Airbnb hosts’ identities at issue in Collier County

Rental home owners are required to register with Collier County – contrary to current Airbnb policy.

Dec.December 17, 2016 03:00 PM

Airbnb-listed home in Naples (Source: Airbnb)

Airbnb and Collier County are struggling to work out an agreement under which the home-sharing service would collect tourist taxes from its hosts in the county.

Airbnb insists on keeping secret the names of people who rent homes on its platform, and the county wants the hosts to identify themselves and register their properties.

Collier County Commissioner Penny Taylor has raised concerns about possible tourist-tax evasion by Airbnb hosts.

“It’s a very important part of our collection,” Taylor told the Naples Daily News. “More and more and more homes are being rented out, especially in season here, because we are such a popular destination.”

The code enforcement division has closed four cases that began with complaints about Airbnb-listed rentals. Michelle Scavone, a spokeswoman for the county’s Growth Management Department, said the cases were closed because the owners became compliant or no violation was found.

Airbnb has reached tax agreements with 31 counties in Florida.

The tourist tax in Collier County funds tourism marketing, beach projects, museums and events. Collier requires remittance of the tourist tax on rentals with terms up to six months.

Rental home owners are required to register with Collier County – contrary to Airbnb policy – and to remit tax payments monthly.

The county tax collector’s office reported that the amount of tourist tax revenue collected from real estate agents who handled vacation rentals for their owners is down more than 11 percent, compared to last year.

“The only logical thing is people are still renting, but they’ve gone to Airbnb … because it’s an easy thing. It’s all online,” Jack Wert, Collier’s tourism director, told the Daily News. [Naples Daily News]Mike Seemuth

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