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I'm writing this post because Airbnb has still not been able to respond to me how they are handling occupancy taxes for every reservation I get. I have 3 homes in Orlando Osceola county and I am expected to collect 13.5% to cover sales tax (6%), a discrecionary tax (1.5%) and tourism development taxes to a tax agency called Bruce Vickers of (6%). As of Monday 2/17/2020 Airbnb had been charging only 7.5% to each guest for each reservation and submitting those taxes to the state but was never collecting the other 6% to the county. They allege that I would have to charge each guest manually and have them pay at the time of check in and or stand up a resolution for each reservation. That seems ludicrous to me to have to do that for every single reservation.
Now since Monday 2/17/2020 they quietly updated the amount they charge under occupancy taxes from 7.5% to 15.3%. I initially thought it was because now they will be collecting all 3 taxes so I called up the county tax agency (Bruce Vickers) to see if this was the case and they said NO!. They have not arraigned anything with Airbnb to forward taxes to them.
Now my main question is what is Airbnb doing with the additional taxes they are charging my guest and to whom is this money going to? Why can't someone from Airbnb give me a straight answer as to why they are now collecting 15.3% under occupancy taxes and what are they doing with the money after providing 7.5% to the state?
Can we also please talk about how, making a check payable to "Bruce Vickers Tax Collector" as opposed to say, "Osceola County" seems sketchy AF?!?!
Both my attorney and my manager thought this was a scam when we got an email from brucevickers.com saying we owed tourism taxes. With all the taxes we're paying in Osceola County, you'd think they could get a proper domain and bank account... part of me STILL thinks this is a giant scam. I run a small business... my customers don't write checks made out directly to me.
I'm just going to tag @Airbnb in here, and also @Lizzie, @Stephanie and @Quincy, the Community Centre admins, so they can relay your questions to the Airbnb's relevant Tax Dept as a matter of urgency, and hopefully, get you a timely response.
@Airbnb @Lizzie @Stephanie @Quincy Anything you can do to help me with this?
Since I've brought this issue up to Airbnb customer service they switched back down to only collecting 7.5% which takes us back to square one.
There has to be a way for Airbnb to help us collect the remaining 6% directly from our customers without having to open a resolution complaint with the customer for every single reservation we get. I should be able to collect those taxes and have that money included in my payout so that I can forward it to the county to pay the local taxes.
Why is this so difficult to handle for Airbnb.
Any help will be really appreciated.
Thanks for the tag @Susan17 !
@Christian1193 I've shared you post with the team, will reply here once I get feedback.
Thanks for your patience,
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Thank you very much, I would love for an answer on this please.
Hiya @Christian1193 ,
Just got back from customer support, they have updated the notes on your case and urge you to drop them a call at your earliest convenience regarding this matter.
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I got an email from Sierra with a quick note saying that the tax collection issue has been resolved and any future reservations will be charged the correct tax amount. I went ahead and checked my listings and nothing has changed. Airbnb is still just charging 7.5% under occupancy taxes.
I wish someone would just give me a straight up answer and not these one liners like all the customer service reps seem to give me about this issue.
Please, please anything you can help with regards to this would be very helpful.
They keep brushing me off and tell me that I need to collect the extra taxes at the time of check in or by opening a resolution for every single booking I get. That sounds ridiculous!
This is a business and I manage multiple listings I don't see each guest that walks into my vacation rentals.
Airbnb's documentation even goes as far as saying that I can opt-out of automatic tax collection and add my own taxes which are then forwarded directly to me so that I can in turn pay them on my own. Why are they not giving me this option?
This is from Airbnb's documentation directly:
If you opt out of default tax collection and add your own taxes, we collect the taxes on your nightly rate and fees but pass them to you to remit to the tax authorities. If you add taxes in addition to the taxes we automatically collect, we pass your additional taxes to you to remit to the tax authorities, and we remit the taxes we automatically collect directly to the tax authorities. If you opt out of default tax collection, adding a tax replaces all default taxes.
I too own in Osceola County and am looking for clarity on this issue. I can see that Air B n B is collecting and remitting the 7.5% tax still. But do they collect the additional 6% Osceola County Tax and pass it through to me for me to submit? Or do I need to add that tax as a custom tax in order for it to be collected?
