Tourist Development Tax - Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Tourist Development Tax?
The tourist development tax is a charge (5% in Seminole County) on the revenue from rentals of six months or less. This tax is in addition to the state sales tax (6% in Seminole County). The state sales tax is sent to the Florida Department of Revenue. The tourist development tax is sent to the Seminole County Tax Collector.
What is a taxable rental?
What is a transient accommodation?
How is the Tourist Tax Used?
Funds are used to advertise and promote tourism in Seminole County as well as funding grants for cultural and fine arts entertainment, festivals, programs and activities which promote Seminole County tourism. For more information contact the Seminole County Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 800-7832.
How do I collect the tax from my tenants?
First, you must register. A registration form can be obtained from this website or by contacting the Seminole County Tax Collector. An application must also be obtained from the Florida Department of Revenue for the collection of state sales tax. The Department of Revenue can be contacted at 1-800-FLA-DOR1 (1-800-352-3671) or locally at (407) 475-1200.
When is the Tax due?
The tourist development tax is due to the Tax Collector’s office by the 20th day of the month following the collection. If the postmark is the 21st day of the month or after, delinquent interest and penalties must be added. The reporting month is the month in which the rent is collected.
Who Must Pay?
Any person or entity who rents or leases any accommodation for six months or less. This tax applies to hotels, motels, apartment buildings, single or multi-family dwellings, condominiums, mobile home parks, and some vessels.
What Happens if the Renter Doesn't Pay the Tax?
Who is Exempt?
Anyone who has entered into a bona fide written lease in excess of six months is exempt from sales tax and tourist development tax on the lease payments. If there is no written agreement, the owner is required to collect and remit the state sales tax and tourist development tax for the first six months. The seventh month and every month thereafter will be exempt, provided the renter continues to reside at the same location. Anyone who is exempt from paying state sales tax is also exempt from the tourist development tax. These exemptions include full-time students, active duty military personnel, churches and non-profit organizations that have a sales tax exemption number from the Florida Department of Revenue. Contact the Tax Collector’s Office for further information.
What is a bona fide written lease?
What do owners and operators receive for collecting the tax?
Owners and operators are entitled to keep 2.5% of the first $1,200 of the tourist tax collected (maximum of $30.00) as compensation for this service. This collection allowance is subtracted from the tax on the return form - only the difference is paid to the tax collector’s office.
What happens if the tax becomes delinquent?
If the return and payment are not remitted by the 20th of the month following the reporting period, the collection allowance is forfeited. In addition, penalty and interest are assessed. The penalty is 10% of the tax due for each delinquent month or fraction of a month, not to exceed 50% of the aggregate. The minimum penalty is $50.00. Interest is also accrued for each month of delinquency. You will need to contact our office at (407) 665-7637 for instructions.
What records must be kept?
Any business dealing in guest/tenant/transient accommodations is responsible for collecting and remitting this tax and for maintaining records such as guest checks, general ledgers, tax payments and federal income tax returns. All tourist development tax records must be kept for five years and made available for audit at the place of business. Any records located outside the county must be returned to the audit site prior to an audit.
What about records maintained outside Seminole County?
How long do I have to keep the records?
Are my tax records confidential?
If I rent my property, what else must I do?
In addition to collecting the tourist tax and the state sales tax, an owner is required to pay tangible personal property taxes annually on the value of the rental furnishings. A return must be filed each year with the Property Appraiser’s Office declaring the value of the furnishings and appliances.
Any questions about filing a tangible tax return can be directed to the Property Appraiser’s Office at (407) 665-7506. The tangible tax bills are mailed each year in November at the same time as the real estate tax bills.
If a unit is available for short-term rental, this is considered to be an established business and the owner is required to pay a Business Tax Receipt (formerly known as an Occupational License) at the Tax Collector’s Office.
Information and registration for the Local Business Tax is available from the Tax Collector’s office. If your property is located in the city limits, you may also need a city Business Tax Receipt. Contact the appropriate city office for more information.