Collier County to face off with Airbnb in lawsuit over bed taxes

Glenn Grant has been an Airbnb host in Collier County for the past three months. He says at the end of each visit, Airbnb leaves it up to him to charge a bed tax.

“They are making money off something other people or other companies, businesses in town are making money off of so they should do what is required,” Grant said.

Under Collier County rules, an owner who rents out their home for six months or less has to pay a bed tax each month. But it’s difficult to track hosts, so they want Airbnb to pay the taxes.

“If there’s a tax that needs to be paid, the more they can control it up front, the easier they will make it for people and they have to decide what the cost of doing business is when they start. Easy? No, but needed and should be done by law abiding citizens? Sure,” Grant said.

In a new lawsuit, county officials want all uncollected taxes from previous rentals as well. Money collected from the bed taxes go toward beach re-nourishment and tourism.

Collier County officials say that without an agreement with Airbnb, they could be missing out on thousands of dollars.

“Because it’s what keeps the area happening, it’s what keeps the hospitality industry strong and I don’t think anyone should be taking advantage of that and not paying their fair share,” Grant said.

It could also give taxpayers a break.

“That would be a significant help to the taxes that we have to pay every year. It’s not right that they’re not collecting taxes because it’s hitting everyone else,” said Naples resident Nicole Pico.

As of now, Airbnb already has contracts like the one Collier County is asking for with Lee and Charlotte counties.

The lawsuit between Collier County and Airbnb is set to go to court later this month.

Statement rom Airbnb
We first proactively engaged Collier County in early 2016 with an offer to collect and remit their bed tax on behalf of our hosts, as we currently do in 40 Florida counties and 370+ tax partnerships across the United States. We were disappointed when Collier County chose to sue Airbnb rather than continuing to work on a deal to help deliver bed tax revenue. We hope to resolve the litigation as soon as possible and reach an agreement with the county.
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