Airbnb urges hosts to pay local taxes on short-term rentals in Palm Beach County

The Airbnb advisory signals better relations with the county, which may simplify its rules for vacation-rental owners this week

Airbnb unit in Flamingo Park area of West Palm Beach (Credit: Greg Lovett | Palm Beach Post)
Airbnb unit in Flamingo Park area of West Palm Beach (Credit: Greg Lovett | Palm Beach Post)

Airbnb provided tax-compliance guidance to its hosts in Palm Beach County as commissioners prepared to vote on revised rules for short-term rentals listed on Airbnb and other online platforms.

Airbnb advised Palm Beach County hosts in an email to establish accounts with the county government for paying the Tourist Development Tax and obtaining a Business Tax Receipt from the Palm Beach County Tax Collector.

Failure to establish accounts to pay county taxes “could prevent you from hosting short term stays in the future,” Airbnb said in the email to Palm Beach County hosts.

Rick Rose, owner of Grandview Gardens Bed & Breakfast, told the Palm Beach Post the email to hosts is a positive sign that Airbnb is “no longer working against local authorities.”

County commissioners are expected to vote this week on an ordinance that revises short-term rental rules set late last year.

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The existing rules are part of an ordinance that county commissioners approved last October, which led Airbnb and HomeAway to file lawsuits against the county in November.

A judge issued a stay of the Airbnb and HomeAway cases pending the final reading of the ordinance revising short-term rental rules, now scheduled during commissioners’ meeting Tuesday.

The existing rules for short-term rentals require owners to register their properties with the county and pay the county’s Tourist Development Tax, or “bed tax.”

The revised rules would eliminate a requirement that hosts submit a property report once a month and remove “illegal listings and bookings” on short-term rental platforms. The revision also would remove a requirement that owners of short-term rentals report to the county tax collector all sites they use to market their units.

As of April 2, 880 owners of short-term rentals had active business tax receipts with Palm Beach County or pending requests for business tax receipts. [Palm Beach Post]Mike Seemuth