PB County may tighten regulation of Airbnb and other home-sharing firms

Anne Gannon, the county tax collector, has sued Airbnb and similar companies for unpaid taxes

May.May 20, 2017 04:00 PM

Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon

Palm Beach County’s tax collector wants county commissioners to take action to ensure the collection of a tourist development tax on revenue generated by Airbnb and other home-sharing companies.

Anne M. Gannon told commissioners in an email that her office will propose an ordinance with “stronger enforcement tools” to tighten regulation of short-term rentals.

According to her office, as many as 5,000 residences in Palm Beach County are listed for rent on such home-sharing platforms as Airbnb.

Owners of residences listed as short-term rentals are required to pay a six percent tourist development tax.

Since 2014, Gannon’s office has been pursuing a lawsuit against Airbnb, HomeAway, Couchsurfing International and TripAdvisor for failure to pay the tourist development tax. The case is scheduled for trial in West Palm Beach starting Oct. 6.

Airbnb says it has agreements with 38 Florida counties, including Broward and Miami-Dade, to collect and remit tourist development taxes on short-term rental revenue.

County commissioner Steve Abrams told the Palm Beach Post that, before acting,  the commission must determine how many owners of short-term rental properties in Palm Beach County have turned “a home into a hotel.” [Sun-Sentinel]Mike Seemuth

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