow the company to collect and remit local bed taxes. The company delivered a total of $12.7 million in local bed sales tax for the 39 counties combined. 

According to an Airbnb press release, the large increase of tax revenue from 2016 to 2017 can be attributed both to the continued growth of vacation rentals in Florida — Airbnb at 73 percent Florida growth in 2017 — and the six major tax agreements Airbnb secured in 2017 with Miami-Dade, Broward, Sarasota, Polk, Hillsborough and Leon. 

In 2017, Santa Rosa County received $69,000 in bed tax revenue. 

“In terms of what types of business Airbnbs attract, it would be similar to those individuals renting condos,” Economic Development Director Shannon Ogletree said. “From cleaning services to more people shopping at grocery stores or food delivery services, from my past experiences, those parties staying at Airbnbs that have access to a kitchen tend to eat out less.”