Airbnb reaches tax agreement with Miami-Dade County

County commission still needs to approve deal, which could bring in $8M a year

Mar.March 20, 2017 10:45 AM

Airbnb’s Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky (Credit: Getty Images) and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez

Airbnb finally reached a tax deal with Miami-Dade County, part of Airbnb’s fourth largest market in the U.S.

If the county commission approves the deal, Airbnb will collect and remit occupancy taxes on behalf of its roughly 6,800 hosts in Miami-Dade. Based on 2016 numbers, the short-term rental giant would collect $8 million, Airbnb spokesperson Ben Breit said. The first two months of 2017 are already up 25 percent compared to the year before, he noted.

The deal means that Airbnb would tack on a 6 percent tax for its hosts in most of the county. The company reached an agreement with Surfside in March, which is excluded from the county’s, and has not reached an understanding with Bal Harbour, also excluded. In Miami Beach, one of its biggest and most contentious cities within the county, Airbnb would collect a 3 percent convention tax, but not the city’s 4 percent bed tax.

Miami-Dade marks the 36th county in Florida with which Airbnb has reached similar deals. Within the county, though, the short-term rental platform has faced significant opposition from Miami Beach and city of Miami mayors Philip Levine and Tomás Regalado. They are set to hold a joint press conference on Monday regarding Airbnb and other short-term rentals.

On Friday, the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser issued a press release about homestead exemption fraud. In Florida, homeowners can receive a $50,000 exemption on the assessed value of their primary residence. The property appraiser’s office warned homeowners that they may lose their exemption status and “may also have to pay back taxes with a 50% penalty and 15% interest rate,” if renting their houses out on platforms like Airbnb.

The Miami City Commission will vote on Thursday on a Regalado-sponsored resolution requiring the city to “vigorously” enforce its zoning laws. Regalado has argued that the best way to tackle the issue is by going after Airbnb hosts in a way similar to the city of Miami Beach, which enacted legislation imposing $20,000 fines against homeowners who illegally rent their properties through Airbnb.

Under the Miami-Dade agreement, Breit said Airbnb would likely collect and remit taxes every two weeks. The company is also in talks with Broward County on a similar arrangement, he said. In Miami-Dade, hosts earned the most out of any other county at $113 million in 2016, and the tri-county area’s hosts raked in a combined $160 million, Airbnb said in December.

“South Florida is seen as the fourth [biggest] market for Airbnb in the U.S.,” Breit said. “This is a huge deal.” South Florida follows New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Airbnb, valued at $31 billion, brought in $1 billion during its latest round of fundraising, 10 percent of which came from China’s sovereign wealth fund, the China Investment Corporation. CEO Brian Chesky said last week that the company is on pace to launch an initial public offering in 2018.

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