Advertising a short term rental on an online website platform?

If your short term rental is listed on an online website platform; such as VRBO, HomeAway, FlipKey, or Craigslist, you must collect and remit the tourist development tax on the gross rent received (rent plus any mandatory fees). If you advertise your short term rental on Airbnb, Airbnb will collect and remit the tourist development tax on your behalf. If the short term rental is advertised for rent on other websites and/or you handle short term rentals without using a “Dealer” (property manager, real estate agent, etc.), you are required to register and must collect and remit the tourist development tax, or advise if handled by a tax collecting agent (bookkeeper, CPA, etc.).

A Dealer always handles my rental property. Do I need to apply for a tourist development tax account number? 

No, the Dealer is required to have their own TDT tax account number, and must submit your tax in a consolidated return, which includes the rental properties of all their clients. However, you should be aware that if the Dealer fails to collect and remit the tax, after all provisions under the law have been pursued, then the owner is ultimately responsible for the payment of the tax.  

If I utilize a Dealer but also rent on my own, must I have my own tax account number?

Yes, you will need an account number, since you will be responsible for collecting, reporting, and remitting the tax during those months in which the unit was rented without the use of a Dealer.

As a prospective taxpayer, what should I do?

Complete the application and return as indicated on the form. Upon receipt of your application, we will activate an account number and you will be provided with a user name and password, as well as information about how to complete your return and pay online. 

I only rent property at certain times of the year--for example, from January through March. Am I required to fill out an application and pay the tax?

Yes, you are. The Lee County Tourist Development Tax has made provisions for seasonal renters to simplify the payment of the tax. Seasonal renters submit tax returns only once a year. See application for filing options.

If I rent to a resident of Florida or to a Lee County resident, do I have to collect the tax, since the renters are not tourists?

Yes, this is a "bed tax", and is applicable to all transient guests, whether or not they are residents of Florida or Lee County.

Must I, as a homeowner, charge Tourist Development Tax on my own residence, or other units that I own?

Yes, you must charge the 5% Tourist Development Tax, as well as the Florida Sales Tax (6%). Please contact the State of Florida Department of Revenue at (239) 338-2400 for information on Sales Tax.

My property is used by family and friends at times during the year. Am I required to collect the  tax from them?

If you collect rent from them, or accept any form of compensation in lieu of rent, you are required to file a tax return. Collect and remit the tax based upon the rent paid, or upon the fair market value of the compensation received in lieu of rent.

What is the purpose of the tax?

Tourist Development Tax is used for:   53.6% - advertising and promotion (VCB operations and Lee County Sports Development operations) 26.4% - beach and shoreline improvements and maintenance 20.0% - stadium debt service (includes debit payments for the Lee County Sports Complex and JetBlue Park, as well as major maintenance for both)

What is the role of the Dealer? 

If a Dealer handles your property, the Dealer is required to have their own Tourist Development Tax account and submit the Tourist Development Tax payments for all of their clients in a consolidated return. You should verify this with your Dealer. In addition to the consolidated return, Dealers are required to provide an itemized list of all properties and rental amounts collected each month. Tourist Development Tax is a 5% tax on the gross rental amount. The Dealer is responsible to collect and remit the tax from any person or other party who rents, leases or lets for consideration living quarters or accommodations for a period of six (6) months or less. If the Dealer fails to collect and remit the tax, after all provisions under the law have been pursued, then the owner is ultimately responsible for the payment of the tax.

What remedies are available if someone does not collect the tax, or collects the tax but does not report or remit it to Lee County?

Among other remedies, a warrant can be issued and filed, creating a lien against real property and/or personal property in Lee County. Any person who rents living quarters for a period of six months or less, and: who willfully makes a false or fraudulent return; fails to file six consecutive returns; attempts in any manner to evade the tax by failing to disclose and remit taxes; and/or diverts or converts tax monies to their own use or the benefit of others, shall be in addition to being personally liable for the payment of the tax, guilty of a misdemeanor or felony, punishable as provided in Sections 212.12, 775.082, 775.083, Florida Statutes.

· Posting "Notice of Non-Compliance" signage at the property.

· Suspending of your privilege to rent properties in Lee County, Florida

Which renters, if any, are exempt from the tax?

Those who have signed a bona fide written lease in excess of 6 months and one day, or have paid the tax continuously month-to-month for the first 6 months without a lease are exempt.  Exempt status with the State of Florida Department of Revenue Sales & Use Tax is also exempt from Lee County Tax.

Who enforces the collection of tourist tax?

The Lee County Clerk of Court Inspector General Department enforces the tax.

The tax is also referred to as:   

  • Resort Tax

  • Bed Tax

  • Transient Rental Tax


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