Transient rentals (short-term rentals) apply to rentals, leases, etc. of a period of time up to six months. These short-term rental owners must collect and remit taxes. Any person who exclusively enters into a bona-fide written lease for a period of six months or longer does not have to remit these taxes and does not need to register with the Escambia County Clerk's Finance Department.
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The Tourist Development Tax (TDT) is a 5% tax on the total payment received for the rental or lease of living quarters and accommodations in a:
Learn about the authority of these guidelines.
The guest pays the tax to you and you in turn report and remit the tax collected to the proper tax authorities.
The person/entity receiving consideration for the lease or rental of the above-mentioned facilities has the responsibility to collect the TDT from their tenants or guests and remit them to the Escambia County Clerk of the Circuit Court's Finance Office.
Generally speaking, anything your guest is required to pay to rent the property is taxable. Examples include, but are not limited to:
Deposits and taxes collected should not be included in the gross rental receipts.
Tax reports may be submitted online. The online filing system will calculate your taxes and once submitted you can print and mail your payments.
These taxes are remitted to the Escambia County Clerk of Court depending upon the taxpayer's reporting period. This period may be monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually; consistent with your filing status with the Florida Department of Revenue. These taxes are due on the first of the month following the month of collection from tenants and guests, and are considered delinquent if not postmarked by the 20th of the month. Dealers must file a tax return based on their reporting period, even if no rental receipts were collected during that period. View the Escambia County return form and instructions (PDF).
If the TDT return is postmarked on or before the 20th of the month following the collection month, a collection allowance is kept by you as compensation for collecting the tax. The collection allowance is 2.5% of the first $1,200 of taxes collected up to a maximum of $30. Beginning January 1, 2013, returns and payments must be filed electronically to qualify for you to be eligible for a collection allowance.
If a property manager handles your property, the property manager may have their own TDT account and will submit the TDT payments on your behalf by a unit reporting return. You should verify this with your property manager. Unit reporting provides an itemized list of all properties and rental amounts collected each month. However, you should be aware that as the property owner, you are ultimately responsible for the payment of the taxes. Any failure by your property manager to pay the tax may result in penalties being applied against you, as the property owner.
If a property manager handles your property, but you also directly rent the property yourself, you are responsible for submitting TDT returns for the taxes you collect from these rentals. You will need an individual TDT account on which to report these rentals.
Throughout the year, you should update your property list using this Add/Delete/Change Form (PDF) and email it to us. Additions should be emailed as soon as possible, but no later than 12 noon Central Standard Time on the 17th for the month the tax report is due. Deletions should be emailed after the final report has been made for the property being deleted. Information required when updating your PML includes the property:
Returns, along with the payment, must be filed each filing period by the 20th of each month even if there is no income to report. Late reports are subject to the loss of the collection allowance, interest, and penalties. Penalties are assessed at the rate of 10% of the taxes due for every 30 days or fraction thereof up to a maximum of 50% of the taxes due or $50 whichever is greater.
The charge for a dishonored check is based on the current rate established by Escambia County Ordinance/Resolution and/or Florida Statutes. Also, the collection allowance will be disallowed and penalties and interest will be assessed at the stated rates if payment is not received on or before the delinquent date of the month in which the tax is due. Excessive returned checks will result in the requirements to submit future tax, penalty and interest payments in cash or by money order.
All TDT records must be retained for five years and made available for an audit at the place of business, within Escambia. Records shall include, but not be limited to:
After June 1, 2006, all tourist development taxes on Navarre Beach property is payable directly to Santa Rosa County.
The TDT return is due on the 1st of the following calendar month and must be postmarked on or before the 20th of the following calendar month for which the liability applies (June rental is due July 1 must be postmarked by July 20th).
Per Florida Statutes, you must file a return even though no monies were collected (a zero return).
According to Florida Statute 212 transient accommodations means any living quarters or sleeping accommodations in any:
For a more definitive listing please review the statute.
As addressed in Florida Statutes Chapter 196.061: The rental of an entire dwelling previously claimed to be a homestead for tax purposes shall constitute the abandonment of said dwelling as a homestead, and said abandonment shall continue until such dwelling is physically occupied by the owner hereof. However, such abandonment of such homestead after January 2 of any year shall not affect the homestead exemption for tax purposes for that particular year so long as this provision is not used for 2 consecutive years.
If a tax exemption certificate were presented at the time of rental, the individual or company, etc. would be exempt. It is important that the owner make a copy of this exemption to keep for their records. If a person continuously resides at one location for a period longer than six months, that person is exempt. Other examples include:
Please refer to Florida Statute 212 for a more detailed explanation of exemptions.
The collection allowance lets the taxpayer keep a portion of the money that must be remitted for submitting the return in a timely manner. The collection allowance is 2.5% of total tax due up to $30, if the return is postmarked by the 20th of the month following collection. Beginning January 1, 2013, returns and payments must be filed electronically to qualify for you to be eligible for a collection allowance.
Your agent may collect taxes and remit returns on your behalf. Even though there is a written agreement between the property owner and the agent, the property owner still remains responsible for the tax obligation if the agent fails to collect and remit these taxes.
Escambia County, per Florida Statutes 125 and 212 and Escambia County Ordinance 98-39, is a self-administering County of the tourist development plan and fund. This means that instead of the taxpayer remitting all taxes directly to the Florida Department of Revenue (FDOR) which in turn remits monies back to the County, that portion should be remitted directly to the County.
Per Florida Statutes 125 and 212, and Escambia County Ordinances 1989-7, 1992-30, and 2003-11 allow Escambia County to use these tax monies to acquire, construct, improve, etc. publicly owned and operated convention centers, sports stadiums or arenas. Monies are used to promote and advertise tourism. Monies may be used to fund convention bureaus, tourist information centers, etc. Monies also may be used in beach improvement, maintenance, restoration, etc. For more information please review the statutes.
If your short-term rental property is located in Escambia County, you must collect 7.5% for the State Sales Tax and 5% for Escambia County's TDT.
Per Florida Statutes 125 and 212 and Escambia County Ordinance 89-7, the County is responsible for collection and administration of the tax and allows Escambia County to collect information it deems reasonable and necessary. Part of the information required by Escambia County, is information on the individual's or company's bank account (please review registration form (PDF)).
If cleaning fees, processing fees, amenities fees or other fees appear on the guest's bill and are a required fee for the use of the accommodation, then "yes", those fees should be considered taxable for both State and County tax rates.
Per Florida Statute Section 213053, the details of taxpayer information is exempt from public records requests. However, the County is allowed to exchange information regarding taxpayers and businesses with the State of Florida Department of Revenue.
All records that substantiate all of the transient rental sales must be kept for a period not less than five years from the date the return was field or was required to be filed, whichever is later, these include, but not limited to:
Transient rental sales and activity are subject to tax audits. Documents referenced above are a sample of the documents necessary to perform a thorough audit. The Clerk of the Circuit Court Treasury Audit Division will send written notification of an audit. This notification will be submitted at least 30 days prior to any audit.
The owner or operator must make the records available at the rental location or place of business in Escambia County. If the records are not immediately available in Escambia County, the owner or operator must return the records to Escambia County at their own expense so the auditor can examine the records during the audit. The party responsible for the taxes may be assessed additional taxes, penalties and interest if the records do not comply with the laws and ordinances of the State and County.