@Melanie1032 When on your listing, in the breakdown of the price for a booking, I can see the detail of the taxes that are included - does this maybe help?
If not, it might be worth checking if there is a local Host Club near you. Local Hosts might have more experience and info on this that'd be useful. 🙂
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I am not a tax professional, nor an Airbnb configuration expert, so please take this post for what it is (my opinion).
If Airbnb is only collecting and remitting the Florida 7.5% sales tax on your rentals, then (per Airbnb) you need to add the 6% Osceola Tourist tax to your listing. After adding the 6% tax, Airbnb should:
1. Start charging guests 13.5% tax,
2. Continue submitting the Florida 7.5% sales tax on your behalf, and
3. Start collecting and sending you the Osceola 6% tourist tax to pay yourself.
See this Airbnb help page:
Under the Adding taxes to your listing section, it states:
...If you add taxes in addition to the taxes we automatically collect, we pass your additional taxes to you to remit to the tax authorities, and we remit the taxes we automatically collect directly to the tax authorities. ...
Under the How to add taxes to your listing section, it states:
..You’ll need to turn on professional hosting tools to access this feature...
..If we collect and remit taxes for your listing (default taxes)..The second way you may be able to add taxes to a listing is to add more taxes to the taxes we already collect. We’ll collect these taxes in addition to the taxes we automatically collect on your behalf.
So, to have Airbnb charge your guests 13.5% tax, send 7.5% to Florida on your behalf, and send you the 6% Osceola county tax, you must:
1. Enable Airbnb Professional Hosting Tools on your listing. See this link on how to do that: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/2499/
2. Go to your Listings page and click the listing that you want to edit. On the left side, select "Pricing and availability". Select "Taxes". On the right, click the Edit button next to Taxes.
3. On the Occupancy Tax Collection page, click the "Add a tax" button.
4. On the Add a tax page:
--- Select the Tax type from the drop-down menu. I selected "Tourist tax" for Osceola county taxes.
--- Select the Type of charge and then add the amount being collected in the box under Amount. I selected "Percentage per booking" and a 6% amount.
--- Select the Taxable Base charges.
--- Add the Business tax ID and Accommodations tax registration numbers.
--- Under the "Does your jurisdiction provide exemptions for long-term stay?", choose Yes. Enter 180 days. See this link for further info: https://osceolatax.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/New-Local-Business-Tax-Receipt-Tourist-Tax-Applica...
--- Agree to the terms and click Save.
This worked for me. Hope it helps you.
Thank you I will give them a call now.
Did you receive any explanation from Airbnb as to why they had increased the take to15.3% in the first place?
No nothing and all of a sudden they brought it back down to 7.5%. It was at 15.3% for about 4-5 days before they put it back down to 7.5%.
I have an open ticket with a customer service rep named Sierra but its been 2 weeks and I have not had any replies all they say is that they are still investigating the issue and they won't escalate it with anyone for me.
I'd imagine they were getting a lot of calls demanding answers, @Christian1193 - it's been a hot topic across a lot of Airbnb-related groups and forums. Lot of very unhappy hosts in Florida at the moment.
Another day, another Airbnb financial irregularity. May just be a "glitch" in the system, of course, like all the others.. Whatever the reasons for the discrepancies though, I'm sure Airbnb will be along momentarily with a perfectly rational explanation, and a simple breakdown of exactly where the tax funds collected from your guests are being dispersed - which is obviously your right, as a host and as a taxpayer, to know.
It doesn't answer your questions, but the Wired article below (from last year) may be of interest to you, if you haven't already seen it. Airbnb's relationships and tax agreements with local governments, - particularly in regions where the have VCAs (Voluntary Collection Agreements) are complex, convoluted and opaque. Like so much else with this company.
Inside Airbnb's Guerrilla War Against Local Governments.
Also, this has several implications for both guests and host.
They are forced to pay 15.3% thinking they are paying their taxes yet being short changed by Airbnb because only a portion is going for that.
Out of those taxes only 7.5% is going towards state taxes and the rest nowhere to be seen, yet we still have to pay the the county tax agency an additional 6% out of our pockets.
Why is Airbnb pocketing the difference under the premises of occupancy taxes?
Airbnb please explain yourself!